Today M and Emma-from-church were best friends for about 3 hours. I've written before about how changing our diets has opened up a world of friendships for M, and today we saw that change at a whole new level.
M has plenty of friends now - our friends' kids, friends from preschool, and neighborhood kids- but today was the first day that M and another child just found each other and started playing together, without an adult orchestrating. He and Emma became BFFNs (best friends for now) in that adorable way that little kids can, based solely on the fact that they were the only two kids at church today (not counting poor L). They've known each other for several months and have interacted plenty of times during Sunday school, but today was different. There was an understanding between them. They'd tell each other before they left to the bathroom or to run downstairs. They'd decide on a game, play for a while, and then choose something different. They found reasons to say each others' names all morning long. I saw M as someone's friend today.
To be honest, this morning M was not at his best. He was reacting on the way to church - overly emotional and uncontrollably licking his arms and face. Weird, I know, the licking. And every kid has his quirks. But when M is just being odd, you can ask him to stop and he will. When he gets fixated on something, like he was licking his arms this morning, it is a huge effort of will for him to stop. So it wasn't just that M was under control today and so he made a new friend. It was that she knew M from before, and when the opportunity arose, his reputation to her was "befriendable."
As M's mom, I have the sometimes-agonizing role of being both his biggest supporter and his most fierce protector. Which is why I see his endearing charms and know that they will undoubtedly win him many, many friends throughout his life. But I'm also keenly aware of the peculiarities that will make him most vulnerable to ridicule. Today, as he was playing with Emma, he didn't need me to smooth over any of his oddities. They were there, and maybe they always will be, but today I guess I finally let his charm speak for itself.