Scrawled on the tiniest shred of paper and covered in tape was a phone number. It was barely legible, but I dialed the number at Nathan's insistence to try to make a play date with a friend from school.
Fortunately for me, the number rang through into voicemail where the woman said her name--Alyssa, I think. She called back immediately and when we realized how close we lived to each other we were pleasantly surprised. We had grown up in the same stake and went to the same high school, although enough years apart that we never crossed paths.
Her older brother was in my high school class (Kevin Clegg, for the benefit of a couple of friends who would know). He and I didn't run in the same social circles, but I could pick him out of a line-up.
The play date went wonderfully without a single outburst from Nathan. When Alyssa showed up to pick up her son, she said, "We would love to have Nathan over next week. We would love to have Nathan as a friend. I would love to have you as a friend." She paused a moment and confessed, "I don't really have any friends here yet."
Some of you may remember this post where I basically said the same thing. Most of my friends from high school and college live in different states or countries. So I made friendship more of a priority last year. Probably the first brave thing I did was attend Blogapalooza in May, where, coming to the event, I knew only one person.
But I met others, whose blogs I now follow and who I sometimes get to hang out with. Then I had rekindled (sounds almost romantic, but I just mean we started hanging out again) a friendship with a high school friend who just lives a couple cities north. We've gone to lunch, or chatted on the phone at least once a month since. Finally, this fall I restarted the Young Mother's Luncheon in my ward. Once a month ward members with young kids get together for a pot luck lunch and bring all the kids.
That ache, of having friends far, but not near, has dissipated. But I know exactly where Alyssa's coming from. Exactly. You should have seen her face light up when I told her about the Young Mother's Luncheon. I've realized I should invite her to walk at the mall and, who knows, perhaps she and I will be come close friends, too.
But the thing that impressed me most of all was Alyssa's courage. Have you ever said to someone, "I don't have many friend's yet, would you be my friend?" I haven't, but I'm glad she did.