Families are just a collection of relationships. They require work sometimes to stay healthy.
I worry about M, about her ability to make friends, to connect with kids her own age. She spends a lot of time outside of the house away from us because of my working full time, so we tend to spend our “not at work time” as just our family. I don’t often get to see her interactions, but I know the things she struggles with.
I never made friends easily. I was the odd duck, the weird kid out. I still don’t. M doesn’t see me with friends very often, and I worry some time that I’m not setting a good example for her. Her dad is still friends with his elementary school best friend. Two of his school friends still show up at our house once a month for old school table top gaming. I left my home town behind so forcefully that I didn’t even know what college most of my classmates went to.
Yesterday I got to see M interact with kids she had never met before in a way I haven’t recently. I sat back as she played in a park, suppressing every helicopter tendency I have. I saw her play with boys, with girls. I saw her push a younger kid on a swing. I saw her take turns and introduce herself. I saw her pretend and thrive. I put some of my fears to rest and I know that going in to what is next in our journey with her, that she will be OK.
Saturday I got a chance to finally see a childhood friend I haven’t seen over a decade. We were friends in contact, and then we weren’t. I don’t even remember why it changed. I just know I missed her. Our kids, our husbands, all got to meet. It was brief, too brief, but it was a great reminder that things work out. I am happy that M got to see one of my friends from when I was younger.
When we were down at the lake, I let M pick out one rock and one tiny piece of drift wood to take home. While she looked at the lake I found a rock shaped like a heart. I held it in my pocket, letting it warm up as I watched her play, as I navigated nervously to my old friend’s house, as we drove home a better family than we started the day. Heart was the theme of the day.