Sunday, August 26, 2007

Just Barely Best Friends

Last fall my daughter told me I was her best friend. It was the first time I had ever heard her use that phrase, and my heart melted. Later that evening, as she played in the dirt while my husband and I sat in the back yard, I overheard her telling a plastic garden shovel that it was her best friend. The club wasn't as exclusive as I had thought.

For a while it was just me and the shovel. Eventually her father joined the club. There came a time when she used the word appropriately to refer to her favorite friend. I wanted it to be just me, but I became okay with sharing best-friendom with her dad and her little friend. I even still felt special after the cat joined the list. Then one morning I overheard something that changed all that.

"Stay right there and I will save you!" "What's that, honey?" I asked. "Nothing, Mommy, I'm just talking to my best friends." My husband had already left for work, the cat was outside, and I didn't remember inviting any of her friends over today, so I turned around to see to whom she was referring. Sitting in front of her was a small stuffed dragon that goes to a castle play set and a large red gorilla that sings and dances to the song "Love Machine."

Two year olds aren't meant to be monogamous for long, and now everything that moves and even some things that don't are her best friends. My husband referred to our daughter as his friend once, and I remember thinking at the time the idea of having a two year old as your friend was nice in theory but couldn't really be true. You can like your kid without her being your best friend.

Steve was right, though. Our daughter can be his friend, and mine, too. Sure I spend half of her waking time trying to figure out how many minutes are left until she leaves for college, but the other half of the time I really enjoy spending with her. I talk to her all day long and, trust me, there isn't a thing that passes through her head that she doesn't say to me. We run errands together, work in the garden together, and watch football together. She loves to sit on my lap and read with me, even if it's just a catalog or a magazine. If I'm not feeling well she knows, and she pets me on the head and tells me, "It's okay Mommy, my blankie will make you feel better." When I was pregnant and my back hurt she would bring me tooth paste, thinking it was Bengay, and band-aids to try to fix the problem.

Tomorrow she starts school. I'm sure she'll find a whole slew of best friends there and I'll probably fall even farther down on the best friend list. She's an endlessly loving and genuinely caring person, though, and as long as I still hold a place somewhere on that list I'll be happy. So what if a dancing gorilla is currently her best friend? At least I beat the plastic shovel.

Just Barely my daughter's best friend,

Follow Up: Fly, Baby Bird, Fly! and Redirecting the Bird

Know someone who is starting school this year? Just Barely the Oldest Child found these books helpful:
My First Day at Nursery School
The Berenstain Bears Go to School
The Kissing Hand
If You Take a Mouse to School

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  1. That is so exciting. With everyone getting ready for the first day of school, I am jealous that I am making Clara wait another year! I hope it goes well! Ballet starts next week for us.

  2. I love this.. Just barely your daughters best friend.. I bet she will have a whole slew of them by the end of the year:)

  3. Awww ... that is precious. Sounds like you have a great relationship with your little girl. :)