There's No Crying In Blogball
The (sick-as-a) Dog Days of Summer

Golden

My post about Noah and the little boy next door was a finalist for Blogher's Voices of the Year. Karen Walrond provided a gorgeous photo as its "inspired by" companion piece for the art gala and charity auction at the conference -- I posed like a total dorkwad next to it so Jason could take a terrible photo of me posing like a total dorkwad next to it, and someone asked me if I was the artist. No, I said, but pointed to the tiny fine print underneath that said my name and post title. I wrote that.

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-karen-walrond

A Golden Day by Karen Walrond 

Comments

karengreeners

I was as blown away by the art as I was by the writing. Did you get the photo?

karengreeners

I was as blown away by the art as I was by the writing. Did you get the photo?

Mama Bub

One day? One day is all you could manage without the sucker punch, tugs at your motherly heart strings post?

Ah well, it's why we keep coming back.

Missie

Dagnabbit, woman. You made me cry again !

Big hugs to The Noah for rockin the splash park and play date.

Kathleen

Dammit. Fortunately I am working from home today, because this is not wet eyes, there are honest to god tears on my cheeks.

Beautiful post, but now we need fuzzy kitties and cute toddlers, STAT.

Lisa

Can I blame that on the hormones?

PopMommy Pam

*tears*

Awesome as always.

Megan@Blueberry Scones

You keep making me cry. And yet? I keep coming back for more.

Peachy

Good gods, woman, can you PLEASE post something about a domestic disaster? Re-run an old one about the leaking roof; revisit the mouse controversy? Something? ANYTHING? I had only just started to recover from the last tearfest, and now here I am all weepy and feeling my heart expand like the Grinch.

I love your kids. And you are a rockin' mom.

mswas

Lovely, as always

Jessica

Once again I have tears on my desk. What an amazing story and I love the way you tell it. Noah is an awesome person!!!!!!!!!!!!!

guarros

I read these posts and it reminds me of how completely different life is now post child.

It brings me back to days when I might have been the girl who was picked last or wasn't picked to ride in the canoe with the 'cool kids' at a girl scout field trip... yeah I hold on to that day and my tears... so maybe that reference doesn't make sense.

The good news - 20/20 being what it is, Monday quarterbacking and all that - kids (I) remember days like the one you are describing even MORE and gawd dammit I turned out pretty good - I'm loved and I love much and the canoe trips are a BLIP in comparison to the bigger picture.

Rock on Mama.

Monica

Images we have seen on speech therapy and audiology evals:

Gun. (this was when she was 2)
Jail. (also at 2)
Church. (3)
Cross. (3)

Last week she didn't know what a tie was. I told her therapist it was because daddy dresses like a hobo when he goes to work.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Beautiful, beautiful post. And that photo - how amazing that there's a visual that can capture all the emotion in your words. And it does. They complement each other perfectly.

Issa

Am crying. But happy tears. For you and Noah and his new best friend.

Sometimes the photo in your head of that perfect moment, is enough.

Brandi

I'm sorry things with Sammy didn't work out. But i'm glad to hear that things with Miles are going well. I hope his parents can find a home in your area so Noah can have a friend in school and Miles can blossom the way Noah has.

Susan

AND...you're back to making me cry again. Fuck you. I mean that in the nicest way. Really.

angeladean

So I'm crying and got goosbumps. Wonderful story. My heart broke hearing about Noah getting rejected. Oh, I remember being that kid...

Lots of love to your little guys.

Kate

Taking your child being rejected is somehow so much worse than it happening to you. My 5 year old spent all her holiday hanging round the next caravan hoping to catch a glimpse of her "friend", who spent the whole time running away from her, whispering cruel things about her to the older girls. She even tried to bribe this little madame with her birthday cake, to no avail *sigh*.

I just wonder if anybody else has ever wanted to poke that other child right in the eyes? Or maybe actually did it??

Noah will make other good friends though, and growing a thicker skin is one of life's tough but essential lessons.

Amy M.

Wonderful post. I'm so happy Noah had a great playdate! Very appropriate photo!

My son is 4 & always looks for our 7-y-o next-door neighbor boy outside, too. So far our "Sammy" treats him nicely, but I worry about the day my little V will be rejected too.

Leeann


Ever. Don't ever ever EVER stop writing about Noah and Ezra. Because if you do I will feel like I have lost touch with someone in my life that I love so much.

I promise I am not at all creepy but I have come to love your sons so dearly. And I am SO GLAD that Noah has the best friend in the world!

liz

Damn, lady, you can really write. Seriously.

Niki

Dammit woman, I thought you were going to lay off on the cry-inducing posts. And no, I'm not exaggerating, there are tears in my eyes and I'm sniffling.

Hooray for Noah! Man, I hope she's able to secure a home nearby.

Plano Mom

Older kids suck. Doesn't matter the age. But then if we didn't have sucky asshole playdates, we couldn't appreciate the really cool ones. Glad to see Noah gets to have both ends of the spectrum.

Average Jane

Aw, what a great story!

(And by the way, every finalist dorkily posed by "their" artwork. I have plenty of photo evidence of that. Some of that photo evidence may or may not depict me standing like a dorkward next to some artwork.)

liz

i thought you were trying to make people NOT cry! i don't have an office door to shut! ugh! GREAT post though! hope they get a house in your neighborhood

Kymberly

Well it's now official that I am Not A Nice Person because I am actively rooting against Sammy and hoping that he too feels the sting of a friend ditching him.

Not wishing a life-threatening curse on the kid (self-control thy name is mine) but just a sort of general kick-in-the-face-kind-of-emotional-pain that will cause him to think "oh yeah this is how Noah felt" and then develop the kind of compassion and new understanding that brings him groveling back and causes him to dedicate his life to serving others.

You know, the usual.

Kymberly

Well it's now official that I am Not A Nice Person because I am actively rooting against Sammy and hoping that he too feels the sting of a friend ditching him.

Not wishing a life-threatening curse on the kid (self-control thy name is mine) but just a sort of general kick-in-the-face-kind-of-emotional-pain that will cause him to think "oh yeah this is how Noah felt" and then develop the kind of compassion and new understanding that brings him groveling back and causes him to dedicate his life to serving others.

You know, the usual.

Stacy

Again with the crying.

Yeah Noah!

TBK

So great that Noah has a new, nice friend!

...and it's totally not the point of the post, and it's true that many 7yo don't want to play with 4yo, but, well. Seven is plenty old enough to be given a very stern lecture about that kind of treatment of other people being Not Nice and therefore Unacceptable. I mean, yes, it's only natural to want playmates your own, but I'm sort of hoping Sammy's mom addressed it with him. Not your concern, and again, not the point here, but wow. That's some mean behavior.

TBK

So great that Noah has a new, nice friend!

...and it's totally not the point of the post, and it's true that many 7yo don't want to play with 4yo, but, well. Seven is plenty old enough to be given a very stern lecture about that kind of treatment of other people being Not Nice and therefore Unacceptable. I mean, yes, it's only natural to want playmates your own, but I'm sort of hoping Sammy's mom addressed it with him. Not your concern, and again, not the point here, but wow. That's some mean behavior.

Stacy

*sniffle* you are making me cry again! But it's ok... :)

Stacy

Ha! @Stacy... Nearly the same comment from the same name!

Karen

Yeah for bestest friends in da hole-tide-world!
I feel the same when Drew's "typical" friends at school are patient with his quirks. It does make me realize that these things just make him Drew and like me, they love him for who he is. Yay - Go, Team Miles! Boo, team Sammy!

jodifur

I hope they move into your neighborhood too. Because for me, I feel like monday, Michael starting Kindergarten, would be so much easier if Michael knew JUST ONE KID. But I think I'm projecting.

This is a lovely post. And moment.

Virginia

You said you wouldn't make us cry anymore. You PROMISED!

Amber

wow. WOW. isn't it what we all want? one TRUE, GENUINE friend. I want the same for my 7 yr old. But more importantly, I want him TO BE that kind of friend. I hope I am showing him how to do that. I really do.

kat

oh good grief. i need to go read your other post so that i can stop crying.

friendship is such a sensitive subject. one day you are best friends, the next day you are not. it's SO tough.

Roberta

Oh. My heart hurts and then soars with Noah's, and yours. So lovely.

KTSchoger

What happened to "There's No Crying In Blogball"? Because...one day?!!? Get on with some Deodorant Wars or delicious microwave recipes or something!

Seriously.

But, just lovely :)

Momnivore's Dilemma


Agreed about the PECS clip art updating. There needs to be a massive overhaul of that system!

Reading about Noah's lil triumphs gives me so much hope for my Moose. He doesn't get the concept of friends quite yet.

:)

Lauren

I completely empathize with you having your heart broken on Noah's behalf, Amy, but I have to say, I have a really hard time with "sucky asshole playdates" and "Boo team Sammy." He's a KID, making the choices that all kids make sometimes. It's regrettable, but he doesn't deserve to be trash talked by grownups for it.

Cindy

Oh my goodness...wish we lived next to you! My 8 year old daughter would love to play with your boys. She was born with a serious heart defect, and has had 3 open heart surgeries before the age of four...and maybe because of this is one of the most accepting, loving and empathetic children...she'd be a great playmate for Noah! Great post again...you are truly a talented girl!

Beth

perfection.

Wendy

Dammit, more tears... but tears of pure happiness for Noah.

Through your writing I feel like I know Noah, and with you I cheer at his victories and send hugs for the less victorious times.

Sirena

What a touching post. I love when your writing touches these parts of the heart, Amy. And I love that your boy had such a fun, carefree day. But I can't help but echoing Lauren's post earlier and think of most seven-year-olds I know - and the one I was. I'm not sure a seven-year-old has the chance to know the repercussions his actions will have, and I feel for him in my own way, just as I feel for the little one that is left out. At this age, things change SO FAST. The one left out today can be the one leaving others out tomorrow, you know? Sometimes I just feel that kids are kids, learning lessons and being: kids.

lindswing

I was so not a crier before I got pregnant. I'd swear your blog got emotional since this momentous occasion in my life, but I remember reading all the crying comments then. I get so weepy and happy for you when Noah has these moments. Thanks for sharing him with us.

Soon to be SLP

Love it! Go Noah and many skills. :)

Also ... future SLPs also laugh about the graphics. Our professors will show us the tests and ask if even we can identify the outdated pictures. There needs to be updated tests & graphics.

rye

snifsnifsnif (wipe tears, snot) STOP. IT. :-)

chiquita

lovely. Love the image of Noah and Miles holding hands. Best friends are awesome.

samantha Jo Campen

God DAMN here I go again. My eyes! They burn!

Noah, I'm so happy you and Miles are best friends! I hope it stays that way for years and years.

Colet

Husband just came in and asked "what's wrong? What's with the tears?" And all I could get out was "Noah has a friend, a real friend! It's...so...bwaaahhh".

Also: props to you, for not letting the Sammy friend-thing be the last word - but instead, continuing to search for the best opportunities for your son.

cole

"Miles is my best favorite friend in the whole in tide world."

That sentence is simply the best thing in the entire world.

kelly

Wow. Great post. I love the artwork; thanks for sharing it with us.
Noah and Miles: so awesome.

Amalah

Lauren - Yes, I completely agree. I hope it's clear in the post that I am not blaming Sammy or his mother or anything, and that I knew he was just a kid being a KID. Seven year olds don't usually like to play with four year olds, simple as that. It happens. Growing up sucks.

Elizabeth @ Table for Five

awww, I'm so happy for Noah! "the whole in tide world", indeed.

The comments to this entry are closed.