And every morning, Luke wonders the same thing: "Do you think Sam T. will be my buddy today?"
Sam T. is a five-year old amongst four-year-olds. He is Luke's friend...until he's not.
In September, I began hearing about Sam T - about his might and his will and how much fun it was to play with him at recess. For a long while, I believed that Sam T. was a figment of Luke's imagination, so awed was he by Sam T's ideas and schemes and the way in which he herded his Junior Kindergarten classmates.
|Luke's first day of school, 2011, seeing his classroom for the first time.|
But by November, Luke would sometimes tumble into my arms at day's end, sweaty and dirty in that way of boys and desperately sad that Sam T "wasn't my friend today, Mummy."
Seems that Sam T plays favourites and that on a whim, he'll pick another boy to play with, leaving Luke on the outside, looking in.
"Sam T was mean to me today, Mummy. He said that I couldn't play with him and A. because I'm not wearing an orange shirt."
"Today, Sam T said that I was his best friend in the whole world because I have McQueen shoes."
"I'm gonna wear my McQueen shoes today, Mummy because Sam T likes them and then he'll be my best friend in the whole world."
"Sam T didn't want to be my best friend today, Mummy and he hurt my feelings."
"I don't want to wear the blue hat, Mummy because Sam T says that it's only for babies."
No amount of reasoning has worked, all year long. Since the Fall, I have urged Luke to find a different boy to play with, to ignore Sam T's hurtful words, to tell a teacher when Sam T pushes him on the slide. But Luke has doggedly pursued this friendship for almost nine months now, giddy with happiness on the days when Sam T is his friend, despairing on the days when he's not.
"Buddy is better than friend, Mummy, " Luke reported to me just last week, as we wandered home hand-in-hand.
"Really? How is buddy better?"
"Sam T says that I'm his buddy and A is only his friend - buddy means I'm more special," Luke puffed out his chest, grinning.
"Luke, you're already special, bug. You're special because you're Matthew's brother and my son and Nanny's treasure. You know that, right?"
"I know that I'm special to you, Mummy. You already told me that. But yesterday, I wasn't special to Sam T because A was his buddy and I was only his friend. Today I was his buddy and so that makes me special to him."
"That's stupid, Luke, " Matthew interjected. Before I could reprimand him for using a naughty word, he rushed on, rounding fiercely on his little brother, "What about tomorrow, when Sam T chooses A as his buddy and not you? He's just mean to you and you should make different friends who think you're special every day."
Oh, you marvelous child. For every bickering moment between them, for every shove and "Mummy, he's bugging me!" wail, this is what it all comes down to - loyal, protective brother love.
This morning, as Luke carefully did up his McQueen shoes and I waited, not-so-patiently by the door, he wanted to know this:
"Mummy, can boys marry other boys?"
"Uh, yes. Yes they can."
"Can girls marry girls?"
"Why do boys love boys and girls love girls?"
"The same reasons some girls love boys and some boys love girls. Because God made them that way."
"I wish that God would make Sam T want to love me and be my buddy every day."
"I'll wish that God sends you a friend who loves you every day, regardless, Luke. That's what I wish for."
"Can you ask Him to send me one like Matthew, only one who's 4 and can play in the Kindergarten yard with me?"
Please send Luke a friend like Matthew, who's 4 and can play in the Kindergarten yard with him. Oh, and please send me a box of Kleenex and a bigger heart. The one I have is full to bursting.