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Second Thoughts

This article first appeared in issue 20, and was written by Laura Emberton Owens.

You've got a friend

Poised with a newly conquered fear behind her, my daughter stood with a lady bug crawling up her arm. The mere fact the bug was in the same room without her screaming was great, but for her to allow it on her was amazing. So pleased with her newest accomplishment, she called for me to come and see her lady bug. "It's my best friend," she said. I realized the absurdity of the statement, but it pleased her to think this multi-legged hard-shelled bug was her playmate. At the exact moment I stepped closer to meet her "friend," the lady bug took a plunge to the floor. Before I had time to react, I had stepped on it. Standing speechless, as I heard her ask, "Where's my friend," I searched for the right words. Her "friend" was under my foot, in several pieces. The quick movement of pulling my bare foot off the bug drew her attention to the floor. In a split second sobs began, and my daughter repeated several times, "You killed my best friend." Granted, a rather dramatic performance over a lady bug, but to a four-year-old these were genuine feelings. My first reaction was to tell her how silly it was to think of a lady bug as a best friend. Then I realized the lady bug had made my daughter feel good. It gave her a special feeling and after all, that's what friends do. So she was right, I had killed her friend.

The wonderful part of having a catastrophe when you're four years old is that is passes quickly. It seems her lady bug had a traveling companion, which my little girl quickly deemed her new "Best friend." At her young age she doesn't quite understand the whole friendship concept, but she's got the right idea. Friends should give companionship and bring pleasure, and that was exactly what the lady bug did. Being a friend can take such little effort and bring a great deal of pleasure. I'm going to take a lesson from the lady bug and try to be a friend to those who need one. Of course, maybe I should steer clear of people with big feet.

This story was posted on 1998-05-15 12:01:01
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