Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A True Friend

Since the day Ella was born there’s something I’ve been secretly scared of.  I’ve never actually verbalized this before, but it’s something that has always been there, in the back of my mind.  The killer question that I’m sure all parents face…will other kids like my kid.  Ie. Will she have any friends?

I like Ella.  Not just because she’s my kid (although that definitely helps) but I genuinely like her.  She has a great personality, she has a good sense of humor, she’s easy to get along with, and she’s nice.  But she’s also shy.  And I can’t help but wonder if the awesome kid I see at home translates to school.  I also get nervous because since Ella can’t physically keep up with the other kids, how do they actually get to know her?  Unless they are willing to stop running around and sit with her and play a calm, sitting game, the likelihood that they will get to know her is pretty slim.  As great as kids are, lets face the facts…most of them like running around.  Skipping recess to sit and play a calm game is not a choice many kids would make.

Ella had friends during preschool.  In fact, during Pre-K a little girl in her class declared that she was Ella’s best friend.  But these friendships pretty much ended once school finished.  If they have continued, it’s because Joe and I are friends with the parents and have made an effort to get the girls together.

Ella also has friends at church, but most of these kids have known Ella her entire life.  We are also friends with their parents, so in a way, their friendship was forced upon them.

On Friday night the PTA at Ella’s school had a hot dog picnic.  While we were waiting in line I saw a little girl from Ella’s kindergarten class last year.  (Ella declared that she was/is her best friend.)  I turned Ella around in her stroller so that she could wave to her friend.  As soon as her friend saw her she ran away from her mom and over to Ella to say hi.

She was genuinely excited to see Ella!  It wasn’t a fake, ‘I’m just trying to be nice’ hello.  It wasn’t a ‘my mom is forcing me to come over here’ hello.  It wasn’t even an ‘I’m just being nice to you because you’re different’ hello.  It was a genuine, ‘I’m excited to see my friend’ hello.  It took everything in my pregnant, overly emotional body not to start crying.

We spent the picnic sitting on a blanket with this girl and her mom, and it was great to see Ella and her friend.  The girl would do things she knew would make Ella laugh, and Ella would oblige.  In return, Ella did things she knew were funny and her friend laughed.  They talked 6 year old talk, and just hung out together.  When we left the girl once again ran over to us to wave goodbye as we were walking down the sidewalk.

This was an awesome thing to see as a mom!  We did not know this family prior to kindergarten.  And even then, I didn’t meet her parents until after our girls had already established a friendship.  They are both only children, so they kind of speak the same language.  When Ella had to stay inside during recess because it was too hot, this girl often volunteered to stay inside with her.  On field trips this girl was always so excited to be stuck with Ella and me for the day.  She was willing to take a slower pace and would volunteer to push Ella’s stroller so I could have a break.  She never seemed to mind that we operate a bit differently than the rest of the kids.  She was just happy to be with Ella.

This girl is a true friend to Ella.  She likes her for no other reason than she just likes her.  She’s not forced into it.  She’s not guilted into it.  Any they aren’t friends because there’s no one else around.  They are just real, true friends.  And that makes me one VERY happy mom.