I was asked once how I got my boys to be best friends.
Dream-crushing spoiler alert! They’re not.
Oh they were, once upon a time, when they wore osh kosh overalls and finger painted in their bob the builder underwear. But that’s because they were each others only playmates.
They were best friends by default.
Eventually, they headed off into the world and they learned that there were people who actually liked the same kind of music they did. They realized that some kids thought their jokes were funny – all the time! They found people who loved to do what they do and do it with an equal amount of passion.
Now those are my boys best friends. Not each other. And that’s okay.
Because one likes 90’s grunge and the other prefers Billboard top 100. One plays all of the sports while the other spends his spare time writing novels. One is serious and quiet and happy to be alone. Another is silly and loud and wants non-stop talking and non-stop action and non-stop everything until his head hits the pillow with a screeching halt. One’s chocolate and one’s vanilla. Thing is, chocolate and vanilla are both pretty decent in my opinion. (Even though I’d choose mint chocolate chip everytime.)
At this point in our family life (16, 14, and 13) we’re working more towards understanding that one’s preference isn’t better and anothers opinion isn’t right. They’re simply preferences and opinions. One does not supersede another.
We’re talking about meeting each other in the middle if there’s going to be any friendship at all. We’re talking about respecting differences and finding common ground somewhere. Cause it’s usually there. We’re practicing selflessness and servanthood for the sake of the other because they want to get along and when you’re opposites that’s not always easy.
I’m thrilled with the fact that they want to get along. I’m over the moon that they care to have the conversation about what meeting each other halfway actually looks like. When I see them laughing together over something ridiculous I want to freeze time. Cause I know it’s about to change in 3.2 seconds.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that my boys don’t like each other. They do. It’s not that they don’t have fun together. They totally do. It’s not that they’re unkind to one another. Well, sometimes they are but that’s not it. It’s just that they aren’t best pals and I don’t expect them to be.
My answer to the young woman with 3 boys just like me might have been a bit disheartening. But here’s the thing, we can wish things for our children and be incredibly disappointed when we don’t get them or we can look at reality and see that what we’ve been given is pretty great.
My boys have brothers. My boys all have best friends. Sure, it might be nice if those two sentences could be merged together but it’s not the most important thing in the world. Not even close.
We’re family and just because we love each other doesn’t mean we all want to do everything together all of the time. It doesn’t mean we all have to think the same way about things or want to see the same movies. Just because we all live in a home together does not mean there’s been some strange mind meld and now we’re all carbon copies of one another.
In fact, I quite like that each child in our home is unique, each with their own quirks, each with their own perspective and each with distinct thoughts, and not needing to conform to the others around them. It’s how it’s meant to be. God made each one of them in His grand design and so, while I wouldn’t complain if they were best friends, I’m also certainly not going to complain because they’re not.
Instead, I’m going to love and enjoy the family I have and not spend my time wishing for one that I don’t.