When we left Isabel’s preschool this afternoon, she was devastated because she was leaving her friends behind. We’ll be back tomorrow, and the next day; we’re not planning to switch schools or leave the country. Despite all assurances, she maintained a persistent wail from the back seat, “My friends! My friends! I want my friends!” Each night she sings goodnight to every family member and every friend she’s ever met in the past two years. The song can go on for quite a while – sometimes Michael and I fall asleep before she does.
Sam is the opposite. When I picked him up, after his first day as a first grader, he couldn’t remember the names of any new friends. Not even his locker mate, who also happens to be named Sam. It’s not a memory problem, since he can give me detailed descriptions of practically every play date he’s ever had with old friends.
He reunited at recess with a few friends from last year, which is apparently all he needs to be content. While Isabel can become best friends forever with someone she met yesterday, Sam needs more time. I can relate, since it takes me about ten years to really get to know someone. Maybe longer now that time to spend with friends seems so short. This article by Alex Williams was making the rounds in July and it definitely struck a chord with me.
So even though Sam and I didn’t really make new friends today, I think that stepping back and allowing ourselves time to build more meaningful friendships is a fine beginning.