When I was a kid, my parents had some friends who I really liked, and wanted to see more often.
Billy and Ted lived in England, then in France. They were fascinating to me. I liked their children, too, but I enjoyed being around those grownups. They had traits that my parents didn’t, and I wanted to learn more. I remember Ted telling me about skiing through the alps, and I wanted to know more. I remember Billy taking me to a department store (it felt very fancy, but it was probably the equivalent of Target!) and when she showed me her favourite makeup brand, and I admired it, she bought me a red lip gloss and I was ecstatic! It felt so grownup and expensive and special.
Anna had a place in the country, with her partner Paul. She was fascinating to me. She seemed so creative, loving, wonderful – one time, as a gift, she wrote a book for our family and illustrated it. It was about a family, and it was called “The Forests.” I thought, wow, we are so special to her! She really likes us! She made this book for us! But it felt like we hardly ever saw her.
Minna and Max are German, and they lived nearby (although I didn’t realise, until I was grownup, that they were in the next suburb – it felt like a long journey to get there!). They were fascinating to me. I don’t think I spoke to Max as much as I did to Minna, but their house was interesting, and their children, and everything was so different – their traditions, sayings, food, crockery, the books on their bookshelves – I loved seeing, hearing and tasting all of the new things. They raised their children very differently to my parents’ method, too, and I liked experiencing that different style of life.
Now that I’m one of the grownups, I’ve thought about how I felt as a kid, and how I wished that I could have been friends with those adults. I don’t know if it would have worked out, but I wish that we had been able to have email conversations, and maybe meet for coffee once in a while.
I’ve been thinking about the children in my life, and I want to remember that they *might* want an adult as a friend. That maybe I should ask them, once in a while, how they’re doing. Maybe via email, or Facebook. (This might be one of my bad, overly idealistic ideas! Oh yeah!)
(Names of people in this post have been changed.)