The list of childhood friends your kids make while growing up can be long, though there usually are only a couple that make the list of mom-favorites. You know…those kids who you end up loving like your own? Tristan was one of those kids to me.
My son became friends with Tristan at age 7, and how lucky were we that they lived right around the corner from us. The boys began to spend a lot of time together. I remember the back and forth trips they would make. Their house for a while, our house for a while… with the inevitable sleepover looming. Sometimes two in a row. After that, well, okay boys… 48 hours together is plenty. Let’s separate a bit, eh? The boys went to school together for a while, played soccer together for a while, trick-or-treated together – and over the years they developed a solid friendship.
As kids go about their teen years, sometimes those ‘old’ friends aren’t around as much. Kids tend to find themselves going down different paths, making new friends, etc. But my son and Tristan, still living right around the corner, would manage to spend time together, even though they went to different high schools, played on different soccer teams, and began to hang out with different people. Though they certainly did not see each other nearly as often as they once did, it was one of those friendships that could just pick up right where they left off. As they entered their later high school years, they saw each other seldom. Occasionally, when our son let us know he was going out, we expected to hear the usual names of friends he hangs out with, but once in a while, we’d hear it was Tristan he was seeing, always bringing a smile to our faces as we were glad they still saw each other once in a while.
Did I really know Tristan? From a mother’s perspective, I knew what I needed to – he was a good, respectable, polite, well-behaved kid. And he made my son happy. Isn’t that all a mother needs to know? No matter how I said hi to him – ‘Hi Tristan’ or ‘Hey Tristan, long time no see’, or my futile attempt at trying to be cool – ‘Yo. Tristan. What’s up?’ – I would always get the same salutation… ‘Hul-lo.’ Soft spoken, but always an emphasis on that first syllable. And then a smile. That smile and ‘hello’ were always in a tone of a child doing his best to speak to an adult, but yet comfortable enough to carry on a bit of a conversation. He was a good kid, and I can still hear him saying ‘hello’ to me.
As a mother, I am saddened at the loss of my son’s friend around the corner, but I am comforted by the enrichment and stability he brought to my son’s childhood. He will be greatly missed by our family…