The envelope is addressed to my son and reads, “Once a friend, always one.” And inside is a folded note, beginning with a quote from the king of pop, “You’re the person I believe in – Michael Jackson.” And the girl goes on to write to my son that it’s nice to have such a good friend, he’s a great BFF, and she hopes he’ll never change.
So much runs through my mind as I hold this note. Starting with, I still can’t believe these kids can write. It seems like yesterday I was teaching him to scribble his name. It was like a magic trick on top of a magic trick – I made a child and taught him to spell. I was in total awe.
And this isn’t just a note you pass in class – this is a hallmark card. A thoughtful message decorated with colored hearts, and words like “friends,” “thanks” and “preschool,” which touches me that she’s nostalgic about where they first met.
This girl has a good mom. Probably the kind who has monogrammed stationery and corresponds with her college friends through the mail. Who hand-crafts Valentines cards, rents G-rated friendship movies, and ends each night with wise words from musical idols: “Music can change the world because it can change people – Bono.”
I ask him what he thinks of the note. And he just shrugs, “I don’t know, nice, I guess.”
Typical guy. You put your crayon-colored heart out there and they don’t even appreciate it. Doesn’t BFF mean anything anymore? I explain to him that she values this friendship, that she trusts him, and he must be very careful with her feelings.
I gotta talk to this mother. I’m dying to know her secret to instilling such sweet emotion in her child. But she has no idea where the quotes came from, and says she hopes my son doesn’t think her daughter’s crazy.
Totally get that. Sometimes putting it out there sends the message that you’re a nut or a stalker. But since this is second grade, and nuts to them are just a snack, this will be a teachable moment for my son that he should appreciate this sort of gratitude and friendship and extend the same sort of kindness.
So that when he’s a young man and gets a note like this from a girl, he’s flattered and not terrified. He sees it as a nice thing, not a crazy thing. That it’s wonderful to be told what a good friend you are, and you can never have too many people believe in you.
He agrees that she is special, and says he’s glad that she’s his friend. And that maybe he’ll write her something back. I suggest he start with “I get by with a little help from my friends - The Beatles.”
But something tells me … he’s got this.