Friday, May 01, 2009

Then comes Noah in a baby carriage

I met Yvonne three summers ago at a mutual neighborhood friend’s playdate. Her daughter Maia was a few months older than Noah and they were both shy of two years old. When I started taking Noah to a playgroup in Fishtown I told Yvonne how much we were enjoying it and soon she was coming with Maia. And a year later when I decided it was time to put Noah in preschool and Yvonne and I settled on the same place I was thrilled that he would have a friend in his class. And now after two years of being in the same program, numerous playdates, art groups and field trips the two are beyond inseparable. She is his best friend. And I love to watch the two of them together. They never fight. They are almost always play acting a story – if she’s leading it’s about rescuing an animal and if he’s leading it’s about being spies. They tell each other jokes, things that aren’t remotely funny, and they laugh and laugh. And then they repeat the joke 10 times. And laugh.

Today I took Ray, Noah and Maia to Member’s Preview Night at Sesame Place. The weather forecast was looking grim with showers and thunder and greyness. And I initially tried to cancel. But Noah wanted to go SO bad. Not because of him, he understood that we had memberships and he could go on another day, but today he could bring a friend and without even hesitating he said he wanted to bring Maia. So it was really about sharing Sesame Place with Maia. He’d been talking about what rides she might like to go on and planning out their trip. When he was sick earlier in the week he kept counting down until Friday, so worried his illness would prevent us from going. So I decided to suck it up and go even though it was going to rain. Hell, maybe we’d get lucky. Well it RAINED. And it POURED. But before it got so bad we had to leave they went on a couple of rides (they made Ray and I sick), saw the character parade, saw a show and tested a sprinkler area before deciding it was too cold and time to walk to the car in the pissing down rain. But what I will remember most about our trip is how Noah is with Maia. He didn’t want to do anything she didn’t. He held her hand as we walked through the park, the both of them being so well behaved and manageable. When we sat down for a snack he had a sad look on his face and I asked what was wrong and he leaned into me and whispered “It’s a secret. Maia sat on my hand.” I could tell that it really hurt but he knew it was an accident so he didn’t want to mention it and upset her. When I put them in the back of the van and started to dress them in dry clothes the two of them wrapped up so close in the towel and kept giggling about how they were stuck together. And when I finished dressing Ray and they were next Noah told me Maia was the guest so she should be able to be dressed next. When Chickfila gave us two different Happy Meal toys he let her have the good one with the promise they could play with it together when he visited next. And they jumped around, joked and laughed while we ate huddled in the minivan in the parking lot – like it was the best time ever. Noah really loves her and I don’t say that in a corny, romantic way. I say that meaning that is friendship at it’s core, at it’s simplest and best. It makes me proud that he can love like that. That he can be that thoughtful at 4.

In the Fall Maia starts full time Pre K at a Philadelphia Charter school and Noah will be going to YCCA for three 6 hour days. It makes me really sad to separate them. This summer we’ll spend lots of time with her and her family and hopefully other summers too. And after the school year starts we’ll still have occasional play dates and meet ups at the park or the museums. But they will probably never be this close again. It’s sad. Is it weird I have been thinking about this for a few weeks now? It just says so much about life – all the powerful bonds we forge with people who make real impacts on our lives and yet most fade away. Of course they’ll always have Facebook…

4 comments:

Yvomo said...

I totally feel the same way. I am dreading the first day of school when it will really hit her that he won't be there.

Mom said...

That is so adorable, it made me cry. Do you remember your first friend in pre-school? You were inseparable as well. I can't think of her name right now but I can see her in my mind plain as day. I remember we went to Disney when you were 4, and we ran into her and her parents in the Orlando airport. The two of you, not having any sense of how far you were from home, just thought it was a regular event that you were doing together.

Wendy Hitch said...

So true... I have had numerous best friends throughout my early life, and as sad as it is to loose them, each friendship has helped shape me into who I am today.
Those two really are inseparable. There is no doubt that Noah just adores her with his whole heart. He is such a sensitive, sweet little boy. I just love him.

juliloquy said...

I have thought about exactly the same things with Sev and his best friend, Safiyyah. But I have also thought that us moving away allows us to blame their separation on circumstance, and is maybe a happier separation than growing apart, which they'd otherwise be bound to do. Anyway, this is a lovely tribute to N & M's sweet friendship!