Sunday, September 12, 2010

quote for the week.

It takes a long time to grow an old friend.  ~John Leonard
Saturday night I spent some time at a surprise 30th birthday party for an old High School friend. I've known every person in this photo for 15+ years. It's very comforting coming back to old friends and feeling like you still know each other, like there was a momentary pause in your history instead of half decade or more gap. Or to take moments like this as a gift in a time of changing lives and friendships. 
These children have all known each other since birth.  I have so many pictures of them through the years, and it's probably a good thing that I have none of those pictures on this computer, otherwise this would turn into a novel length post during which I recount every cute and touching story and cry over all the pictures of them growing up.

Instead I'll share just this one. My son is 7 months younger than the oldest of the group. I was very good friends with his mother so by default the kids were all friends. When my friends son was 6 he was diagnosed with Aspergers. He has some social ineptness, but is really one of the kindest, most gentle, most interesting little boys I have ever met. When the kids were young, it wasn't a big deal. Evan barely even noticed. It was just who his friend was, he wasn't different - he was just himself. A few years ago Evan began to pick up on it. He said to me one day "Mom, J**** isn't really like everyone else is he? But that's ok, cause he's just J****".
Over the years we've seen less and less of my friend and her children. We used to see them almost every day. But as we've grown and our kids have grown and we've moved and life fills up it's turned into once every several months.  

Last year, we moved and Evan invited a bunch of new friends from the new school to his sleepover birthday party, along with his old friend J*. Now as they've gotten older, it's become much more apparent that J* is not at the same social level as other kids his age. Sadly, 11 year old boys aren't always kind and they teased J* quite a bit. 

So this year, when asking Evan what he would like to do for his birthday party - either have a bunch of friends over, or take 2 friends and go to dinner and have a sleepover - he chose 2 friends for a sleepover.  I was expecting him to choose the 2 boys he became the closest to over the last year at school.  He decided, without hesitation that he wanted to invite J*, but wasn't sure who the 2nd person would be yet, since as he said "my friends weren't very nice to him last year".

I would not have thought much about it if he had made a different choice. I wouldn't have been disappointed. Times changed, friendships change and pre-teens can be pretty self-centered. I'm pretty proud of him for making the choice he did. For valuing his lifelong friendships. More importantly, for noticing that what happened last year was wrong. I know that it's not always easy for a 12 year old boy to make that sort of choice. 

I've had some worrisome moments as Evan becomes a pre-teen. He can be rude and snooty and very teenage-ry.  I know we're going to have some difficult moments over the next few years. And I hope I remember the time, that without hesitation, he made the choice to not only hold onto an old friend, but to help protect him. 

And a second quote, just because it's running through my head. We sang this all the time in Girl Scouts!

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.

A circle is round,
it has no end.
That's how long,
I will be your friend.

1 comment:

♥Cari♥ said...

Aww that's a nice story - thanks for sharing :)