Maybe one of the most rewarding aspects of being a mother of four kids who span a decade is that I have always had the opportunity to know and love the friends of my kids. I am a Jewish mother that has enough mother in her for a hundred kids; many kids could use a second or third mother looking out for them. These kids like that I love to love them and when they are headed for trouble, I am not afraid to tell them yet am also willing to bail them out. It’s a safety net that I feel honored to provide.
Watching the kids grow up and become more of themselves is a privilege and builds distinct friendships that are connected to but also separate from my kids’ friendships with them. Although I don’t hang out with them, our parties become more and more inter-generational and I can usually find someone to help lift boxes or figure out the latest app.
Most of all, I treasure the open-heartedness and courage that pours out of my young friends. Kids are not guarded around people who love them. They want to be witnessed and felt. They are experimenting with how they speak, look and think; it is refreshing to be around those who aren’t afraid to tell the real story.
Even more, when I hang out with these kids I get to take part in their sleepover discussions. They also teach me the new handshakes and new lingo. I am in the current of life and I marvel at how natural it is to slide and pound it with the boys coming off the court. What a huge gift to be welcomed and loved by kids; it is both a gate to full presence and a connection that is vital to the future.
Douglas MacArthur once wrote, “People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self -confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young. …” It is easier to stay young with the young. Cookie baking at midnight, Friday night sleepovers. Feeling younger already.