by mom blogger, Deanna Cogdon Miller
“Mom, some of the girls were teasing me today because I’m friends with Patrick.”
As she stared at me intently and waited for my response, it took all of my willpower to not roll my eyes or show any emotion on my face.
The truth is that I remember this stage. Coincidentally it was Grade Three for me too. There was a boy in my class who I really liked spending time with and I know that I wasn’t always nice to him because I felt pressure from the other girls in my grade.
In my daughter’s case, Patrick’s name has come up fairly often in our house over the last little while. The stories have generally been about something funny that happened at school and he seems to be great at making the kids laugh. A few weeks ago, they exchanged contact information so that they could iMessage each other and work on an extra-curricular project together. Their teacher lets the kids read books and then summarize the books and present to the class. Both Patrick and our daughter seem to love reading and writing and so they picked a book and came up with a plan. Unfortunately when they tried to sit and work on it together at recess they did get teased a little and in the end, they decided not to do the project together.
The good news is that they continued to message each other and I watched a nice little friendship start to form. One weekend afternoon he messaged her to say he was going biking and she said she was going outside to shoot hoops if he wanted to come and play. Minutes later he showed up and for the next three hours I think I had the most drama-free play time we may have ever had at our house. They played basketball, they played board games, they watched a show and ate popcorn, they silly danced down the hall and she even played her guitar while he sang. He was totally inclusive of our youngest and he looked me straight in the eye when he was telling me stories and jokes. It was easy and fun and an afternoon filled with laughs for all of us.
I think it was that same night that he messaged and asked what she was doing. She told him she was using my computer to write a story in her room. He thought it was a great idea and decided to do the same. The two of them spent the next hour writing and sending paragraphs of their stories back and forth to each other – complimenting and giving each other positive feedback as they wrote.
As I opened my mouth to respond to her statement, all of these positives about their friendship filled my brain. “Do you like talking to Patrick and hanging out with him?” “Yes Mom. He’s fun and the other day when I was sad about something at school he was the one who came and sat with me and made me feel better.” “Well honey that sounds like a good friend and as hard as it can be, I don’t think you should worry about what other people say. Friends who are boys have played a huge role in my life and because they are different kinds of friendships, they are amazing to have when you need a break from the girls. That’s not a bad thing – everyone needs a break sometimes.”
She looked at me with wide eyes. “Mom, what do I say if people tease me?”
“You know what I’d say kiddo? I’d say that you like to have all kinds of friends. You have friends who are older than you, you have friends who are younger than you, you have friends at other schools, you have friends who come from different ethnic backgrounds and you have friends who are girls and friends who are boys. It’s that simple.”
She smiled. We hugged. Case closed…for now.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller