As I was giving him a few snuggles before he went to sleep, I told him that now that he and Avery were going to kid church all by themselves (at our new church), I would be going to grown up church with Daddy and that I didn't have a friend. I asked if he had any advice for me on how to make a friend. He said, "well, are there nice ladies there?" and I said I thought there were. So he said, "well, when one of them talks to you, you can talk back to them and when they sit down you can sit next to them if they are available." I told him that was good advice and that I would try that. But, then I looked worried and asked "what if no one talks to me? What could I do then?" He said, "well, you could go and talk to one of them." I asked what I would say and he answered, "you could tell them something nice." I said (with great exuberance), "like, 'hey you, stinky pants!?" He looked a little alarmed and said, "no, you could say they had a nice bow or you could say 'hey! watch out for that slippery oil' if they were about to slip into oil' or something like that." I said I thought I understood now and would try that. But, then I looked a little worried and said, "what if I feel a little scared talking to someone new because they're not smiling at me or anything. What could I do then?" He answered, "well if you want a smile, you need to give a smile. See?" (He smiles). I smiled back and said, "ok, now let me try." I gave him a big smile but with big angry eyebrows. He looked alarmed again and said, "I think you may need to practice a little." So we tried out different smiles on each other. His were all winning smiles while mine were a little more mixed. After a bit he said, "you're getting better at it, but you might want to practice in the mirror a little because some of them are still not very good." I told him I would and then asked him when he thought I might have a friend. He thought for a minute and said, "well, making a friend takes a little bit of time and it sometimes it doesn't work, but I think you'll have a friend in a week or maybe a week and a half." I told him that was exciting and then asked if I could repeat back all of the advice he had given me to make sure I had gotten it all. I summarized and he listened carefully and then I thanked him for such helpful advice and told him I would let him know how it went.
It was such a special moment that I love on so many different levels (although as I write this, I will rethink the parts that alarmed him!)
I just loved how thoughtful, gentle, honest, and caring he was in his responses. As noted earlier, we spent so much time developing his social skills when he was younger. I love that he has internalized all of those lessons and talks and efforts and *truly* made it his own. I am deeply proud of him and find his heart just absolutely endearing.
Oh, and, this morning after church he asked if I had made a friend and I told him I hadn't yet, but that I *had* smiled at 2 people and talked to 2 people. He reminded me that it takes a little time and I agreed and scooped him up in my arms. What a guy!