Three young men showed up at our house last night…And it seems like just yesterday that these three, silly boys were knocking on our door to play with M.
M spent all but two years at the same grade school, and our school community friends became our weekend companions too. From sleep-overs to sporting events, M’s friends not only fill our family photo albums, but they also fill our hearts. For years, these boys played hard and laughed hard, but I think it was the summer before M’s freshman year that I started to notice a little separation from the pack. M seemed to be seeking out new friends, which in high school is expected and healthy (most of the time.) But if I asked M about his old friends, I sensed sadness in his voice. They had drifted apart.
So, there stood M, J, and J, “Hi, Mrs. S.”
I quickly wrapped my arms around each of these tall boys, “What brings you by?”
“We wanted to tell you that we were sorry to hear about Winnie,” M explained.
I invited these sweet boys in to look at something I had just found on Facebook – then I added quickly, “Don’t worry – it’s not bad.” (They knew about my Facebook escapades last month.) On the screen, I played a video of M’s soccer team at the military academy in a shootout. We watched as his teammate scored the winning goal; the boys ran onto the field, formed a circle, and jumped up and down cheering.
Even though his back was to the camera, they easily spotted M. Big smiles on their faces turned into the sweet old laughter that used to come from our basement – just a little deeper. It was as if M had just told them something funny, or made a ridiculous face, or impersonated someone. We played it again, and their reaction was just as great.
Smiling wide, one of them added that M had sent him a message this week. It read, “I just scored my first soccer goal since 1st grade.” More laughter erupted, and they were in their own little world together.
As we reminisced a little bit more about the many ways that M makes us laugh, it was obvious that I wasn’t the only one in the kitchen who missed him. That made me smile too…Thank you B, N, and K for raising such nice young men.