This week's #52Stories project prompt is: "What have been the most important and valued friendships in your life?" While my husband is my best friend, and other family members are also important and valued friends, today I'll exclude those easy answers, and look back at early childhood friends.
Kurt was one of my first friends, because he was the son of my mom's good friend. Kurt's family owned an apple orchard, and I remember the feeling of leaving behind the sight of the house and wandering to the far end of the apple orchard, knowing that as long as we headed back the same way we came, we would find the house again. In retrospect, I'm sure we were in no danger of getting lost, but as a 3-year-old, I felt like I was on the ultimate adventure.
Yvonne was, as Anne of Green Gables would say, a "kindred spirit." We met on the first day of school, when I was arguing with my next-door-neighbor, Lonnie, about what the sign on the door said. He insisted it said, "First Grade," but I read, "Grade 1." Yvonne backed me up, and we were immediately friends.
My elementary school was small, with maybe 100 kids total in grades 1-6. While there were some who moved in and out throughout the years, for the most part, my sixth grade class was made up of the same children as my first grade class. Those classmates, and the children in my Primary class at church, shaped my understanding of friendship.
Friends play together at recess. Whether the game is dodgeball, or double-Dutch jump roping, boys and girls alike are welcome. Friends learn together, and not just the ABCs. Friends share--even if that means bringing a pair of your own green tights to the Christmas play dress rehearsal so a boy in your class can wear them in his role as elf.
Friends are friends regardless of reading group. Friends are friends even after disagreements. (Back in those days, if a little boy tried to kiss a little girl, and the little girl kicked him in the shins and he tattled on her and the teacher sided with her, the whole incident was dropped and the little boy and the little girl--relationship firmly established as platonic--could go on being just friends.) Friends are friends regardless of religion. So what if some friends avoided caffeine and others didn't salute the flag? Friends are friends are friends.
I've had many friends over the years, and my most important and valued friends have been my family members, but when I think of friendship, I think back to those early, formative years and the people I first called friends.
Next week's prompt is: Who was your first best friend? Are you still in contact with each other?
Thanks for friends.