Every girl needs a best friend - Countryside Carer
17 October 2022
17 October 2022
Our Countryside Carer tells us about the importance of friendship.
Friendship is something that, sometimes, is easy to take for granted. The majority have a group (or more, if you’re really lucky) of good friends. Friends you know that will celebrate even the smallest of successes and commiserate with you over the biggest of losses. As a girl, friendships can be complicated. They can be tricky to navigate and can sometimes lead to a tumultuous ride. I’m lucky enough to have a small number of fantastic friends who I know I can pick up the phone to after months of not seeing and if I need them to, they will be there…anywhere…any time…for me. I am hugely grateful for these friendships and as an adult I feel I have honed my ability to recognise a ‘good friend’. As a child however, it can be a different story. Children can be cruel and opinionated and they don’t always read a situation well.
Our sunny, beautiful, gregarious girl (10) hadn’t had the best start when it came to the topic of friendships (which is incredibly difficult to believe looking at her now). When she arrived we were told she spent her social time at school either sat indoors, in a corner, reading or she would follow her brothers around the playground keeping a watchful eye over them, trying to ensure they didn’t cause any trouble. She couldn’t name a friend from school or indeed from any other place. From the very beginning, Sunny 10 was on a quest. A mission. Being the most emotional literate and observant of the three, she understood the concept of ‘normal’. And she craved it, big time. She wanted the 2.4 that made up a bog standard family. One of the main aspects of her hunt for ‘normal’ was friendship. She started her new school ready to invest. Throwing herself into the social groups in her new class and, almost like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, she blossomed. Sunny 10 is a natural friend. She is kind, supportive, generous and thoughtful. She oozes positivity and her beautiful nature creates a waft of happiness when she enters a room. I can imagine that being her friend is just as easy it is to love her. And friends she now has, in abundance. But, there is one friend in particular who has stolen our girls heart. We’ll call her E.
E has taught my girl what friendship looks like
As a family, we have known E for a long time. Our families are friends, her dad was the best man at our wedding and my children called her mum their second mama. Their house is our house and over the years we have seen our children grow and change. E is the middle of three girls. She is bright, considerate and has a soul that is aged beyond her years. Our three young people arrived in the height of COVID lockdowns and we therefore didn’t see E and her family for a really considerable amount of time. When we did all meet up again, our family dynamic had changed and, lots of children would have questioned the arrival of three extra bodies. They might be wary, confused, even sceptical…not E. She didn’t miss a beat. There were no questions or concerns on her part. She never saw Sunny 10 as ‘different’ and she just accepted that our family had expanded. Once the cursory five minutes of dancing around each other was over, the two of them, very quickly, became as thick as thieves. Watching their friendship develop has been one of the most gratifying experiences of fostering. Seeing my Sunny 10 whisper secrets on the trampoline or ‘twin’ her outfit or camp out in a den made by E’s dad watching movies and eating snacks until gone midnight fills my heart with a kind of joy that just can’t be manufactured.
This girl friendship is fierce. Their lives have become entwined and heaven forbid it’s not possible for one of them to spend the day at the other’s house. E has taught my girl what friendship looks like, how it can be navigated and that it requires no interview or background knowledge. I can only hope, that their friendship remains strong and flexible. That as families, we can see them share all those core memory moments which we can look back at and know that they were always there for each other. E really is the Thelma to Sunny 10’s Louise (minus the murder…obviously) and I can only wish that I could capture their friendship and bottle it. Showing all little girls that even when you feel like you can’t smile, a good friend can always make you laugh.
17 October 2022