|The drummer, the baker, the comedian, the rebel.|
Our daughter came home for the weekend, having made plans with several of her friends to meet up at Manhattan Country School's annual Farm Festival on Saturday. The kids in the photo above, all college freshmen, have been friends since pre-K/ kindergarten/ first grade.
|With their first grade teacher, Laura.|
Until they graduated from 8th grade and dispersed to different high schools, the members of that class bonded through the years of farm trips—barn chores and planting days and afternoons spent roaming those grassy hills, splashing in the stream and the frog pond, building snow forts in winter, playing manhunt in the pitch black night, sharing clothes and laughs and tears.
|Joined by Maiya, who guided them through their high school apps in 8th grade.|
Back in the city they navigated the happy chaos of small classrooms, and did spontaneous group therapy sessions huddled on the fire escape, especially during fifth grade, the year of the girl wars. They fearlessly stated their hurts and learned to accept each other's truths, and through all those years of shifting and regrouping, they came to the seventh grade autobiographies, in which they examined their young lives and excavated a conscious understanding of just how lucky they were to have each other. They promised to hold each other close. And they have.
|This group of 9th graders, newly minted high schoolers, also returned. The bonds are real.|
And so a handful who could, who attend college in state, came back to the city this weekend. There they were, wandering that lively harvest festival on a block where they spent their most formative years, startling their old teachers by how grown they are, the friendships as easy and flowing as when they were five, seven, ten, fourteen.
|One more. I love all these kids. And their parents, too.|
Then last night another one of their number arrived in town, this one all the way from Ohio where she attends Oberlin. When we opened our front door to her at almost 11 p.m. last night, she literally jumped into my daughter's arms, wrapped her legs around her and cried. The third of them looked on, twirling her hair. "Are you really crying?" she said. And soon they were all laughing and crying together and telling stories of their time away. I don't know how late this went, because my husband and I went to bed.
This morning, I stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee only to see two of the girls asleep under comforters on the couches, having drifted off watching Malcolm in the Middle on Netflix. And now my daughter has left to meet up with another friend (in the striped tee) to take the bus back to their college town together. There is nothing in this world like being accompanied on the journey.