The other day, Parker asked me if he could marry his friend Addie. We talked about how that is a grown-up decision and, since he is only six years old, he has lots and lots of time to make that decision. He asked what it meant to be married and so began a beautiful discussion.
First, marriage means that you are in love with someone very special. That you look forward to being around them, and miss them when they are away. They should be someone who you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with because they make you feel safe and loved. And when you love someone, you should do the same for them. When they talk, you listen, support, and say helpful and kind things in return.
Right now, Parker and Addie are those things to each other. During play dates they talk about their feelings and do their best to work through problems. Parker gets really upset when it is time to leave and often cries or shouts in exasperation (even when I give him plenty of warning time). The other day, Addie explained that when he does that it makes her feel upset, uneasy, and sad. Which, of course, made Parker sad to think that he makes her sad. They both sat for a minute trying to figure out if they should burst into tears or continue playing Scrabble Jr. Thankfully, they finished playing, and for the first time ever, their goodbye was joyful instead of upsetting.
The thing about Parker is that he has always been an old soul. So, for me, watching him grow, ask questions, and work through problems side by side with a similar minded friend is one of my greatest joys. They are lucky to have each other, even if they never get married, I hope they are friends for life.