Woody has this pack of friends that have been his friends, well, most of his life. I know “most of his life” isn’t a particularly long time to us, but to him, it’s forever. He’s known these friends forever as far as he’s concerned.
The boys in this little pack met one another when they were 18 months old or so. They cut teeth together, potty-trained together, learned the basics of friendship together. They pushed and hit each other on the playground and comforted each other through falls and scrapes. They know each other.Since they know each other so well, it may surprise you to know that these boys do not spend every waking moment together. In fact, two of them don’t even live in our town anymore. Those that are still in town have not had classes together, and though they do like to spend time together, they all have friends beyond this little group. But the comfort they have with one another when they are together — whether it has been six hours or six months since the last gathering — is striking. It’s an ease and an acceptance among them that I hope will last.I recently had a very small world experience. It was revealed that a person I met in a professional setting recently was someone I met more than two decades ago in a social setting. Through a series of chance occurrences, the connection was made weeks after the second meeting. It all comes down to this person having maintained a close childhood friendship, and we know that childhood friend from college years.As I have marveled at the odds of the connection, I have thought about the continuity of friendship maintained over decades, over miles and miles, and now over a continent. There is something about those who have seen you transition through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood (and still like you). It’s not something that happens for everyone, but it seems that when it does happen, it is very special.I look at Woody and his pals, and I wonder if their bond will endure into adulthood. They are all such nice kids and they each deserve the comfort and understanding and acceptance that come with such a strong and long-standing bond.