This year, Sam made an actual friend who actually wasn’t related to him. I think. I wasn't 100% sure because he kept asking things like, “how do you know if someone is your friend or not? If they run away from you are they your friend?”
Umm . . . maybe?
So it seemed like maybe the relationship didn't have the real solid foundation you hope to build best-friendships on.
Sam did bring home pieces of paper with a phone number and say that is was Mason’s and we were supposed to call him to set up a play date but I never did. Who knows how he got that number? Who even knows if it is a real number? And what if Sam misunderstood the situation and he was just supposed to call to give him homework answers or something? Anyway, who needs friends? We have family!
It's possible that I'm passing a fear of rejection on to Sam. We'll see.
But then one day, Mason called us! OMG! It was very exciting. Sam couldn’t even talk on the phone. So Mason and I chatted for a few minutes and set up a time. "I just made a date with a 7-year-old!" I shouted to Chris.
Sam went over to Mason’s house and great fun was had by all.
A few weeks later, it occurs to me, “oh, crap, we’re supposed to invite him over here now.” So I say to Sam, “Sam, would you like to invite Mason over this Friday?” And he looks at me like I’m a little bit crazy and asks, in that slow, suspicious, way of his, with squinty eyes and a tilted head, “Whhhhhy?”
“Well, because he is your friend and that’s what you do.”
“Well, how would you even call him?”
“I have his number, Sam. You gave it to me. See, it’s right here in my phone – ‘Mason.’”
“Well, I just think that might be a little . . . weird.”
“Why? You’ve played with him before and seemed to have a good time.”
“Mom? Are you trying to talk me into having him over?”
Okay, now this kid is making me feel like a helicopter parent. I don’t really know what is happening in this conversation, or why Sam is so hesitant, but I’m just going to let it go for now.
A week or so later, I bring it up again. “Hey, Sam, would you like to schedule a time to get together with Mason?
"I still don't really know how I feel about that, Mom."
"Well, did you have a good time when you played with him before."
"I mean, I guess, it's just that I don't really know how I feel about having him over to my house."
"It'll be a lot like ALL THE OTHER times you've played with him."
“Mom, I guess I just don’t understand why you want me to have Mason over.”
Golly, this kid is socially inept. He makes ONE pretty good friend and now he’s all skittish and weird about having him over to our house. And the worst thing is that he literally doesn’t seem to GET why he should even WANT Mason to come over here. Like this most basic reciprocal relationship is escaping him. He goes over to this kids house, and now it's like he honestly doesn't understand why I think he should invite him over.
“Sam, it’s just that you went over to his house, and if you don’t invite him over to your house, it’s basically like saying you don’t want to be his friend anymore. And it’s okay if you want to say that, but you just need to understand that that is what you are saying.”
“When would I go over to his house?”
“Sam, you already went over to his house, it’s your turn to have him here.”
“Well . . . I just . . . I mean . . . I remember when we were at Fairfax and Mason’s mom said there was a kindergarten get together . . .”
Yeah, I remember that too. Kind of irrelevant to this conversation, but, yeah, we were at Fairfax and this lady came up and she said she was Mason’s mom and I was like, weird, I’ve met Mason’s mom, and you are not her and . . .
“Sam? Your friend from school? His name is not Mason, is it?”
“No. It is Marcus.”
"Is there a Mason at school?"
"But he is not your friend?"
"Not really, Mom"
Now go back and read those conversations with Sam with the new understanding that Sam is the normal one and I am socially inept.