How To Make Friends: Plum 101

Plum raced off of the bus and into the house, past my open arms, over to his art table to grab paper and colored pencils before he had even shed his coat. I trailed behind this little whirlwind trying to sneak a smooch or a bit of a hug to no avail, he was intent on his project. I offered a snack, provided milk and still he was too busy to acknowledge me fully. It seems he made a new friend on the bus, it was a “her” I was informed, and he wanted to write a letter to her. Ahhh, so it begins, I thought. A girl has come between us. I peeked at his letter, mostly in awe that he was able to do all the writing himself, and saw that it contained all the necessary information for a beginning friendship. It was a greeting, a followup on a first contact. “Ha Faline, my name is Plum, the person you sat by.” I did not correct his “ha” into a “hi”, he clearly was on a mission and didn’t ask for back up. After carefully putting his letter in his backpack to be delivered the next time he rides this bus to our house, we could begin our time. New friendships come first.

His school was celebrating the 100th day in session, what a milestone it was. The growth that comes from the first day of kindergarten to now is amazing, from not reading to writing his own letters, from friendships based on our connections to new ones of his choosing.  He is changing each day, growing into a little person and that requires energy and effort, he is more often crabby and sassy with us. He is also more often hilarious with his wit and vocabulary. What I appreciate the most though is his heart that grows more open at an exponential rate to his physical and mental stretching. He shared his 100 day treats with me, said he would have had more but Faline was hungry on the bus so he gave her one of his special baggies of food. The much anticipated treat bags, like the bonus packages you get for going to a birthday party, who gives those away?

I hear people talk about the difficulty of making friends, connecting with others, after college or outside of work. I think Plum has provided the blueprint, he certainly understands that to have a friend you must be a friend. Sit with someone new, share your cookies, follow up with a note. Seeing those around us who are not in our circle, who may not have a treat bag, who may delight in meeting someone new, requires that we are focused outward rather than on our self. No worries about not having enough snacks, about misspellings, about whether or not she will like his letter or him, he moved out into the world. I love this child, I love his heart. I love his sassy mouth because I know that he may have used up all of his nice throughout the day and has little left for me. I love his faith that if he shares what is in his backpack, he will not go hungry. I love that God is so visible in this child I would have to be blind to miss Him, I would have to ignore His offers of shared joy and notes of introduction, over and over. I love the soul of this child who shows me how to do it all. I love that he offered his cookies even to me, when there was only a small bit left. I want to move actively out of my comfort zone and into the world, seeing the hungry and finding more friends. I plan to follow Plum’s lead.

Ha, I’m Lisa, wanna be friends? I have some gifts to share, I bet you do as well.

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