On best friends

"Best friends" have been a hot topic around here these days.

My daughter is in second grade and second grade girls are apparently very interested in the concept of best friends.

Having them. Changing them. Finding them.

On a daily basis, she brings up the idea of a "best friend" in some context and the truth is, it's because she doesn't have one.

Don't get me wrong, she has a lot of friends. She is friends with girls and friends with boys. She is friends with kids in her grade and kids that are younger and older than her. She is friends with kids who have nothing in common with her and those that live down the street. She is friends with kids who don't even speak the same language as her very well...and she might just like those kids best of all.

She is just that kind of girl.

The reality is, she is friends with everyone but best friends with no one and some days that's awesome and some days, it's not.

And while I want her to continue to be friends with everyone, of course, and we stress the importance and impact of that all the time, part of me also wants her to know the comfort and security of having a "best friend."

It's second grade.

I get it.

When everyone at the lunch table is paired off with their bestie and you're not...

I get it.

But then I also want her to know that those best friends come and go in life. That some times, they let you down. That some days, you let them down. That old friends move on in new directions and new friends find you and fill your heart. That those people who have no best friends are often the most interesting ones you will meet. I want her to know that I still think about some of my best friends from the past who I haven't connected with in years and I am surprisingly ok with it. And that I love some of the people I just met a year ago like they have been in my life forever. I want her to know that friendships are often complicated but the real ones are usually simple. That they all have an impact on your life, whether they are short-lived or not. I want her to know that in every chapter of her life, she will (and should) have a new best friend that lifts her up and makes her laugh and gives her a confidence she never knew she had.

I get it.

I've been there. At that lunch table. In second grade. And in sixth grade. And in ninth grade.

And today.

And I want her to know, to understand, that many friends are going to come in and out of her life. Lots of girls and boys and people from other cultures and cities and backgrounds. Friends who will sit with her all the time and friends who will sit with her some of the time. Friends who stay and friends who don't.

But what they will all have in common is her.

Her friendship. Her heart. Her laugh.

And that will fill her life like no best friend can.

And when it doesn't...that's ok too.

Because she will have me.

 *originally published in December 2014

Band of mothers

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