Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Being Bro-Active

My son, who just turned 3 years old, has himself a buddy. A best friend. Watching them together, I realized that I could learn a few things from their relationship.

Theirs is a friendship that started from the moment they met. Lukas was only 8 months old the day we first took him to visit his daycare. Mrs. LIAYF and I were much like many nervous first new parents leaving their first born child in the hands of strangers for the first time. As we walked through the door there sat, in the middle of a floor mat, an extremely roly poly little guy clad only in a diaper. We sat Lukas down next to Brandon and they just looked at each other for a few silent moments.

Then Lukas burst into uncontrollable laughter. Brandon quickly followed suit.

They apparently followed each other around the rest of the afternoon while Mrs. LIAYF and I enjoyed our first 'post child' movie date. They have been inseparable since. Even back in December after we had to pull Lukas out of that daycare he continued to refer to Brandon as his best friend as the weeks mounted since they had seen each other.

So we arranged a play dates every couple of months. And upon seeing each other each time they acted as if they had just seen each other the day before, excited but never shy as if they were meeting again for the first time.

Then, as life so often does, circumstances changed once again for our family. Mrs. LIAYF would be working outside the home full time once again and we needed to get Lukas into a new preschool. As luck had it, our old daycare/preschool (we were on the original waiting list for 18 months) had an opening and moved us back to the top of the list. The boys would be together again. We were very excited.

Monday was Lukas' first day back at his new preschool. I wasn't sure what to expect as I dropped him off. But, even though no one else was familiar to him, he walked in, saw Brandon, then ran to him as they both sprinted around doing the happy dance. He had a terrific day. According to the teachers, they shadowed each other all day long.

As I was discussing his day with him, I have to admit that my mind wandered a bit. I was thinking about male friendship and envying my 3 year old son's ability to make and keep such a good friend through thick and thin.

I haven't really done that myself.

I am a fairly affable guy and I make friends easily, but as an adult with a small child I have not taken the time, or made the necessary investment to have any such close male friendships. I can't remember the last time I went out without my wife, and or son. I am committed to spending time with them. I have a lot of guys I consider friends, but honestly am lacking those one or two with whom I can open up to as a close friend should.

I also realized that I wanted that. Need that really. And that getting to that point will take putting myself out there more than I have in recent years. So, with that in mind, I decided it was high time to be proactive. I called up a couple guy friends of mine and set up a guys night out. It'll be this weekend. Obviously, by nature this will not lead to the same type of friendship that Lukas and his friend share. And that's not what I'm looking for.

But, it's a good start for a dad in need of a buddy who isn't 3 years old.


Steve said...

Well said and even more well done. There are only a couple of male friends with whom I've discussed the toughest aspects of life, mostly because they have been through similar experiences. It can be hard to construct such friendships, but making the effort certainly helps. I should do more of that myself.

Juli said...

Adult "play dates" are just as important as kid ones. ALWAYS remember that. The Rent-a-hubby and I will actually plan time for us to get away with our friends individually if it's been a while. 'Cause when Mama's (or Dada's)happy, every one's happy. -J

Brandon said...

I can definitely identify with having difficulty making and maintaining friends. I wrote a post talking about this:

Feel free to check it out

Mrs. M said...

As a mom I can relate to this too - I am glad he has a buddy and I wish you luck with your own search!

Anonymous said...

Come to DC, I will take you out. :)

Unknown said...

I love seeing my little dudes make friends. And among adults, it seems like my friendships have deepened as my friends and I have stepped into this parenting thing.

TechyDad said...

Growing up, I had a best friend who I'd see on a regular basis. Ever since, I moved up to be near my wife (then fiance), however, I haven't had a real male friend to do things with or talk to.

Yes, having friends on the Internet is nice, but it somehow loses the experience if you all go to the movies in your respective cities by yourself and then tweet later about how you liked the movie.

Unfortunately, I'm socially challenged so I don't seem to make new friends easily. At this point, I don't know how I'd even begin to go about finding friends in my area.

Chris (@tessasdad) said...

Wow, I could just about take whole parts of your post and throw it into my blog as my own post. The only part I would add is that I have felt I have made the necessary investment to have some close male friendships but it hasn't been reciprocated, especially since I became a dad.

PJ Mullen said...

I'm with you in that I am so unbelievably lacking in guys night out participants. If there is one downside to the at-home lifestyle i lead is that right now my son is the only wing man I have.

Irrational Dad said...

Same here. I like hanging out with my guy friends, but I am absolutely committed to being home when I can, to help the missus, and spend time with Tyler. Friends schmriends, right?

Captain Dumbass said...

We all need a Turk or JD. Wish I had one.

Brian H said...

Good luck. Just don't recreate The Hangover.


Beta Dad said...

It's very cute to imagine your little guy and his buddy. I've totally been neglecting my bros too. I'm going to try to organize a big cycling trip next summer though.

DrShawn2thePhd said...

This was so well written! I have felt your pain and I did exactly as you are and put myself back out there and now I can't imagine my life without my buds.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Steve - Yes. It is so difficult with guys. Guess that is why the online dad community is so close. Easier this way.

@Julliana - so true. We know that, but we don't practice it near enough.

@Mighty M - Thanks.

@DC - Next time I am there, I am looking you up. Thanks.

@The Holmes - That is great that you could make that transition with them.

@Techy Dad - Excellent point. The internet is awesome, but somehow something is lost in the translation.

@Chris - Man, that sucks. Nothing like putting yourself out there and meeting a dead end. It is tough finding the right group of friends after becoming a parent. Ones that you can click with.

@PJ - Yes, that has been my issue too. I would be fine if I took the time to spend guys nights out more often, just need to actually do it.

@Irrational Dad - True, but at some point you will need them, so it is essential to keep those friendships alive.

@Captain - Theirs was the quintessential freindship. Great show and characters. I need one too.

@Brian - Thankfully, I kept consciousness the whole time.

@Beta Dad - Good thing about guys is that we are so forgiving. We can call up and old friend and pick up where we left off years ago.

@DrShawn2thePhd - Thanks. Something for me to shoot for. Had a great time last night, so it was a good start for me.

Glad you stopped by.

john cave osborne said...

first off, really liked this.

second... i'm really lucky in that regard. i have a large group of guys (literally 10 or so) i hang out with every single thurs after work.

nothing big. we throw cornhole and throw back a few beers. i'm never out past 7:30 or 8, but boy does it do the trick.

many of us fish or hike/camp. each year we have an annual camping trip called MOTW, men of the woods.

it's a wonderful blessing and enriches / reinvigorates me more than i realize.

unti, that is, i read a post like this to remind of me how fortunate i am to have such a group.