My daughter, Cate, and her best friend, Lexis are upstairs squealing nonsense chatter as they play. I have NO idea what the HELL they are saying or doing. It makes no sense to me, but after all, they are only 7 and 5. It makes perfect sense to them. Everything and anything is possible for them and unfortunately that includes their impending separation. Lexis is moving.
This particular friendship has been the vehicle for tremendous growth for my girl, who is challenged every day to find meaningful ways to communicate with others. At the age of 4 when other children were becoming more independent and physically strong, my girl was still in diapers. Lexis came into her life at a time when they both desperately needed each other. They spent the first year playing side by side in silence. The two year difference between the girls was insignificant due to Cate’s developmental delays. These tiny, diaper clad, petite blondes were like twins, sharing spiritual space.
This morning we made friendship stones together. I thought it would be a nice, concrete (get it?) way for the girls to celebrate their friendship, create a memory and have something to remember each other by. The giggled and slopped around in the plaster, shoving each other to the side, arguing over the plastic jewels. Typical.
As always, the best plans are sometimes modified based on circumstances. The girls can’t really conceptualize the reality of life without each other. 400 miles and 7 hours are just abstract terms, not processed by these giggling, glittery, girly girls. They quickly tired of the craft and rushed off to fantasy land, their hands crusted in plaster, the jewels meant for the friendship stone going with them to be used as “treasure” for their Littlest Pet Shop.
Kids experience life so intensely all the time. Breaking a favorite toy can be considered the WORST thing that has ever happened! A day at the amusement park or a birthday party has the potential to be the best day ever. Friendships between young children as often fleeting, as they are growing and changing so fast. Hot/cold, on and off as tempers flare and their little minds learn the rules of socialization from each other. Mom as referee is par for the course in the early years.
It is often said that friends leave footprints in our hearts and that we are never the same. It’s also true that some relationships leave scars. As my daughter grows, I know she will experience both sides of the friendship coin. She will teach others and learn from them.
I don’t know how much, if anything, Cate and Lexis will remember about each other. I do know that they don’t realize what they have been to each other, and how this friendship has shaped their personalities. It has also set an example for what frienship should be like. As a parent, I could not have asked for a better introduction to relationships for my girl than this experience with little Lexis.
I will never forget how this miracle changed them and me forever. This experience gave me hope for my daughter’s future at a time when I was fearful that her limitations would prevent her from experiencing the most precious gift in life; friendship.
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