When the Play Date Ends: An Army of Ermas

 

Since Buttercup was a little tiny baby, she has despised goodbyes. Newborn shrieks would replace content gurgles the instant she got wind of diaper bags being packed up, hugs exchanged with whomever it was we were visiting, and car keys jangling.

Those newborn shrieks have since been replaced with tantrums, MAMA I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE I LIKE IT HERE's and hours of pouting afterward just to prove her point. And that was when we visited my adult friends. Without kids, people. Heaven help me when it was an actual play date that was ending.

She's five now. Adorable. Smart. Hilarious. She has strength and character and Mother of...

She's going to break me with that attitude.

Her teacher told me the other day that Buttercup crossed her arms over her chest, dug her heels firmly into the ground, and flat out refused the green journal being handed to her for an activity in class. It seemed that Teacher Lady had assigned each child in class a random journal that was theirs to use for the entire school year. Only problem was that green has never been one of her favorite colors and apparently Buttercup was a bit miffed that her preferences had not been taken into consideration.

"I don't like that color," she said. And I know exactly how she said it.

"I'm not working in that." she said. And I can hear the bitch that will replace the brat when my little princess grows up just the tiniest bit more. Because, and trust me on this, it's a milestone that you and your family will note. There might not be a Hallmark card to designated for the very moment you realize it is now socially acceptable to tell at at least one person outside of your head that your kid was a total bitch today and then get weepy because yesterday she had just been bratty. Something changed while she slept. She grew up a little bit. And now you aren't sure if you are crying because you miss your baby are are dead-fucking terrified because it's probably only moments before she realizes she has hormones and all hell officially breaks loose.

Which explains the instant sobs when the ultra-sound tech announced that the baby in the belly was a girl. So sweet and dress-able when they're small. But then they grow up.

And it's always too fast.

We had a play date recently with her BFF from preschool two years ago. In elementary school years, these two have known each other for decades.We managed to leave with only downcast eyes and whispers about being sad as we walked out to our car.

"I like it here. I'm sad I have to go."

And I understood. Because I just learned that a play date of my own is ending.

An Army of Ermas riding off into the sunset on September 30. The site will remain live for fans to peek at when they need to go searching for a favorite laugh. But there will be no more reasons to try and swear less while while writing about something funny. And I'm going to miss that.

I want to pout. Maybe throwing a tantrum will make the fun last long enough for everyone to forget we were supposed to be leaving. Or I could change tactics and promise to play nicer and share more and not call people names anymore.

I kneel down to Buttercup's level and give her a hug before we get into the car.

"I know, sweetie. I'm going to miss my friends, too. But we'll see them again. And it will be soon. Right now, though, it's time to leave."

Thank you, Ermas. It was fun while it lasted. And to Boss Lady, Stacey Graham: Thank you doesn't even begin to describe the gratitude I have in my heart for having had the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing group of writers.