Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Friendship

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friendship

I was a painfully shy, quiet kid who sat alone under a tree at recess during my first days of grade school and wished the bell would ring so I could retreat inside. I remember generally preferring the company of other adults, like my teachers, because they were easier to figure out than kids I didn't know and were much less scary and unpredictable. One day, a girl approached my playground hiding spot and was brave enough to say hello. From that moment on, this Kathy-girl and I were attached at the hip. As the months and years progressed, we began answering to each other's names, and our families and homes became one to us. We vowed early on that we would marry men that would be friends, live next door to each other, and have weekend barbecues. One more grade school, one Barbie townhouse, one junior high school, one high school, one college, two weddings, one very scary trip to Tijuana, 5013 hilarious stories, countless glasses of wine, 438 barbecues, and over 30 years later, we are still friends. We were even roommates at one point (kind of a twisted, collegiate version of the Odd Couple). Our husbands are now friends, and we live five minutes away from each other. Although we are different in ways, we are similar enough to feel like sisters. We even unintentionally developed a secret language of sorts over the years that nobody else understands. I think that if you develop a friendship that early in life and are lucky enough to sustain it into adulthood, the past is always with you, even the silly kid stuff. As long as I am friends with Kathy, the past is a living, functioning part of me, as it is the foundation of our relationship. As for our boys, Erik and Dominick are mere months apart but polar opposites in almost every sense (kind of a tiny, pediatric version of the Odd Couple). It is quite obvious that Dominick loves Erik to pieces. Erik is finally learning to appreciate people his own size, and I am now certain he remembers Dominick when we get together. The change in Erik since he has spent time with Dominick has been incredible. His fear of other kids is subsiding, and he is learning to relax and discover the simple joy of play. I can see our own houses and families becoming one to them, and that makes me incredibly happy and proud. I believe that because of this blooming friendship, Erik will grow more confident and eventually make the transition to school with more grace than I imagined possible. I hope Dominick and Erik will never know life without each other's friendship, even if their lives become more and more different as time goes on. That is a very harsh reality I may have to face -- as time goes on, their differences may become more obvious and affect their relationship. I must learn to accept what happens naturally. In the meantime, Erik has a friend who loves him very much -- someone who is teaching him how to relate to, love, and enjoy others, and Brian and I have wonderful friends to laugh and cry with. Sometimes I glimpse a miniature version of myself in Erik, watching kids from afar and feeling terribly different, and I thank God for Dominick, one wonderful kid from a brand new generation brave enough to say hello.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Lisa said...

*sniff* What a wonderful tribute to friendship. I'm all vklempt. We love you guys!

8:33 PM  

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