Debbie & I met at preschool orientation, my first week in town. She and another friend had schemed to find a new friend and seems I was the pick (Nancy liked my earrings; Debbie didn't like my hair but thought I was brave to wear it.) Maddy and Laurie hated each other, but we forced them together anyway. I still remember the first play date, my 3-year-old climbing all over Debbie's kitchen counter while we baked cookies. Debbie took an aggravating zillion years to make the perfect sandwiches, I recall, but I've since relied on her zen. I used to feed them in the bathtub, which they loved and Debbie found bizarre, but she learned to accept, eventually maybe appreciate my preference for fun first.
Our only children learned to love someone else so much they changed themselves for the better.
Maddy's the serious powerhouse, fearless, compelling, fun, blunt, in-charge, doesn't much know or care what anybody thinks. Laurie's the opposite, funny, sweet, quiet, always sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. Maddy yells; Laurie's passive-aggressive. Maddy's always moving, doing, dancing, was handy with an electric drill and paint rollers at far too young an age. Laurie loves to read, talk, and lounge.
Left unchecked Maddy woulda been that bossy, manipulative, power-hungry girl we protect our children from. And Laurie never woulda left the house.
They loved each other early, but they took much longer to navigate those differences successfully. Most of the time they played together great. But eventually Maddy would rev up, get more and more controlling and Laurie would shrink. When Laurie reached her fill she would refuse to have anything to do with Maddy, who'd get devastated. Round & round they'd go, Debbie and I rescuing less and less as they got older.
In the end Laurie taught Maddy how to add nice, sensitive, and accommodating to her array of stengths. And Maddy taught Laurie to go out there and be herself with confidence. We count on Maddy to organize, and Laurie keeps us laughing.
All of which come in handy 15 years later as we sit at that same kitchen counter anticipating their futures.