21 Things Moms Know About Childhood Friendships

Recently, my daughter and her best friend slowly backed out of the room while looking at me like I was insane, but I SWEAR it wasn’t my fault: It was theirs. I can’t remember exactly what my 8-year-old said, but it made me realize they have been friends for half their lives. They were being weirdos, yapping non-stop and cracking each other up as usual in my kitchen while I fruitlessly shushed them, then suddenly I was seeing them as preschoolers on the playground, forced within proximity solely because their older siblings were in class together. They got along just fine back then, but were so different. I had no idea who they’d become together over time.

Both are funny, stubborn, silly girls, and they forged a friendship that is the kind I can see lasting a long time. They could spend every waking moment together, but still give each other their space. I remember when my daughter asked if she could buy a “best friends” split-heart necklace for a new friend of hers, so I posed the question of whether that was a good idea. She calmly told me that she had already asked her curly-haired BFF if she was okay with her giving a necklace to someone else, and she said, “Yeah, it’s fine. I know who your real best friend is.” And that wise little girl was right.

Sure, those two have made messes in my home that hurt my brain to see, but they’ve also made me laugh my face off. Of course they’ve had fights that terrify me despite being twice their size, but they’ve also shown me how good they are for each other more times than I can count.

And so I looked at them with a swelling heart and teary eye that day, thinking about all the things I know about childhood friendship—the sweet and funny and crazy—hoping theirs lasts as long as I think it can (which freaked them out). Things like:

1. You never know what common ground can spark one.

2. There is a good possibility that common ground was a funny story about boogers.

3. They will teach your kids new fart jokes.

4. They either start so slowly the kids don’t realize they are besties until you point it out, or so quickly that the first time you hear the other kid’s name it’s when your daughter is referring to her as her BFF.

5. They will teach your kids new dangerous stunts.

6. You will witness your kids and their friends laughing so hard at times that they start speaking jibberish while crying. This madness is the best thing, ever.

7. They will teach your kids new ways to drive you crazy.

8. The closer they are, the dirtier they fight.

9. But if one of them has an enemy? THEY BOTH HAVE AN ENEMY.

10. They will teach your kids about trust.

11. Much of their conversation is inside jokes and knowing looks.

12. They will teach your kids about forgiveness.

13. If those friends are at your house enough, you can cut to the chase and just talk to those kids like you do your own. Sure, that’s double the eye-rolling behind your back, but at least they all know the honest ramifications if they paint on your walls again.

14. They will teach your kids about acceptance.

15. They can be very loud. SO VERY LOUD.

16. They can be very quiet. (You might want to go check in on that.)

17. They will make themselves at home in your home. This comfort level gets you a bit more emotional than you let on.

18. These friends are more effective at getting your kids to try new foods, sports, and books than you could ever be.

19. You’re far too appreciative of this fact to be as annoyed about it as you want to be about it.

20. When your kid is having a rough day, you know the only thing that can fix it is picking up his BFF to let them be their silly selves together.

21. They reassure you that there is, in fact, someone out there that’s the same brand of weird as your kid (which is pretty awesome).

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Graphic: Kim Bongiorno


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