Elly is "our" baby, but I need to remember that she is not "a" baby. That is a really tough one for me. To me she is an infant, the reality is that she just turned 4. I tend to baby her, because she is my last baby and I don't want her to grown up too fast (o.k. not at all). This fact that she is indeed a "little" girl and not a baby became very tenderly clear to me today.
As I am writing this my house is full of the giggles of little girls, it is a beautiful sound. I honestly don't know if there is anything that lifts my heart more than little girl giggles. Girls are social little creatures it seems almost as soon as they have any self awareness. Giggling seems to just be part of being a girl, it seems almost like a form of communication.
The big kids all have friends over, and go to their friend's houses. Poor little Elly is a little lost with no one. But I've always thought that she was to little to have a friend over. A few weeks ago we went over to toboggan at a friend of our's house. This family has three children, the oldest just happening to be Gracie's best friend, then there's a little boy who is 9, and the youngest is just turning 3. The kids all had a great time, especially Elly. All Elly could talk about was her "friend" Isabella. "When can I play with Isabella again" was the common mantra at our house. Finally this week I told her that she could take a day off school and invite Isabella over for a play date. She was over the moon with excitement! She was having a friend over, her very own friend over. All week we counted down the sleeps until her visit with Isabella.
Today was that big day! All day they have played together all day. Every few minutes they would have to stop for a hug break. It was really neat to quietly listen to Elly. She was playing the role of "friend", not little sister, not baby. I smiled to hear her call Isabella "honey". I heard her suggesting things that they could do, she was in charge, she was a host. Normally it's the big girls telling Elly what role she will be, what she needs to say, but this time it was Elly who was in charge. It was listening to her interactions that I realized that she is no longer a little baby, but on her way to being a big girl. She learning the important art of friendship, an art that she will need to carry her through her life.
As females friendship is almost as important as breathing. Without friends you feel lost, like there is that illusive missing piece in your life. I love my husband more than words can say, and I truly consider him to be my best friend....but.... I still need my girlfriends. I need to complain about him. I need to worry about my kids. I need that girlfriend to pat me on the back, tell my my husband's being a jerk (even if it's really me who is the jerk), that my kid's are going to be alright, and later on I need that friend to plan a mission to go break the legs of that boy or girl who has broken one of my babies hearts. The need to giggle with girlfriends does not vanish with maturity, if anything I feel like I might need it even more.
Yesterday afternoon I sat and had coffee with my friend Jane. Jane and I are really good friends, but we put our families first, we put ourselves last and we forget to make the time for each other (classic Mother mistake). We sat together, enjoying a laugh, complaining, gossiping, enjoying each other. As we were about to leave, Jane leaned forward "That's it!" she said emphatically, "We're making time for each other. This was too long coming". My response "agreed". I left the coffee shop feeling lighter, more content.
So here is what I have learned ... My baby is not really a baby, no matter how much I may want her to be. I learned that forming friendships is important right from the beginning. If you learn to make friends, you will have an easier life, a more beautiful life. As I sat and enjoyed a coffee with Isabella's Mommy at the end of the play date, I remembered what I already realized yesterday, friendships are important, even for grown ups.