We moved to Montana in January. Fourteen hours from our nearest family or friend. January. February. March. April. Winter is long in Montana. Potential friends hide inside unaware of your presence when there is snow on the ground.
In May we started regular trips to the playground. When snow was on the ground, desperate for an outing, we’d visited, but no one joined us. Spring meant light jackets and more kids. Bird could see a family had already arrived. She propelled her 3 year-old feet forward so fast I was sure she would fall face first. Her grin matched the width of the Montana sky and she laughed as she ran.
For five minutes our time with that other family overlapped. And Bird was instantly smitten, sure she found her new BFF. And then the mother apologized, but they had to go.
Bird looked at her new BFF. She reached out to hug her. And that BFF? Well, she wasn’t the hugging type. Despite prodding from her mom, the new BFF only hid behind her mother’s legs. And Bird, stood strong. For 5 seconds. Then began to wail. The other mom, horrified, apologized and shrugged at the same time. They just met, she thought, that girl is out of control. The loud, embarrassing wailing eventually led to a to a command to get into the stroller for the long 3 block walk home. Playground time would only be 5 minutes that day. But the wailing walk? 10 minutes.
Over and over that spring, Bird made instant friends, wanted hugs good bye and broke into loud sobs if the new friend would not comply. Her love was instant and deep. She hadn’t yet learned to hold back some of herself to protect her heart. Perhaps we should all love that way?