This week we hosted a reunion of our family and former neighbors.
Our fourteen-year-old grandson, David, met two neighborhood children when they were all two-years-old. We were his full-time caregivers while his mom, our daughter, worked. David was at our home every weekday and grew up with the kids in our neighborhood. As time passed, changes were inevitable. Jill’s family moved to Washington DC and Bobby’s moved to a different part of Tucson. We kept in touch sporadically during the years as the kids grew. Our grandson was, for a while, in the same school as Bobby, when he lived across the street. But by the age of seven, they were all separated with Jill being the farthest.
The boys get together several times a month and remain close friends. Our daughter took David to Washington DC one summer to visit Jill and her family. Another summer, they met halfway in Chicago. Jill’s family visited Tucson once and all three kids got together.
This year they made the trip to Tucson for a short visit. We hosted the reunion at our house. All the adults wondered how the teens would react to each other after a four-year separation. By noon the boys sat by the window watching for Jill’s arrival. It was an amazing greeting. All three kids moved right into the space of their friendship as if only a day or two had passed. They chatted non-stop. In the afternoon they took a two-hour walk while we, grownups, were fixing dinner. They bought sweet rolls for our dessert.
After dinner, the kids went into the room that we keep for David’s occasional overnights; the room that once housed his toys and where he napped as a baby. On his walls are photo posters that I made each year from when he was two until seven. All three kids are in those posters. They stayed in the room reminiscing over their pictures, laughing and talking for quite a while. I know those memories meant something to them.
Greater than any wrapped present, purchased or made, is the gift of friendship. We know these three will maintain their relationship as they become adults. Each is on the brink of adulthood now, each has their own interests, their unique set of talents, their own friends at schools but they will always remember the closeness that came of their time as children. Another reunion, possibly in California, is being planned for summer. David has no siblings, Bobby has no siblings, and Jill has a sister seven years younger. The relationship the three teens created is very like brothers and sister – family.