Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Yesterday Lucy said to me, "Mom, Madison is my BFF."

Now, there are two deeply troubling linguistic issues in that sentence, but leaving aside for a moment the entirely open question of whether or not I should allow my child to consort with someone named after a Daryl Hannah character from the 80's, let's instead consider the term "BFF."

No sooner was it out of her mouth than Lucy fixed me with a doubtful stare. "Do you know what BFF means, Mom?"

Oh, the irony.

Now, it happens that I do, in fact, know what BFF means. I know because a friend whose daughter is some years older than mine told me. This happened, oh, about a week ago. The friend mentioned her daughter's BFF in an email, and I responded by saying "WTF is a BFF?" to which she responded, predictably perhaps, "OMG!!!"

So, yes, I know what a BFF is, but not, and I repeat NOT because I am in any way Hip. But did this fact stop me from acting Hip to Lucy? No, it did not.

"Sure," I replied nonchalantly, "I know what BFF means." Implying, of course, "what kind of idiot doesn't know that?"

And yet. And yet. Do I really know what it means? I suppose we've always had this concept, albeit without the acronym, but for me the BFF is a thing of the past. I have dear friends, indeed, and in some adult sense my husband is my BFF, but methinks the BFF is a very adolescent construct. Which, because my own adolesence is mercifully behind me, means that I probably don't really know what BFF means, at least not what it means to an almost-seven-year-old. Furthermore, it was amply clear from her expression that Lucy did not expect me to know what it means.

And so it seems we have entered a new era, one in which Lucy knows and understands stuff that I don't. One in which she knows that she knows stuff I don't. One in which I become less Hip, or perhaps simply in which my lack of Hipness begins to be objectionable.

None of this is exactly a cheerful prospect.

Except - wait - isn't this what growing up is, at least in part? Isn't it just the latest version of all that separating I've been talking about? Growing away from your parents and their (un-Hip) ways. Growing new ideas and, yes, new vocabulary. Having a BFF that they did not choose for you and have, in fact, never even met. Yep. Sounds right.


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