I like my kids' friends. I like all of them. I know this is a rare statement for a parent to make, but it's true. I liked them when they piled salamanders in a bucket on my front porch; when they showed up at our house wearing our kids' clothes; when they made those wacky video movies on the back deck. I liked them when they imagined the front yard was a "restrot" and when they clustered around that little red wagon full of kittens and stared at me with those yearning eyes..."you HAVE to take one, or my mom will take them to the place that KILLS them!" I liked their night games; their bum wars on the trampoline; their ball games and sleep overs. I liked them when I thought my kids would be scarred for life because of their antics. Looking back, I think I liked them when I was pretty sure they were possessed. In the quiet of this room, with only the hum of the computer and the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard, I can conjure up the sound of laughter in the yard...the rustle of leaves on Halloween night...the escalating volume and rising pitch of a short lived argument when someone was not getting their turn. I hear balls bouncing and backboards ringing followed by someone shouting "H-O-R-S you're almost OUT!" The thunk of a ball getting sucked into the pocket of a newly oiled glove. The creak of the hinges of the fridge at midnight. The clanging of dishes. The hushed whispers of deepening voices as they sneak back into the basement at 3 am. The sound of glass breaking/ walls breaking/ guitars crushing. I liked them even then! Well, maybe I loved them then. Like may have taken a hike for just a moment those days. But it always returned.
A friend hears the song in
my heart and sings it to me
when my memory fails.--
I see Jenny in line at Costco, her baby kicking his legs in her shopping cart and her three-year-old darling tugging at her leg. "Tell Sarah I love her!" she says, "and John, too. I named my boy John, you know." I know she is a woman, but the feeling is for the junior high adolescent whose voice had that darling catch in it when she talked. I hear of my nephew's brother-in-law who crashed in Farmington Canyon last week and I recall the laughter in the basement of this home, the plans to gather up the sleds and saucers and give the new fallen snow a go. Ryan drove up that canyon to check it out, and he never returned. Those same boys lined up beside his casket in their brand new missionary suits and ties. Like, like Love, is not always happy.
I like my girls who are not of my flesh but are heart-born. The ones who made creative messes in the garage, in the basement, in the yard. I like that the girls of my flesh are also each other's friends, and that their sister-in-law fits so naturally and comfortably. There is just so much around our lives to like!
Come to think of it, along with liking my kids' friends, I also like my friends' kids. How lucky can I get?
I also like my kids' kids.
Oh...and I like my kids.