When Your Child’s Favorite Friend is an Adult- A Letter to our Nennie
Dear Nennie, our “favorite friend”,
Last month, we pulled into our driveway to a new change in your front yard: a For Sale sign.
I knew it was coming. From the moment we moved into our home, and you greeted us with a plate of your famous homemade chocolate chip cookies, you told us that your home was a starter home, that eventually you would move. But as the years passed, and our friendship grew, I secretly hoped that day would never come.
And then we had Imp. And you became her baker-bud, her best-grown-up-friend, her confidant, her “Nennie.” More than that, she has declared that you are her “favorite, favorite friend”. You see, I’ve never made my children a birthday cake- ever. Not because I couldn’t, but because she had you, in all your beautiful Nennie-Cake baking glory. And as she will tell anyone, no one’s cakes are as good as Nennie’s, not even mom.
But you’re more than that to our girl.
You are the first person she asks to come to her soccer games, her preschool graduation. When O was born, it was YOU she stayed with. You aren’t just our neighbor, or my friend- you are my girl’s other mom. So much so that when you told your niece that you’re moving closer to her, her response was “You are going to have a sad Lyla.”
And I don’t know what we will do without you across the street from us.
She took it better than I thought. Processing with her 5-year-old brain, she had a couple of questions, and continued to run in circles, chasing and yelling after her now-two year old brother. She could come visit you, you promised. But it wasn’t Imp who began crying. It was me. I sat there, watching, folding laundry, and I couldn’t stop the tears from pouring out of my eyes. You’re not even moving out-of-state! But my mom-friend, my neighbor, and my girl’s other mom, her favorite friend was moving, and our little cul-de-sac will never be the same.
There is something so valuable in childhood, for a kid to have an adult-friend.
Studies celebrate the correlation between early child development & early childhood stability when children have healthy adult relationships. You see, your friendship with Imp goes far beyond your friendship with me, or baking cookies. You’ve helped her develop into the incredible human being she is, and still has yet to grown up to become.
So Thank You
Thank you for your love, the dozens of cookies, the birthday cakes, the sleep overs, your time. Thank you for making her feel treasured and loved. Thanks for being her safe place. You are off to new places and exciting things, building up the home of your dreams, and we are so so happy for you and B. I know that we will stay in touch, and see you often, even if it won’t be quite the same.
But we will miss you.