Tommy has a friend who is in the fifth grade. He comes to our house every morning before school, even though he rides his bike and we walk. I drive him home when it is raining. He comes over to hang out on weekends and sometimes after school. One summer afternoon, he rung our doorbell and ended up playing with Tommy for 5 hours. He lights up when he sees Nicholas and calls him "his little buddy". I give him drinks, but I usually have to offer. He never accepts food, even if Tommy is having a snack. He tells me that he thinks Tommy is really smart and lucky that he doesn't have to leave his classroom for extra help. This afternoon, I packed his bike and his drum kit in my car because it was raining and I was worried he couldn't get both home safely. I gave him our phone number to call if it is raining tomorrow morning and he needs a ride to school.
I have never met his mother. He tells me she works hard and at every job she has had; they always make her the boss. I told him that must be because she is responsible and knows how to take care of business. I know that she also has two daughters; one who is 3, the other 13. I know that over the summer the 13 year old took care of the 3 year old a lot. Tommy's friend helped out, he said, when he wasn't at our house or out riding bikes with his older friends. I know his Dad drives a truck and is not around a lot. His Mom and Dad are separated.
He is a good friend to Tommy and respectful of our house and our rules. I have started to look forward to seeing him every morning and to hearing his stories about things going on in our neighborhood. He recently told my husband and I that a new pastry shop opened in the shopping center adjacent to our development and that we should "check it out."