I arrived to collect Clara from preschool yesterday afternoon, a gorgeous, warm, sunny fall afternoon, to find that the 3s and 4s were out in the playground together. Children swarmed the climbing frame and swings. Alone in the sandbox: Clara and Henry, both of whom popped to their feet like watchful meerkats when I waved.
It's been a month since they have last seen each other (after the summer idyll of 3s and 4s sharing a classroom), but the time apart has done nothing to diminish their friendship. I find this remarkable. They are SO little, and a month feels very long. So great was Clara and my good fortune yesterday that Henry's mother arrived shortly after I did. And so we adults could trade contact information and stories of how much our respective offspring talk about their much-missed friend.
Apparently Henry has been pushing for a playdate for weeks and spends large portions of his free time re-arranging his action figures into ranks according to whom he thinks Clara would most like to play with when she comes over.
Affection is so rarely requited, and children (like cats) have no qualms about falling in and out with their friends. So this leaves me quite floored. Clara and Henry, Henry and Clara, patiently waiting for a random Thursday to renew their friendship. When we parted, the two children hugged each other and then stood in that hug for long enough that I started to get embarrassed by the ardor of it. Then they solemnly held hands as we mothers, increasingly distracted by our children's neediness about being together, ushered them to the parking lot.