You’re Not My Friend Anymore
As I cook the children dinner, I can hear them banter back and forth about some pretty wild things. Most of the time I hear my son proclaim his desire to be the Incredible Hulk, my youngest daughter hop around the house like a bunny or meowing like a cat, while my oldest daughter teaches the kids the most “amazing” songs in pop music. Periodically, I hear shuffling of the feet, jumping down the stairway, or even the occasional punch in the face and the shoving one another into walls. I do not particularly enjoy the shoving of one another, or the hopping in the stairway, however as with most children, it does happen.
I often hear the whining that comes along with the pushing and shoving. As a mother I can tune out the petty stuff and tune in to the serious things. The bickering I let them solve on their own. The fist fighting is when mom steps in. Recently, during one of these more unappreciative episodes, I heard the shoving of each other and then silence.
A few moments later I heard muffled voices and then what sounded to be pleading. Curiosity overcame my ability to tune the children out. I left the stove to go to the living room where my children were playing. As soon as I walked into the room I saw my son collapse onto the floor with big crocodile tears running down his chubby cheeks. I looked up at my daughter and new from the look on her face, she said the ultimate words of hate, “You’re not my friend anymore.”
I was angry. When I was a child, if my brother told me that I wasn’t his friend, I would be like, “So what?” Those were not hate words to me. In fact, those words would have been considered kind. Back when I was a child, I played games like “murderer”, “happy go pukey” or “cops and robbers”. When I was mad with my brother I would come up with the meanest, vilest things to say and then laugh at him when he said the cruelest or most disgusting things back. Not my children.
My children love each other. Of course my brothers and sister and I loved each other too, but this is different. My children have no words of hate for each other. They do not try and one up each other on hate crimes. They do not knock each other down and keep them from getting each other up. My children genuinely love each other. When I was a kid and I was offered a cookie, I could care less if my siblings got one. I would give them one if my parents told me too, but I wasn’t looking out for them, I was looking out for me. My children refuse to get a shot at the doctor’s office unless the other gets a sticker with them. I have to get a sticker for each child when one of them goes. If the nurse gives one of the kids a sucker, my children will steal a second and third to give to their siblings. If one doesn’t get, the rest don’t get.
Seeing my son so devastated by the proclamation of “you are not my friend anymore” hurt my heart, but in a weird sense it also made me feel good. It makes me feel good to know that he loves his sister so much that it literally tears him apart when she proclaims immunity from him. The idea that they cannot be friends bestows pain to him in ways that seem irrelevant to normal people, but so deep to him. My children know how to love. When my daughter saw how much she hurt him, she bent down and helped to pick him up. When he asked her, “are we still friends?” and she responded with a nod, I knew all was well.
My son picked himself up off the floor, gave his sister a huge hug and they ran off holding hands, as if their fight had never occurred. I think a lot of us could learn from the love and forgiveness that my children have for each other.
You’re Not My Friend Anymore