I'm glad she wasn't, because that would be a little ... awkward.
One of her favorite things to do is draw and write and practice her letters and make cards and pictures for other people. It is a gift that she can easily put together all by herself and it gives her a great deal of pleasure to stuff an envelope (either recycled or handmade :P) FULL of notes of affection and appreciation.
Last summer we had new neighbors move in beside us and Little M, who was 4.5 at the time, wasted no time in getting to know this 9-year-old gal. They played together off and on over the warmer months, but as winter and different schedules settled in, we didn't see much of our new friend. As things have warmed up again, and we all venture out a little more often and linger outdoors a little longer, we have reconnected.
One day Little M proudly showed me her picture for our friend. Across the page in big, bold letters were the words "I Love You." I hesitated. How would this girl react? What would our neighbor girl think? She's already indicated that she's too mature for some of the games that Little M normally plays, and that she's not here to "play" but to "hang out." Would she scoff at my daughter for her innocent display of affection? Would Little M feel embarrassed?
I decided to let it all play out and see what would happen. Our neighbor gal happened to be over for supper and before she left, Little M gave her the envelope. She left without opening it, and I thought that was the end of it.
A little while later, there was a knock at the door. Instantly irritation flashed through my mind --- why do people knock on others doors when its BEDTIME!??! You can see I have a lot of maturing to do!! However, there was our neighbor girl, with an envelope of her own in hand. She shyly gave it to us and quickly scampered off.
Little M squealed with delight. It was considerately addressed to all three of our little ladies - and inside was a picture of them all playing together outside (a hope of warmer days to come :P?). And, attached was a note. "I love you too."
Again and again I learn through my children. Authentic hearts take risks, but look at the blessings which can flow from that. Our neighbors have a background that is much different than ours, but at the core we all need the same thing --- a desire to know that we are loved and welcomed and have a place to belong.
I'm not sure how long this little friendship will last. There is an age difference that may or may not become a big deal down the line. I know that right now they get along just fine and enjoy playing together ... ahem, "hanging out" ;P ... and it works.