You have a little friend at daycare: her name is Prudence. She’s a cutie–kinda skinny but with wide eyes and big, chubby cheeks, and lovely, fine blonde hair. You and Pru were in the infant room together–along with Charis and Harper–and now you’ve all moved up together.
On Monday, we walked into the room and Pru was sitting at the table snacking on some cheerios. She looked up at you, waved, and said, “Hi, EEE–uh!” Clear as day, she said hello to you, welcoming you to school.
Suddenly, in that moment, there you were, having your own life entirely separate from me. Your own friends, your own routine, your own relationships. Your friend said hi to you.
Such a small thing! But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it: my little tiny baby, out in the world, doing his own thing with his own people.
One day, you might be friends with someone who is a bad influence, or you might like a girl who breaks your heart, or your best friend might move far away. And I have to trust your heart to these other people?! It makes me so nervous.
Here’s what I want you to know about friendship: good, true friends are a gift from Jesus. Cling tightly to them, but know that sometimes, they will move in and out of your life like seasons. That’s ok; connect with them when you have a chance, but you don’t have to mourn them too deeply or for too long. New friends will come, and they will be just what you need for that time.
Always be honest with your friends. Share openly your thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes. Don’t for a moment worry that they will think you’re strange. It took me about 26 years to learn it, but what I know is this: the best friends do, in fact, occasionally think you’re strange, but they love you anyway. Sometimes, they even love you a bit more because of the strangeness.
Today we went to the park with Courtney, Rileigh, and Grace. Much of what I’ve learned about friendship, I learned from Courtney, so it’s fun to watch you learn to play with her girls. They are excited to see you, and you aren’t shy like you often are with strangers. You know their smiles and voices. At one point, they ran off toward another slide, and you laughed hard and began to chase after them, not steady on your feet but not afraid.
There you go again. No more little baby on my hip. You are finding your path through the world and making friends along the way.
Keep it up, buddy.