Mutually Exclusive

With the advent of school, there has been that inevitable scramble of friendships.  The new schedule has the boys seeing a new group of kids and has at the same time made it virtually impossible to catch up with some of our other friends.  The kids are loving their new companions and are doing the usual size up routine.  I have this, you have that.  I can do this, you can do that.  What is your favorite color, food, sport, etc. They eye each other for height and weight duly noting who is bigger.  My guys have quickly figured out that they usually win in this area.

But at this age, the kids only make room in their friendship locker for one or possibly two friends at a time and there can only be one “best” friend.  As we ask them about school and new friends each will announce that so and so is their new best friend and in the same breath their nearest and dearest of yesterday will fall from the top.  “I don’t like “x” he is not my friend anymore”.  “Really?” we ask.  “Yeah, “y” is my new best friend.”  “Ohh?” we respond.  “You know that you can have more than one friend at the same time,” we add.   This concept is too broad and complicated.  At this age their loyalty is fierce but limited.

This summer we got new neighbors.  While the house was on the market, we prayed for a family to move in with boys like ours or older kids who might babysit.  We waited and waited and then one day the “Sold” sign went up.  Our prayers were answered.  We couldn’t believe our good fortune.  Not only was there one boy but two, each the same age as ours and both with a matched activity level and similar interests.  During the summer, they scoped each other out from their respective driveways or hid behind legs as the adults talked.  But once school started and they found they were in the same class and got to ride the bus together, their friendship really took flight.  My guys are always looking to see if they are home.  They ride their bikes loudly up and down the driveway to attract attention and welcome a play date.  I’m loving every minute of it.  There is nothing better than a spontaneous get together with friends at arms reach.

They treasure their time together and ask for daily play dates.  Thankfully they seem to bounce around easily without too much heartache as their loyalties change from friend to friend.  I am sure the tears will come as the cliques form in the coming years but for now it is fun to see the chemistry happen.