Close Encounters of the Boy-Girl Kind
“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” Elizabeth Lawrence
I love the ease that comes with the close encounters of a playdate-kind. The ones that are shared between boys and girls, say… before the age of twelve, before things start to get weird between the sexes. There’s something magical about the way they interact; without judgment or concern, self-consciousness or worry. They’re simply honest and fun-loving with each another.
I heard the laughter coming from the basement. It was a deep, it was loud. It was the kind that makes you run toward it because you want to be a part of whatever is causing such joy. My ten-year-old daughter’s happiest days seem to be when she’s having a play-mate over. She loves her gal-pals with all her heart but there’s something very special about spending time with the boy– friend who’ll explore the woods with her, go the distance in an Xbox dance-off or eagerly engage her in a round of laser tag. It allows for friendship which is what boys and girls share when they’re not trying to impress one another. It’s not like a brother or sister relationship either, there’s no jealousy or rivalry to taint the waters. It’s a bond that’s made to be cherished well into adulthood. It’s not forgotten.
My friend’s name was Walter. He gave me the most beautiful multi-colored, flowered-dress for my 10th birthday. One time his parents took me and him sleigh-riding Upstate. His mom brought hot-cocoa in a thermos for us. My love for Walter is genuine. It holds a forever-place in my heart and it has nothing to do with romance. In fact, it never really occurred to me that Walter was a boy. His gender was never on my radar and didn’t seem important when we played games, went sleigh-riding or explored the woods together. He was my friend and having been fortunate enough to have shared a friendship like that, it’s easy to recognize it now as an adult, when I see it.
There’s something very lovely about observing a friendship your child shares with a member of the opposite sex, especially at a time in their lives when they are exploring and experimenting with independence but are still young and naive enough to really enjoy one another’s company. It’s pure. As a parent, you do your best to encourage it, foster it, allow it to grow and hope that when those weird years arrive and they do arrive, somewhere in the back of their heads and hearts they’ll both remember, they’re just boys or just girls. Behind their new-found bravado and all the pretending not to care that comes with it,
we they all really want the same things, boys and girls that is: to be loved, to be respected and to be-befriended.
Do you have a friend of the opposite sex that you remember fondly from your childhood?
Photo Credits #1-4: Karen Szczuka Teich & http://www.takingtheworldonwithasmile.com