An unexpected connection with a seven-year-old boy is teaching T about the highs and lows of friendship.
It started two months ago, in warmer weather. At that time, T had developed a bond with two older boys, whom he played with regularly after I picked him up after daycare.
Then one day, S started to play at the park with his dad.
For the first few days, we each kept to ourselves. Then I encouraged T to play with S and to include him with the older kids.
As the days drew shorter, the older kids stopped coming to play. So it was just T and S.
They started to play together. T would initiate his game of tag and S would initiate his own games.
S’ dad and I slowly started to talk to each other and found common interests, like politics.
I learned that S was doing virtual school and was a single child like T.
As with any new relationship, I initially felt on edge about T when he’d have one of his moments; like screaming when he doesn’t get his way or getting into S’ personal space and annoying him.
The worst moment so far was when he took S’ glove, because he felt like it, and was chased by S. S was angry and punched T and then T got upset and pushed him to the ground.
S’ Dad is very understanding and in return, I ask T to apologize for his moments.
But interestingly, it’s not always T who has the moments. I notice S has a strong personality like T and stubborn moments of not giving into T’s demands too.
And you know what, it’s very refreshing to see T get a dose of his own medicine. And to use them as teachable moments.
Recently, while playing in the field, S accidentally threw a hard snowball at T’s face. Cue the crying and tears.
I was just glad it wasn’t the other way around!
But what I’m most thankful for is that it’s been mostly wonderful moments between them.
I love how excited T gets when he runs out of daycare towards the playground to see S.
There was a stretch of three consecutive days when S did not come out to play because of bad weather.
T was sad and cried that he missed S. Then on the day S came out again, T ran so fast to him, screaming, “S!!!”
I am very appreciative the Dad seems like a down to Earth and level headed parent. The fact that T’s hyperactive and loud personality and frequent outbursts have not deterred him from continuing to bring S out to play with T has been a blessing.
He’s confided a few times about his concerns about S. So I openly shared T’s own prognosis and challenges.
Last week, they invited T and I to join them sledding at the park by their house – down the street from T’s daycare. And it was a lot of fun!
I had a chuckle when T’s mom joined us and asked, “Are they friends or enemies today?”
I guess that’s the sign of a good friendship is when you can navigate the ups and downs and still want to hang out with each other.
And I am so thankful for that.
And I love that even during these super cold winter nights, the two boys are still playing in the dark and dimly light playground – having it all to themselves because all the other kids are staying warm inside.
During one recent outing, S asked T if he could go over to their house after the coronavirus goes away.
T then asked if S could come visit our home.
I found that such a sweet moment.
As we left the playground that evening and they walked us to the parking lot, T and S gave each other a big hug.
“I love you, S,” T said.