Conversations In A Minivan

BoysCar One of the best parts of my week is driving my oldest son and his best friend to their karate practice. Not the driving part. Driving sucks, especially driving a minivan. The part I love is being in this small space with two teenage boys, no eye contact possible, and hearing what (if anything) they have to say.

Sometimes it’s just a random comment about school or the idiot driver in front of us. Sometimes there’s real news to share, like his sister was accepted into the college of her choice. Mazal Tov! and how does he feel about her being gone next year, he’ll be the oldest in the house… good, bad, indifferent? Sometimes there’s nothing to say at all, and I turn up the AltRock a little louder and notice them staring out the window, each lost in thoughts of the day that was and still to come.

Yesterday we briefly discussed the benefit of memorizing a poem for English class (“Jabberwocky”), the “Miracle of Life” video they watched last year in 7th grade which they wish they could unsee (I don’t know how this came up, but it sounds like a realistic portrayal of childbirth), and that the proudest moment in each of their lives to date is their bar mitzvah.

These two boys have been friends since the first day of preschool. At two years old they found each other and connected over Legos, which is one of only three things they have in common: Legos, karate, and soccer. Where one is adventurous and loves the outdoors, the other is happy at home with a book. One plays Minecraft, and the other the guitar. Defense versus attack on the soccer field. One likes to row, the other skis black diamond.

They don’t hang in the same crowd at school, and as they get older and the differences in their interests are more defined with each passing year, it would seem that they’d naturally drift away from each other. They don’t even attend the same summer camp.

And they are closer than ever.

I listen to the way they interact with each other on the way to karate every Tuesday and Thursday, and I marvel at their easy friendship. They agree and disagree, call each other out and laugh at the same jokes. There is a comfort, security and closeness between these two that transcends their daily lives of different social circles and activities.

“Both of your proudest moments are your bar mitzvahs?” I ask, with a smile. “Well yeah,” they reply, almost in unison. “We haven’t had such long lives yet,” one of them adds.

It’s true. Their lives are young.

“Thanks for the ride,” they both mumble as they grab their green belts and slam the car doors. Neither of them is wearing any shoes and they pick their way carefully along the tarred road. They are deep in conversation.

Their lives are young, yes, and full of the promise of more friends and girls and teams and schools. More opportunities to not do things together. But that doesn’t matter at all. They’re both working toward a black belt in karate.

These two are best friends. And I have a feeling they always will be.

This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post, inspired by the prompt, “My proudest moment was…” Hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee, and co-hosted by Tarana from Sand In My Toes and Kerri from Diagnosed and Still Okay.

24 thoughts on “Conversations In A Minivan

  1. Oh. My. God. NICKI!!! Damnit. I’m crying for the fact that their lives may digress and that they connect now and that their friendship is so easy. Um of course the minivan isn’t cool but it’s cool in that you are witness to these boys and to your son. My son has a best friend too but it feels different. They have developmental challenges and are growing more different in them and well, that’s about me and not about this post which is amazing and fabulous as always. I want to live next door to you.

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    • The minivan… the source of so much of my angst but also the place where the magic happens. I can’t deny it!
      I wish you lived next door to me. And all our boys were friends. Jed and Tucker would get up to a lot of mischief together. Almost as much as you and I 😉

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  2. Oh, I got chills reading this! I love how they have stayed besties, even though their interests and social circles have diverged over the years? How cool is that? And I agree, I think they will be friends for a life time. I really do have chills. And I want to be that young again:(.

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    • Sometimes I want to be that young again, too, Allie! Especially when I watch them, secure in their easy friendship. I wish I knew to appreciate friendships like that when I was their age.

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  3. It seems like the two boys have found a level on which they can connect regardless of how their lives are progressing. It speaks to their characters and who they are that they can continue their friendship despite all of the centripetal forces that pull teen boys apart.

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  4. I can think of many of my kids’ friendships that have drifted away as the kids grow up. This enduring friendship is such a special one; just reading about it made me smile.

    Those car rides are the best way to have great conversations with your kids, aren’t they? I’ve been looking forward to our spring break road trip in part because of the family bonding from hours in the car together. Weird, I know.

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    • Once upon a time, not very long ago, I would have said omg Dana are you crazy? Trapped for hours in the car WITH YOUR KIDS?!?! But nope, I get it. There’s nowhere to go, nobody else to talk to except each other, and you can just be… together. Wishing you safe and happy travels my friend.

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  5. Yes! This is so very true with my son as well. How did two of his pals (one he met in preschool, the other in grade one) spend their Spring Breaks? By flying 3000 miles east to be with my son. They had a hoot. One photo was shared that made me shake my head and remember my overly indulgent nights … and the others photos made me grin. They may be 19 but they all looked like goofy 9 year olds.
    Your post made me nostalgic for the driving days. Funny how nobody noticed when I eeked down the volume a weensy bit to overhear the gossip. At those times I never said a word – just listened.
    Happy green belting to them both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh the power of true, historical friendship Kelly! I love that your son and his friends reinforce my belief. And I’m looking so forward to the day when I’m nostalgic for the driving days 😉

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