On Friends and Friend-i-ness and What I Learned from my Kid


Yesterday I watched my kid get up and give a little farewell-type speech in our church (because she is leaving to distant shores for quite some time to do a bit of good in the world), and then trundle over to our house afterward, followed by a boatload of friends and well-wishers, to nosh and chat and hug and laugh and try not to weep.

Holy-smoking-cow. My momma-socks were blown off by the sheer volume of friends my child has. My house isn't tiny, but it isn't huge either. It's big enough to fit us, with room for a little storage. But baby, I had 150 to 200 mostly college-aged peeps plundering my pantry and lounging in my living space. THAT is a whole lot of energy and well-wishing. (It's also a whole lot of snow that got tracked up my entry-hall rug, and a blinking grundle of bagels, schmear, ham [yes, there's irony in serving ham with bagels-n-schmear. can you see it?] fruit, and eclairs dragged across my carpet.)

Who has that many friends? And well-wishers? And kind people in their lives? 

It gave me pause. And let me tell you, these were and are truly marvelous folk. Kind, funny, clever, good-hearted, and really hungry. They seemed to be there because they genuinely like my kid. It was humbling.

But then I watched my girl. And noticed that when she smiles, she smiles from her whole soul, and it glows right out of her eyes and teeth and cheeks and teeth and hands and heart and teeth. (I paid a LOT of money for those straight teeth. I'm going to mention them. And they do sort of glow.) Also, when she talks — like when she was up there talking in church — you sort of feel embraced. Like, you know how you come out of a Queen Latifah movie feeling hugged? Like especially in Last Holiday and Joyful Noise and okay, all of them? It's like that. Except live and in front of you, and you get the energy right in your face.

Plus, she listens. And she empathizes. And she means it.

I don't know where she came from. Except maybe my husband's grandfather. Whom my child never knew. But really? I don't know where she came from. Probably just her own little self. And I figure there's something to learn from her, in terms of figuring out how to be a friend. Here's what I picked up on yesterday:

Friends listen – for reals. They put themselves in your shoes, think about it, feel it, and give it back to you.

Friends look you in the eye – not your forehead, checking for wrinkles. Not at what you're wearing. Not with that sort of glazed-over what-am-I-cooking-for-dinner-pretending-to-listen-to-you look.

Friends care about your happiness – they want to know what you think. They want you to feel comfortable. And they'll notice what you need and help you out when you need it.

Friends think you're important – and the really good ones make you feel like you're the only one in the room when they're talking and listening with you. They'll also remember the details of your life.

Friends are flat out fun to be with – and that's because they just like you. Don't judge you. Don't get offended. Or at least, if they do, they get over it on their own time. Also they're not afraid to be a little looney-tune in public. That's very important. Trust me.

Hmmm. I must figure out how to do these things that seem in-born in my kid. Thinking about it, at least, is a good start. I think our minds start working on the things we think about, and give us feedback. Which, by the way, is why its a good idea to look for good and positive in life.

Well. There you go. Out of the mouths, faces, and personalties, of babes. As they say. Hopefully by the time Child #1 comes back I'll have it all figured out. And then maybe I can go out in the world and do some good, yeah?

Have a great one, my friends!

About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


    • Thank you! You know what would have made it perfect? If you had been here. I mean, your towels were here–I showed them to many people–but you weren’t. There was a Robin-shaped hole in my house during that wingding. So, just know you were thought of and your presence wished for.

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