Dear Boy Up the Street

Dear Boy Up the Street,

I always hoped we’d find you–that friend who lives close to my boys and becomes an extended part of the family. When we first moved in, there were only old people on our street, and I thought my dream of my boys having this neighborhood buddy was all but squashed. Then you and your family moved in, and it changed everything. You go to my boys’ school, which is all the more fantastic. And, while I can’t say this about all the kids I meet (not by a long shot), you are an absolute delight. You’re respectful and inquisitive and fun and sporty and goofy and an all-around great influence on my boys.

I’ve always known how I felt about having you in our lives but I hadn’t realized until recently just the effect you’ve had on the boys and, in particular, my oldest. The other day, you brought my youngest son’s backpack home to us (after the hundredth time he’d left it at your house). When you walked in, there were only minutes before school was about to begin, so there wasn’t any time for playing. That didn’t keep my oldest from nearly squealing with delight at just the sight of you. It put the squeeze on my heart, as I realized that this is it. This is the stuff real friendships are made of.

I knew right then and there that you’d always be that “boy up the street” but so much more. You’ll be my son’s first neighborhood bestie. You’ll be his first friend that’s more like a brother. You’ll be his first friend who fights with him but makes up with him minutes later, the argument having evaporated into a steady stream of giggles. You’re so good to him, and he is a sensitive soul. To say he has a thin skin is an understatement, as he gets his feelings hurt very easily. You see when he’s moody and, even at seven years old, you know to tread lightly. You take him seriously when he gets angry, even if it is only about a recommendation you made for one of his Minecraft creations. You’re sweet and kind but have enough of those rough and tumble boy qualities to survive in our crazy household. Sometimes we notice your presence and other times you seem to blend in, as if you truly are a member of our family.

I’m not deluded enough to think you’ll always be friends, although it’s certainly a nice thought. You’ll see as you grow up that life happens. People move and, in doing so, they move on. They make new friends and girlfriends and grow up and get married and have families of their own. If there is one thing I’m certain of, it’s that time will march on with a surprising swiftness that, when noticed, will take your breath away. I hope you’ll savor these times with my son as much as I know he does. And no matter what happens, I hope you know you’ll always be so much more to us than just the boy up the street.

Love,

Marnie

Rystyn

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