To be reminded of who you are

Old, dear friends can surprise you in the most unexpected and heart-warming ways.

You could have been out of touch for decades and not known much at all about the million small and big events that have swept up in their lives and yet, when you sit down with them, with faces (your own and theirs), enriched by the often difficult, challenging and at times gut-wrenching choices they and you have made, you can return, in an instant, to the closeness you had long-lost.

And what can make you gladder still is when such old friends can effortlessly reach out and establish an easy and deep affection with your young child — not because they want to please you or be polite, but because loving children is to them, as it is to you, one of the most natural things in the world and their wonder at the miracle of the birth and existence of a young person can remind you of your own, now often forgotten wonder — submerged as you often are in the necessary although uninspiring humdrum of the everyday.

In the past few months, I have had the wonderful chance to have had two such old friends of mine pass by our home. And although neither is much like the other, what both do have in common is an unwavering respect of young children, the ability to effortlessly fit in to a home centred around the child’s needs, and an unbridled enthusiasm in celebrating play, spiritedness and mischief.

Thank you, both!