I am a girl. I love my girlfriends like they are my sisters. That's the way it has always been. I have bonds that go back almost 40 years and that simple fact amazes me every time I think of it.
I am not a boy. I don't completely understand the role that boys play in each others lives. I do know that my son is capable of inserting himself into most groups without hesitation and will emerge with a "friend" or two by his side.
Take baseball camp last month, for example. It was 1,000 degrees out when a group of kids, ages 6 - 12 were thrown out onto a scorching hot baseball field to learn some basic drills. Within a few minutes of learning how to karaoke (a dance-like skill I mastered quickly myself, but I'm sure I'm calling it by the wrong name) he was laughing and chatting with the boys in his group. For me, that was mission accomplished! He is capable of making friends and creating bonds. Or so it seemed.
Flash forward to tonight, when I found him fixing a Lego in his room and I quietly reminded him, "It's bed time, not time for Legos" at which point he dropped his Lego and exclaimed in tears, "I hate my life!"
Ouch. It's just a Lego. You can fix it in the morning. With a few questions and some gentle coaxing, the real underlying issue is that he doesn't feel like he has any friends. A best friend, to be exact.
It never occured to me that something like that would be important to him at 7 years old. He had a play date with a boy from his school today, and other than the adrenaline kicking into overdrive to the point I had to remind him that basketball on rollerblades is a sport for outside the house, they seemed to have a lot of fun.
He rides off on his bike every afternoon to play with the kids in the neighborhood (which is a pretty even mix of boys and girls all near to his age) and never mentions being left out or left behind. But his sister has a BFF...someone that comes to the door looking for her. Someone that schemes about sleepovers, the next time they'll see each other, and how much they'll miss each other when they're apart. He doesn't. And it just became clear how important that could be for boys, too.
Now what's a mother to do? Seeking a best friend for my little guy. Inquire within.