My five-year-old son has a best friend. Forged in the very first week of his first term at school, their friendship has remained steadfast over the last few months, despite the ups and downs of classroom life. Towards the end of last year my son was ill for a full week, staying home from school to recover. By lunchtime on the first day he was missing his best friend.
“What do you think R is doing right now?” I asked, trying to jolly him out of his gloom.
He sighed and thought for a while. “Probably just sitting in the corner looking sad,” he said sorrowfully. “That’s what I’d be doing if I was at school and he wasn’t there.”
On day three, round about six in the evening, he suddenly and unaccountably burst into tears. “I miss him so much!” he wailed, great wracking sobs causing his little chest to heave. We reached for the telephone and called R, catching him just as he was being put to bed. I withdrew to a tactful distance to listen to J’s half of the conversation, which went something like this;
“I miss you R [pause]. I can’t come to school tomorrow [pause]. I really miss you too [pause]. I love you.”
He put down the phone with a great sigh, but with his tears dried up and his brow unfurrowed.
The next day we ignored all risks of contagion and brought the boys together to play, where they happily slipped into silliness.
I’m awed by the intensity of their relationship at such a young age, and intrigued to watch it develop. I wonder if they’ll still be the best of friends in five years’ time, or whether they’ll have moved onto other friendships. For the time being I’m simply glad my son has found someone whose company he loves, who is kind and gentle and whose parents I like. Long may it last.