Empty Bobbins: A friend with no name

Empty bobbins are moments in life where we pause and reflect.  It’s like when your bobbin runs out in the middle of a project, and you have to pause everything you’re doing to reload.  Here’s one such reflective moment.  This is a moment from a couple of weeks ago when my son went to soccer camp.

So my son, five, played one season of soccer a couple of years ago he liked it but seemed distracted.  Most of the time he just ran around the back part of the group and blended in with the herd.  After that we didn’t hear about soccer again until this past school year.  Well during the week there was just too much going on, so we agreed that a week soccer camp, blessedly at an indoor facility, would be a good start to get back into the game.

Well he loved it.  He was tired, sweaty, and pleased as punch.  I was happy to see he was running and keeping up with the other kids.  As he walked back to the car with me, he was telling me about his friend whom he’d pointed out earlier.  I asked, “What was her name?”  He thought, shrugged, and casually said, “I don’t know.” And then he went on telling me the games they played in camp and such.  I laughed at the fact that he didn’t even know the name of his so-called “friend”.

Well a couple of days later, as we were walking back to the car again, he pointed at a couple of little boys and said, “those are my friends, too!”  They rolled down the window and waved to him.  Once more I asked, “Well, what are their names?”  He looked off and muttered, “I don’t know.”  It didn’t even phase him.

My first impulse was to laugh, but I stopped short because his face was serious as his thoughts were elsewhere.  And here I realized the biggest difference between myself and my little boy’s outlook – and as a result the outlooks of children versus adults.  He didn’t need to know their names to determine they were friends.

As adults, we often ask all about a person to determine how good of a friend that person will be.  We need to know how much we have in common, make connections, and be able to see part of ourselves in that person in order to bond.  But for my son and his friends, they didn’t need to know all that.  They only needed to know that this person wanted to be a friend.  So much so that they forgot to ask about the most basic information – a name.  That simple bond made me smile and consider how we, as adults, would be better off if we could remember that same rule.

What if the fact that we wanted to be friends was enough of a basis for a friendship?

Makes you wonder.

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Related Blogs and Posts:

Autism in Our Nest: Another Successful Season!

How (Not) to Coach Little Kids Soccer

Mushy Post About Friendship

Empty Bobbins: Mr. S’s Love

Empty bobbins are moments in life where we pause and reflect.  It’s like when your bobbin runs out in the middle of a project, and you have to pause everything you’re doing to reload.  Here’s one such reflective moment.

Mr. S’s Love

Years ago, my kids and I were walking around the curve in our previous neighborhood, which is mostly retired people, when I waved to two older gentlemen talking in a front yard.  Their conversation ended as we passed, and one man, now referred to as Mr. S, walked over to say hello to us.  We all said hello, and I pointed to our house.  He said he remembered when we moved in that we didn’t have kids.  I made a comment about no adult supervision, and then he asked if the kids liked candy.

Was it mean that I immediately thought he was going to offer us a Werther’s Original hard candy? 

I mentioned we had enough Easter candy, but he seemed eager, so I finally capitulated and accepted his offer of some mints and chocolate covered raisins.  And I do love some chocolate covered raisins.  He invited us up to the house.

I’d noticed his house before.  It was newer and looked very nice and quaint from the outside.  It was certainly in a different league from my 1978 doodoo brown ranch house.  He opened a side door into the kitchen, and we walked in.  (I’ll add I wasn’t too worried about safety as Mr. S lived alone and was 86 years old.  Pretty sure I could take him if need be.)  Here’s where the moment became more than just candy and mints.

You see, Mr. S was a widower, a fact he shared with me as we entered the house.  He said his wife had passed away about six years ago, and they had been married for 56 years.  He said, “When you’ve been married for that long, you kinda get used to one another.”  I know our younger family reminds our older neighbors of that period in their lives sometimes, so I smiled and figured that seeing me with my 3 year old and 1 year old reminded him of his own family.  But later he informed me they had no children.

And then, he proceeded to show off the house.  He said his wife had had it built, and that she had passed not long after it was finished.  He commented, “She built me a house and then left me” more than once.  He mentioned her constantly, too.  At times, it even sounded like he was fussing at her for leaving him, but in a good-natured way.

I’ll admit it – the house was perfect.  It was just what I would have designed for myself: wainscoting, high ceilings, large kitchen, sun porch, butler’s pantry – elegant but not pretentious.  He showed us all around the bottom floor, and I couldn’t quite figure out why.  I mean, yes, the house was gorgeous, but we’d come over for candy and mints.  I hadn’t commented on the house much at all.  Certainly not enough to warrant a tour.

As we walked, I saw pictures of his wife were everywhere.  There were pictures of her when she was younger at the early part of their marriage all the way to gray haired dame.  And yet, she still didn’t look “old” at the most recent picture I saw.  The house looked very sophisticated and decorated, and I figured it hadn’t changed much since she’d gotten it set the way she wanted.  And then it hit me as to why we were getting a tour.

Mr. S was proud of his wife.  He was bragging on her, even six years after she’d died he was still beaming with pride.  Every detail of the house was attributed her good taste and ability.  I’d never met Mrs. S, but her presence was everywhere in that home.  If I had walked in without Mr. S there to narrate, I’d have assumed she was still very much alive.  The house just felt…complete.  It didn’t feel like an 86 year old widower lived there.  That house was just as much Mrs. S’s today as it was 6 years ago when it was finished in time for her to pass on.

I suppose it’s a good thing that Mr. and Mrs. S had gotten used to each other after all that time because it’s clear she isn’t leaving him any time soon.

Of course, this was several years ago.  I have since learned of Mr. S’s own passing.  And while it was sad to know that such a kindly old man wouldn’t be waving at us from his yard anymore or offering mints and chocolate covered raisins, I couldn’t help but smile a little because I knew he was finally back with Mrs. S.