Now this is a story about friendship, when and where it shows up, and what to do with it when it arrives.
My boys and I had walked our last few steps before entering the entrance of the neighborhood park. Nehemiah, our oldest saw familiar faces and went over to have conversations fitting for the season and their age. And he and his friends went off to enjoy a game of basketball with a ball suited more for kicking.
Our youngest, Joshua, however, had not. Had not saw familiar faces, had not conversed, except with momma, and had not ran off to play with friends. So he and I sat. Shade from a tree hovered above us cooling our skin. His eyes traced over and around the park and every part of the slides, the swings, and the monkey bars were unfamiliar without his friend. And questions from his mood began to pour out. “Mom, when you were a little girl did you go to the park…did you play with your friends…did you have fun…were you sad when they didn’t come?”
Not really asking for answers from mommy, he said, “I miss my friend.” “Well,” I said, “I’m not sure if he’s coming today but we’ll wait for him, is that ok?” “Yes, mom.”
He laid his head on my leg and we started again on one of his many topics: Mom, when you were a little girl? The beach, school, grandma, my siblings, and more childhood adventures became questions he would like answers to. He didn’t feel so alone with some of mommy’s childhood memories filling his head. Listening became a comfort, a friend.
“I miss my friend mom, where is he?” And tears began to run down the hills of his face. They fell and I wiped. They fell and I wiped. He wanted something I couldn’t give to him, his friend. And I again reassured him, “We’ll wait a little longer, sweetheart, ok?” “Yes.”
Time had eventually made its move. No friend today. And Joshua slowly glanced around the park one last time. And the playground’s entrance made all the difference.
There was his friend. The distance between time and his friend had gone away.
So they talked, having conversation fitting for the season and their age. But when Joshua’s friend wanted to play Joshua became overwhelmed. He sat back down on the bench. “Why don’t you want to play with your friend?” I asked. He shrugged his tired shoulders and more tears began to fall. “It’s ok honey, go on and play, he’s here.”
In the disappointment the excitement was just too much. And I wiped his tears as they fell. And to my heart’s joy he finally let go of the disappointment and enjoyed the overwhelming friendship that had arrived right on time.