August 27, 2010
The nominated posts weren't actually there or printed, so she asked me what the post was about. I struggled to sum it up concisely, and in a way that would make sense with the stunning visual of the delicate, high-flying kite in the photo. Another little boy gave my son a second chance to rise above his challenges, or something like that.
Noah never got a third chance, unfortunately, with that particular little boy. After the newness of his younger playmate wore off, and his general curiosity about our house and What Interesting Toys It Might Possibly Contain was satisfied, Sammy quickly lost interest in Noah, and tired of his attempts to tag along when he had other friends over. Their last real encounter ended with Sammy and another boy actively working to confuse Noah and ditch him, essentially -- they'd take off down the sidewalk and run behind the block of townhomes, into Sammy's backyard and house. They'd then wait for Noah to figure out where they went...only to run back out the front door and down the street once he showed up to knock on the backyard gate.
Sammy's mother saw me comforting Noah -- he was crying, of course, and it was the most fucking brutal hamburger grinder of a parenting moment ever -- but there really wasn't anything to say. Her seven-year-old didn't want to play with my four-year-old. We'd both known it would come to this at some point, eventually.
I coaxed Noah into our own backyard with promises of ice cream and firecrackers. At one point I swear I saw Sammy and his friend peering through the fence as Jason and Noah played with those obnoxious little Pop-It noisemaker things, but they didn't ask to come over.
The only times we've talked to Sammy since is if he comes to the door to retrieve his soccer ball from our yard. Noah still calls him "my friend" and holds out hope that an invitation to play could still come any day now. It's not.
All in all, a total bummer of an end to that nice story I wrote that one time.
We had our second playdate with Miles yesterday -- a little boy from speech camp this summer -- at the splash playground. His mother and I corralled Ezra around, comparing notes on the other two and their various test results and quirks. We laughed about the 1970s clip-art still being used by the speech and language evaluators today -- like our children have ANY idea what a big boxy desktop computer or rotary telephone are -- and the fact that it was humanly impossible for any male child to resist walking into certain arched fountains crotch-first and say something like HEY LOOK MOM I'M PEEING. We talked about their troubles getting repeatedly outbid on homes in our neighborhood, because she and her husband want Miles to attend our elementary school.
And I noticed that Miles and Noah were -- in fact -- playing together. Not just sort of...existing somewhat in the same sphere of space, but playing together. Games. Things that required talking, negotiating, taking turns. Tag, at one point, I am pretty sure. Then hide-and-seek inside the biggest maze-like fountain.
As we left, the boys walked hand-in-hand back to our cars, skipping and laughing and chattering away about nothing in particular, and Noah didn't seem bothered at all by Miles occasionally bumping into him or dragging him in one direction or another. I tried to remember any time Noah had ever voluntarily held another child's hand and couldn't. I tried to swallow my dorked-out excitement at the thought of the boys attending kindergarten together, or being able to walk or ride bikes to the other's house. I couldn't.
When I got to the car I realized I should have taken a picture of them, of that moment. I kicked myself for a few minutes while I buckled the boys in: dammit.
Noah sighed contentedly from the backseat. "I had so much fun with Miles. I love Miles. Miles is my best favorite friend in the whole in tide world."
And I realized that someone else had already taken that picture for me, after all.
A Golden Day by Karen Walrond