It took 14 years. We really didn’t think it would happen.
Number One Son is downstairs, playing video games with his friend, who slept over last night.
When was the first time you had a friend come over and play? Just swing by, hang out for a few hours? You were, what? Five years old? Maybe you were all of 8 or 9. I think I was 8, honestly, but I could be off by a bit – I don’t remember the 70′s well, for obvious reasons. But Number One Son has never had a friend come over to play with him – ever. Not one. This past Wednesday, he mentioned to SOBUMD that he was going to step outside for a few minutes. “OK,” said she, “just come in before it rains.”
This was unusual in and of itself – he doesn’t going outside much, willingly at least. “Dad, I went outside *last* week – sure, the graphics are amazing, but the gameplay sucks.” So SOBUMD wasn’t surprised when he came back in 3 minutes later. She *was* surprised, though, when she heard more voices. She went to check.
“Hi, I’m Owen,” said the boy we’ll call Owen. “Number One Son has stayed in touch with me over the summer.”
“Nice to meet you!” We’d heard about Owen from school; they were friends. This is the first time Number One Son has ever stayed in touch with anyone. We just didn’t know he lived in our neighborhood. “Do your parents know you’re here, or are they out frantically looking for you?”
“Oh, no, they know exactly where I am – after all, Dad dropped me off.”
Whoa. It turns out, Number One Son had organized this whole thing – he just left out the bit where he told us about it. The boys communicate for hours, it turns out, over their headsets on the servers that they’re logging into for gaming. So, fast forward 2 days, and suddenly we’re hosting a sleepover.
Number One Son and I just drove Owen home, pizza, Coke, and a good time having been had by all. On the way home, I got this question: “So Dad, is this what friendship is like? A loss of interest and enjoyment in the things that you used to enjoy, unless your friend is with you?”
I said yes. The more I thought about it, I told him that that might be one of the best definitions of friendship I’d ever heard. It took him 14 years, but I’m very glad he’s finally found friends who really get him. There’s hope for us all!