When Friends Stop By

My son’s buddy rings the doorbell. My daughter’s friend rides up on her bike. Friends pull in the driveway and come in through the garage.

We always wanted to be a home that others felt comfortable entering, the kind of place other people’s children trust.

When we lived in Copley, this open door policy extended to several families in our neighborhood, but none more than our backyard friends whose sons became so close-knit we merged their names: “Benry.” Our son, Henry, went to visit Benny this last Sunday night, overnight. Ever since, he’s been mourning again the loss of that best friend tucked in his back pocket, the way they used to stand up from the sandbox and tell each other, “See you tomorrow!”

“I had way more friends in Copley than in Ashland,” he lamented last night. Fresh on the heels of his visit, it might feel that way. There isn’t a little boy we’ve found right around the corner just yet, and the season in Copley for Henry was an unusual gift of the kind of friendship that probably won’t ever fade away.

Brandon has friends like that, friends he was literally born across the street from. I have a friend or two like that, women I can call today who knew me as a gangly tomboy not much older than Henry is now. Near or far, we’re able to be ourselves again together, pick up very nearly where we left off.

There’s something powerful, something precious about history built and weathered with a friend. These are the friendships my kids are building now. “Just stop by” friends. “Just thinking of you” friends. “How are you really doing” friends.

Come on in, dear ones.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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