Best Friends Forever! by Annie Rim

When we moved into this neighborhood, we couldn’t have known what awaited us, just across the street. If we had been able to include neighbor profiles in our search criteria, I couldn’t have imagined better. A family with a daughter, just a few months younger than our oldest? How perfect!

Now, hardly a day goes by without these girls yelling out windows, running into open garages, insisting on playdates. They yell through the street, Best Friends Forever!!! and hug and fight and grapple their way through each playtime. No matter how much tattling has happened or how many times feelings were hurt, we always leave with a massive bear hug and the declaration of Best Friends Forever!

I’ve never experienced a childhood best friend. Across the street from our house was a church parking lot and a kind old lady who collected elephant figurines. There were a few kids who I played with in our neighborhood, but no one who would count as a best friend; no one who I felt comfortable—or welcome—to run into their house at any time.

My view of friendship is more seasonal. I have my college friends, but all of us dispersed to different corners of the globe. I have a small handful of friends from middle school and high school. Through the magic of Facebook, I still keep up with friends from camp or other short-term experiences. But a best friend forever? That is totally outside my experience.

The thing is, Bea and Ella Luna very well could be best friends forever. Neither of our families have jobs that cause us to move or dreams that include taking us away from our suburban cul-de-sac. Of course, life happens and is often unplanned, but for now, I can totally see these four-year-olds being friends in twenty years.

Watching them play makes me wish for more transparent friendships. Ones where I’m not embarrassed to say, You hurt my feelings, please apologize or I don’t want to do that. Let’s try my idea instead. (These phrases are highly edited for clarity and politeness.) For as socially inept as four-year-olds can be, they are also brutally honest and I wonder if that honesty is what keeps their friendships strong.

How would my own friendships look if I was able to not only express my feelings, but to forgive and forget easily? How would my relationships strengthen if we were able to end each get-together with massive hugs and declarations of love and acceptance?

I’m trying to find ways to be more like my daughter and her friends. I’m learning to be more open with my communication—from compliments to questions. I’m learning to tell my friends how and why they are special and that I appreciate and love them. I’m learning that people don’t end a friendship because I’ve told them how important their presence is in my life.

Perhaps I’ll never get to a place of giving a massive bear hug at the end of a dinner party, declaring Best Friends Forever! But I am learning to acknowledge the deep importance of the friends who are in my life. And who knows? Perhaps those acknowledgments will lead to more forever friendships.

What types of friendships do you have? Are you more of a seasonal friend or is your core group filled with forever friends?

Thanks to Annie Rim for starting off our mini series on friendship this summer. Annie is a writer, mother and educator who blogs regularly at annierim.wordpress.com You can also connect with her @annie_rim and on Instagram at Annie_Rim

6 Comments

  1. […] I’m honored to be over at my friend, Debby’s to kick off her series on friendship. Here’s an excerpt and I hope you’ll join the conversation over at her place! […]

    June 12, 2017
    Reply
  2. Gabriele said:

    I loved the pictures, Annie! That kind of friendship is rare but lovely to behold.

    June 12, 2017
    Reply
    • Annie Rim said:

      Thanks, Gabriele! It is so fun to watch! 🙂

      June 12, 2017
      Reply
  3. Great essay, Annie. The picture of your street reminded me of a place I once lived with a Pit Bull named Kareem. He had been a fighting dog until he lost an eye, and then he was abandoned.

    When I took him in he hated most men, tolerated women, and loved children. When I would walk him I would have to be careful – he weighed 85 lbs and looked like Mike Tyson on a very bad day – because if he would see a pram he’make a lunge for it to look at the baby within, much to the horror of the mother pushing the thing.

    But gradually the neighbourhood moms grew to love him, as their kids did, and my open garage became a playpen of sorts. The kids would come to play with this huge, scarred dog, pulling his tail, crawling under hium, dressing him up (wish I had pictures!) and the smaller ones rode him. After all were tired they would use him as a pillow for nap-time.

    June 12, 2017
    Reply
    • Annie Rim said:

      I love that image, Andrew! How amazing to draw the neighborhood together through the love of a pit bull. Sounds like he was what everyone needed – a good friend.

      June 12, 2017
      Reply
  4. Annie, what a great post to launch our friend Debby’s friendship series! It reminded me of my days as a young mother moving into a new neighborhood where my then 2-year-old became BFFs with a neighboring 2-year-old. We moms became friends too and now, many, many miles and years apart, we still maintain friendships on Facebook, where our now 35-year-old girls also connect. I wish the same for your little girls.

    June 15, 2017
    Reply

Leave a Reply