I've mentioned Evan's first school friend before. We've had her, a sweet little girl I'll call "A," over for a playdate (it went very well...so well that she is now Max's first school friend, too) and we, the parents in this friendship, have been in touch about setting up another.
He doesn't talk about her much, but will occasionally and casually say something like, "Listen to what A said today," or "A and I played on the playground." But he talks about other kids from the class, too, and has been invited to lots of birthday parties and has lots of ideas about the guest list for his own party coming up in a few months. So I'm listening to all of this "friend talk" thinking about how unbelievably proud I am of the growth in his social development in these past few months. Last year, at this time, Evan was just starting to engage with the TEACHERS and the CENTERS in his classroom. He didn't talk about the other kids at home and never interacted with them in the classroom. It's amazing how much he's grown.
And so, while thrilled to hear that Evan was interested in continuing to play with A at school (among other kids) and that he wanted to invite her over for future playdates, I didn't think their friendship was anything special or extraordinary.
And then, There Were Valentines.
Evan has worked really hard over the past week writing Valentines to his friends. Writing is not his favorite activity, nor his forte, so we have been just writing two or three a day. He's been doing a great job, though, and I'm beginning to see some real development in his fine motor skills, too. (Although, as an aside, he still switches between using his left and right hands. I feel as though this is part of the problem with his fine motor development....he's not using one hand consistently enough to strengthen it. I never hand him a pen. I let him pick it up in whatever he feels is his dominant hand, and regardless of the hand he uses to pick up the pen, his penmanship looks about the same and he says that writing is comfortable. I'm not sure what to do here....I think nothing, that experience will help him to determine his handedness, but I'm just really surprised that, at almost 5, he's still rather ambidextrous. Add that to the list of questions for his future kindergarten teacher.....)
So, it came time to put the heart stickers on the addressed envelopes. He added a sticker or two to each envelope kind of randomly until he happened to pick the biggest heart sticker from the sticker sheet. "Oh," he said, holding the sticker to the side and looking at his writing on all of the envelopes, "Hmmm...this is the biggest heart of all. I should give this one to A." And he scanned the table until he found her name that he had written. He put the sticker on her envelope and said, "There. Because, you know, my best friend should have the best heart."
And I melted.
Today, when I brought him to school, A was standing there holding a big foam heart with heart stickers all over it. On BOTH sides. It had clearly taken some time, and she was only holding one: "Here you go, Evan," she said, "I made this for you."
He promptly yawned and "fell asleep" on my shoulder. (Smooth, huh?) But I thanked A for making such a beautiful heart for my sweet boy. I exchanged a smile with her dad and told Evan how nice it was to have a friend make something so beautiful JUST for you.
As I left the classroom, I felt complete knowing that Evan has a friend. A real friend. A best friend....and most importantly, that the feeling is mutual.