Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Joy of Friendship

I am looking at the kids on the large swing in my front yard, sandwiched on the seat together. In my mind, I recite their names. There is Mark, Kerry, Kristie, and Jess our next door neighbor. In front of them is Jess’s little brother Dylan, jumping up and down, yelling something I can’t understand, seeking attention from the only other boy in the group.

A smile plants itself on my face. They’re waiting for my daughter to come home from a yoga class she attends, just down the street. She is minutes away from walking up the street, and I know as soon as she sees the group of kids on the swing, she will start to run towards home. She is not one to run, she doddle's. But I can visualize the pleasure on her face by seeing them there, her friends from school. Not just one, but four of them! So I wanted to watch, I wanted to be witness to her delight

As I guessed, once she cleared the big tree down the street, I could see her, she was running. She flung my yoga mat on the grass and bent down to say hello to Dylan. I walked away, so not to be a nuisance to her, and let her hang out with her group. Of course what she did next did not surprise me. She walked in the door and in such an excited voice said to me, “Mom, my friends are here waiting for me! I am so happy they came to call on me, can you believe it!?”

You see, Haley struggles in social circles, and has yet to find that “best friend”. She is friendly with everyone; she is kind and caring, and many of the kids like her. I am glad for the lovely girl that she is. Soon, she will find a good friend that is equally as glad for the person that she is. I know she will find a best friend; it has just been a bit heartbreaking to watch her search, and long for that friendship.

A few hours went by, the kids played out in our front yard, someone got a bleeding nose, they walked to the school park down the street, and as it started to get dark, Haley came in against her will, and said good bye to her friends. I looked in my front yard, at the yoga mat haphazardly thrown on the grass, a pair of socks, now wet and thrown on opposite sides of the lawn, and a bloody Kleenex left on the swing. I was annoyed, but tried to keep my cool and asked my girl to please go and pick everything up. I knew that later as I was tucking her in, I would explain to her, the need for her to clean up the yard after herself, the same talk that came at the beginning of each spring. What I didn’t want to do is kill her joy, her blissful happiness of having had one evening that a group of friends came to call on her, and that said friends waited for her to come home, that they hung out for the whole evening. I knew that the “clean up the yard” talk could wait until the next mess.

When we were in her room, talking as we always do before she goes to bed, she looked into my eyes, and told me, “Mom, when I saw my friends there, waiting for me, I couldn’t believe it! I was so happy! I know they care about me!” I hugged her tight and told her that of course they did, I was so happy for her. Something tugged at my heart, and I could hear the whisper in my mind, hoping, that it wouldn’t be the last time they came to call on her. She waited so long for this, and I waited so long to see that joy reflecting the light off of her face.

Like only friendship can do!

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