Making friends

I was in a fast food restaurant one day – one of the locations with the big glassed-in playgrounds. The place was packed. There were kids practically vibrating out of the booths, each one hopped up on chicken nuggets and Sprite, raring to get a chance to scale the giant hamster trail. As I was sitting there reading my book, I overheard the most interesting conversation between two little girls who had apparently never met before. It went something like this:

Girl One: “I have pink kitty socks too!”

She verified her claim by thrusting her leg out and yanking up the ankle of her jeans. Sure enough, she wore pink Hello Kitty socks with a little ruffle. Very cute. I was a bit jealous. But unlike me, Girl Two wasn’t blinded by the short-term. She recognized a kindred spirit when she saw one, and like the future business mogul she is destined to be, struck a long-term deal.

Girl Two: “We can be friends! Wanna play?”

And just like that, off they went.

I watched as the women undoubtedly responsible for the Hello Kitty effect exchanged a shy, awkward smile, but that was that. Which made me kind of sad. Those two young mothers probably had a world in common, but they would never know it.

Somewhere along the line (and I’m going to pinpoint Jr. High, but that might just be my old wounds festering), we lose the ability to put ourselves out there. We learn the concept of risk but never learn the true value of reward because we’re busy guarding against getting our feelings hurt. And as we get older, we become more and more cautious about those people we call friends.

Now, I realize there’s a good chance that those two little girls walked away from the play place, never to see each other again. But there’s a chance they might. They could grow to be lifelong friends. All because one little girl had the courage to stick her foot out.

Hi. My name is Margaret, and I have Snoopy socks. Want to be friends?