Monday, July 8, 2013

Why I love My Daughter's Best Friends

C & my daughter, friends from the start.
Each of my daughter's friends is unique and has her own strengths and funny little quirks. I am grateful to them all for the lessons they have taught my daughter and for the confidence she has gained through each relationship. Her best friends are especially precious because they provide a safe place for her to practice the social skills we all endeavor to master, from sharing our toys to sharing our hopes and dreams.

Lifelong Friends
I've known C almost as long as I've known my daughter. The two girls met when they were not quite three years old, and today we are neighbors. The two of them are like sisters. I have watched them grow over the years. They are opposites in many ways. Physically, they are on extreme ends of the growth charts - C is small, my daughter is tall. Their dispositions are also opposite: My daughter is reserved and measured, C is boisterous and wild. But they both love magic and animals and climbing trees. They are the best of friends, and I know C will always have a special place in my daughter's heart. C has helped my daughter revel in her own silliness. Most importantly, C is such a close friend that my child feels comfortable speaking her mind, which isn't always easy for a people-pleaser like my daughter.

Kindred Spirits
J & my daughter making pancakes after a sleepover.
Have you ever had a friend who you don't see often, but when you do it's like you've never been apart? J is that friend for my daughter. She moved away a couple of years ago but comes back to visit every so often. The girls are truly kindred spirits. They are similar outside and in. Their mutually reserved personalities create an even playing field. Both girls are smart and creative and never get bored when they are together. Whether they're washing the car or inventing a new board game, they are a pleasure to watch. My daughter can be self-conscious when she's away from the comforts of home. I love seeing her be herself with this person she rarely sees. I am grateful to J for showing my daughter what it feels like to be comfortable with being yourself, even in the face of the unfamiliar.

My daughter is still young, so I'm able to influence whom she chooses to befriend. I know the day will come when she'll be solely in charge of those choices. I am hopeful that these early friendships will help establish a good foundation for my daughter's future relationships. One thing I do know: Spending her time with these special little girls is a gift.