What traits do you look for in a friend? Companionship, a feeling of ease, comfort, support, encouragement, shared laughter, and common interests. While everyone’s list might be different, we all know friends are priceless. That’s why saying goodbye to friends hurts.
Two years ago, the BS family moved into our neighborhood. They moved to our part of New Jersey from Israel as the mother, TBS was getting a degree to further her career. It was always the family’s plan to move back to Israel when the two years had passed.
The family of six includes, twin boys, who are SJ’s age. You might be expecting to hear they became fast friends. After all, how hard is it for 7-year old boys to find things in common? You like Lego, I like Lego – FFL. But it wasn’t that simple.
After all, there was a language barrier. The first time the B.S. family joined us for Sabbath lunch, the twins insisted that their parents bring an English-Hebrew dictionary. The boys drifted to the playroom as the meal went on. Every once in a while, one of the twins would come upstairs and ask for the dictionary or their parents to translate. Once satisfied, they have the word they were searching for, they’d scramble downstairs. I’d hear SJ’s voice, “Oh, you want to play with a sword. Sure.”
Hmm, maybe it is that simple.
And from there the friendship grew.
The simplest way I could get SJ to come to synagogue with me on Friday night was to remind him that YBS and NBS might be there. SJ would throw some toys in a bag that he thought the boys would enjoy playing and off we’d go. As soon as the BS family would come into synagogue, SJ would gather his stuff and say goodbye. They boys were off. If for some reason, the twins did not come on Friday night, SJ would sigh and walk home disappointed. It was a mutual feeling. On those occasions that SJ didn’t come with me, YBS or NBS ask, “Where’s SJ?” When I told them them wasn’t with me, they’d walked away disappointed.
During this past school year, SJ and YBS had the same class. Their level of friendship took off. When I would picked up SJ from school and ask him, “How did you have fun and get brilliant?”, his description of fun often included playing with YBS. On those days, all the boys were in aftercare, SJ would talk about playing with the BS’s.
There also were the sleepovers. The boys had a bunch of them this past year. SJ could not wait for the first time he had the BS twins come over. SJ made plans for how the evening would go. They’d play their favorite games, Harry Potter, Super Smash Brothers, and sword fighting. I have no idea if any of those plans came to fruition. I’m not sure if it mattered. Good friends are happy to be with each other and find things to do without a plan. And these friends could spend hours together to the point where we, the parents would wonder, “What are they doing anyway?”
Nearly two weeks ago the BS family moved back to Israel. SJ knew the day was coming and spent as much time with the BS twins as he could before they left. The last sleepover (the picture above is from the morning after) which was just a couple of days before the family departed, was bittersweet for SJ. When the boys left, SJ was in the dumps. There were tears.
The night before departure day, we took a walk over to the BS house. The boys (along with the twins little brother) were running through the sprinkler, squealing in delight. With the sprinklers off, the boys disappeared into the backyard. As I finally collected SJ, he and the boys were in the middle of some game involving Harry Potter as I heard words like apparate, Hogwarts, and Dumbledore.
The twins waved goodbye to SJ, and said, “Have a good life.”
A good life includes good friends, like the BS twins. May SJ have many more good friends and find a way to keep the BS twins as part of his crew.
P.S. We, the parents, became friends as well. I miss my friends too!