He’d been in the pool for all of 5 min before I heard him yell out “you’re it!” which means either he or the other kids had said “Want to be friends?”
It will never cease to amaze me how fast and easy kids can make “friends”. When then do we lose that gift? As I’ve gotten older it has definitely become harder to make friends. Are my expectations too high? Or are they too low, and so I sabotage any friendship before it has any chance of growing into anything better.
I look at when I made friends: elementary school, if it wasn’t for facebook I don’t think I would speak to any of them. (I suppose I don’t really speak to them). Middle School/Jr. High I went to a school other than my homeschool so I think that may have hindered communication with some of the grade school friends. Would that be different now in the age of texting and IM’ing? High School for one reason or another I ended up going to 4 different schools. I speak to only one person from middle/jr and only a couple of people from high school are actually part of my life again if not for FB. Even those people are mostly linked to my wife (whom I met in high school).
The next chapter in my life was the military. I spent xx years in the Marine Corps and I made bonds with people that I know will be actually part of my life forever. Each bond stronger than the last. From training to actual combat. I can remember meeting each of those people and what they meant and how they got me through those tough days and the of course the tough days that follow an enlistment.
After the Marine Corps I didn’t think I’d make friends again. I then joined a group of athletes that showed me I couldn’t be more wrong. I remember the first few days and probably weeks and months it took for me to open up to them. I felt they’d never understand me. They do understand, and surprisingly enough I understand them. As I write these words I come to the realization that it’s been 4 years since I met those folks and I haven’t made any real friends since then. So again, why do we or I refuse to make these connections. Certainly I’ve met people in the last 4 years, right? Yet none really important as all those previously mentioned. (One that comes close I feel close to only because his name and everything about him reminds me of a friends that is very sadly no longer just a phone call away.)
Just as the “you’re it!” earlier made me take a look at friendship and the part it’s played in my life. His goodbye gave me some more insight. “OK bye” and then he walked my way. “I made a friend dad” he exclaimed. Before we even made it to the elevator he had moved on. So I guess there’s just no pressure when we’re young because we haven’t dealt with loss yet. As I’ve grown older I guess I’m done wanting to invest too much of myself in someone I might lose. I will continue to treasure those in my very small circle of friends. All the while hoping it was still OK as adults to say “Want to be friends?”