There’s something super special about a first love. Not the first romantic love, but your first best friend, that person that comes in just a little closer to your heart than everyone else, because they get you. I wrote this entry in February of 2009:
I had a best friend when I was around age four, named Robert Baer. We were determined that we would marry (and in fact did so a few times, in ceremonies officiated by whomever was nearby). I knew everything about this kid. I knew that when I had sleepovers, I didn’t want to sleep in his bed because he was a kicker. I knew how to wind him up and how to talk him into letting me ride the plastic horse hosted up on springs first. We knew we were bionic, his capabilities surprisingly similar to Steve Austin’s, mine to Jaime Summers; though my bionics had the additional benefit of allowing me to stick pennies to my forehead using only spit. We would steal his mother’s bottles of Prell shampoo and dump them onto the dog, and I coveted Robert’s amazing luck to be able to pee standing up, which I tried to imitate over and over (looking back I’m very sorry to his parents for those attempts, and also wonder: who carpets a bathroom?)
The way they automatically reach for each other’s hands at street corners.
The way they stop talking when I’m within earshot and say “Nothing”, in unison.
…I know they will be friends for life, even when life separates them. This kind of friendship cannot be undone.
So this is why, when I received a text from Laura, Sophia’s mother, a few days ago my heart stopped. It read:
Would you ever consider putting your eldest on a plane to St. Louis for a few days this summer?
See, Sophia and her family moved in May of 2009. All the things that need to happen to make a family move did happen to Sophia and her family. But we’ve stayed in touch with email and the occasional letter and some iChat. Roan still counts Sophia as a best friend, and looks at pictures of her regularly.
My heart stopped, because I knew it would be the greatest treat in the world for my boy to get to go visit his friend. But flying alone? And having a vacation without me or his dad? What what??
I threw the idea cautiously at Roan who said he needed to sleep on it. Flying alone seemed a little intimidating. That night, Joe, Sophia’s dad sent an email and named dropped Six Flags. And a 10-story slide. And a water park. And Roan jumped, whole-heartedly into the idea. He is now counting the days. Visiting St. Louis is the first thing he mentions to everyone when they ask about summer plans. Breakfast each morning is spent outlining exactly how excited he is to see Sophia.
And so. My eldest, who it seems was only born about 5 minutes ago and who couldn’t possibly survive 10 minutes without his mother is apparently quite self-sufficient. I’m so proud of him for being this kind of kid – but it also kills me a little that he’s this kind of kid. Fortunately, this family of Sophia’s is more family than friend to all of us Nelson Calls over here. And I do not fear at all for my boy while he’s gone. I fear a little for his father and myself. But we’ll try to be ok. How could I say no to reuniting these two?