Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who's Your Best Friend?

I grew up in a small town. In elementary school, I spent hours with my best friend Rebecca. We slept over at each other's homes on a regular basis. She moved far away to Texas in sixth grade. Although we had started to grow apart some as we had gotten older, I'll never forget sitting in sixth grade English when Rebecca walked into the room on her last day of school in that small town in Alabama. She gave me a hug, and we said goodbye. I haven't seen her since. Oh, we said we'd write, and we did send a letter or two for the first year after she moved. But we lost touch. Heck, we were only 11 years old!

In fifth grade, I had become closer to Lauren, who I had known since we were 4 year olds at the Baptist Church Vacation Bible School. We had always played well together, but in fifth grade, we really connected. I didn't know then but she would become my "bosom buddy," the one I would share laughs, tears, dreams, and antics with forever. We were BFFs through some of the toughest days of life: high school. Simply saying the words "Crooked Oak" can leave both of us in hysterical tears; it can also bring an eyeroll. No one understands that but us. It's sacred. She still lives in rural Alabama, and the one thing I miss most about "home" is her company. We keep in touch through email and occasional phone calls, but I wish I could see her and share more with her. Would someone please build a high-speed train from my house to hers?

I made a miraculous friend in grad school. I never intended to make a lot of (any?) friends in grad school. A self-professed bookworm/loner/school-geek, I planned foremost to get in, get my education, and get out. But, I met Welby. In the bitter hottest Texas sun, she offered me a ride home from class. I must have had a sign on my forehead that read "I've only lived in Texas for a week, so I thought I could walk the 1.5 miles home from class. In flip flops. In 120 degree weather. With no water." Welby rolled to a stop in a big white Chevy truck. Yes, she had lived in Texas all her life. After that one ride home, another "best friendship" was born into my life. We moved together from West Texas to south-central Texas where we work together and dream up schemes together.

I've had other friends along the way, some very near, close, and dear friends, but none have reached the best friend status (except for my sister, but I discuss her in another post) that Rebecca, Lauren, and Welby hold. Now, I'm watching with interest as my oldest explores friendship. Spark has been in preschool for a couple years now. He has gone through a few "best friends." But, he's still young enough that he doesn't quite understand what a "bosom buddy" is, despite the fact that I have begun indoctrinating him into the ways of Anne.

He has come up with his own system of friendship. The rules are simple:

  1. If the sun is out, Daddy is his best friend.
  2. If the moon is out, Momma is his best friend.
  3. Baby sister can be his friend sometimes.
  4. If he wants to change the rules, he can do so at anytime without any warning.
It's fun to play the game with him. And, he's very persistent about when someone is his best friend, they get to share more things with him and sit next to each other. Dinnertime is especially interesting because often at the beginning of the meal, Daddy is his best friend, but as the sun sinks into the horizon and the moon rises near the end of our meal, Momma becomes his best friend. We play along throughout the day, asking, "Who is your best friend?" Spark points to the sun or moon and informs us of the rules of his game again.

Right now, friendship is just that with him, though: a game. Someday, he'll understand more of what friendship is. As he grows and develops true friends, I hope he is as blessed as I have been, that he finds "bosom friends" to walk through the stages of life with him.

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