Wednesday, April 4, 2012

You've Got a Friend in Me

Last night, my husband and I took both kids out to dinner with us. When we got to the restaurant, a mom with two kids around my son’s age was just going in. The little girl came right over to us and said hello to my baby daughter. My son said hello to her, then the little boy came over and showed off the toy car he had brought with him. The two boys immediately formed a mutual admiration society while the two girls were happily grinning at each other. As soon as we went inside the restaurant, the three mobile kids marched away in a little parade, leaving the waitstaff amused but completely confused as to who was in which party. We eventually got ourselves straightened out and seated at our own tables, but I have no doubt that if my son sees either of those two kids again, he’ll run to them with open arms. In those few moments, he had forged a lifelong friendship – in his mind, anyway.

That’s such a wonderful thing about social kids like my son. He doesn’t care if another kid is wearing designer jeans or a ripped T-shirt. It doesn’t matter to him whether the other kid lives in a gorgeous mansion or a seedy Section 8 apartment. He doesn’t even really care if the kid is into cars or Curious George or counting fire hydrants. If that other kid is willing to run around and chase him, or slide down a slide with him, or just look at ceiling fans with him, they’re friends. He can find some kind of commonality with anyone. “Willing to talk to me” is pretty much his friendship standard. Actually, he’ll take “willing to listen to me” in a pinch.

Wouldn’t it be nice if adult friendships were so easy to make? Instead of standards like, “Are you around my age? Do we have kids the same age? Did we go to college together? Do we share a hobby? Do you have the same political leanings as I do? Do you enjoy the same books and movies that I do?” we’d have standards like, “Are you breathing? Are you standing next to me right now? Do you speak English?” And even that last one would be negotiable. Instead of having to make small talk to find out where someone lives or what they do for a living, we could break right into, “You want to go to the mall with me?” or “How about we both go jump in that puddle?” Personally, I think that being willing to jump in a puddle with someone is a better basis for a friendship than the fact that you happen to have seen the same movie recently.

Anyone want to come jump in puddles with me?

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