We talked about friends. How are your friends? I asked, naming each one. Good, he said. There’s some drama.
I listened as my son told me stories of tween angst, which sounded familiar, like my own memories of teen angst. Kids grow up so fast these days.
Girlfriends and boyfriends fight and make up. Messages get passed down the lane, and real meanings are lost. Feelings, so fragile at eleven and twelve years old, are easily hurt, I think.
Nurture your friendships, I tell him. He is in an open mood. What I am saying is being heard. I keep talking.
When I was young, I started, Oh, God, please don’t let this turn into one of those “When I Was Your Age” stories. Let him hear it. Let him learn it. When I was young, I said, I had friends. Really good ones. We became friends in kindergarten. We went through a lot together, and we were inseparable.
Then I switched schools. I made new friends. We all graduated, and some of us moved away. Those early friendships were lost. We have Facebook now, but we missed a lot of time together. They continued to be close, and I wasn’t close anymore.
I had other close friendships in high school and college, but so many were lost. I did not nurture them. I did not call or write or make arrangements to visit when I came home for breaks. We let disagreements go without repairing them. I miss those friendships too.
Don’t let disagreements and mean words kill your friendships, I said. Don’t let too much time pass without talking to your buddies. Let your friends know you’re thinking about them. Smooth over differences. Let your friends be themselves, and love them. Take care of your friendships, because when you’re my age, you will want people in your life who share your history. This is the only time in your life that you can begin a lifelong friendship.
Jeez mom, he said, after I stopped talking. You’re making me cry.
I wiped my eyes. Me too.