The Importance of Childhood Friendships

Last December my seven-year-old son’s best friend moved to Dallas.  Cooper and Nolan were inseparable.  They lived next door to each other, they were in the same class in school, and they played together every afternoon.  They were a good match, Nolan was a calming influence on my mercurial son, and Cooper was an outgoing match for his shy friend.

It has been a tough spring for Cooper.  Nolan was his first best friend, and I suppose I should be happy that he did not immediately go out and find a new one.  But it is hard to see your child sad.  And watching him make that solitary trek home from school– when just a few months ago he would have burst out of the school gate, giggling and commiserating with his friend– hurts my heart.

Cooper and Nolan have led me to do some thinking about my own best friend.  Like the boys, we also met in the first grade, which would mean that we have been friends now for……okay, Olivia is giving me the side-eye, let’s just say, we have been friends for many decades years.

I envisioned Cooper and Nolan’s friendship to be the same as ours—some years closer than others, sometimes distracted with school, activities, (and the opposite sex), but never wavering.  And with the technology available today, maybe it still can be.  Our busy lives and two hour distance keeps Olivia and I from seeing each other often, but we stay in constant contact through texting and tweeting and emailing and facebooking.  So much so that when she was incommunicado last week while out of the country, I was a tad bereft.

This summer for Cooper’s birthday, we are traveling to Texas to visit his bestie.  Friendships like theirs do not come around often and who knows, maybe Cooper and Nolan will be college roommates!  Wouldn’t that be amazing?  Maybe thirty years from now they will be still be important people in each other’s lives, like Liv and I are.  I hope so.