In Kindergarten, celebrating the alphabet is a very big deal. To honor all of our letters, Letter Land Day was established, a day that demands parent volunteers.
When I arrived at school, all of the children were waiting in the hall getting ready to parade. One after another, Annie Apple to Zig Zag Zebra followed the leader in one, out-of-order, wiggly line.
My daughter, wearing golden, painted, paper bag ears, had chosen to be Peter Puppy. The big red P on her chest was already starting to curl at its edges.
Behind her was another Peter Puppy, the boy from China who began the school year without any knowledge of the English language (not one word), and unaccustomed to our American ways.
From the first day of school my tutu wearing, pink obsessed daughter has come home telling me stories about the other Peter Puppy, and I've been kept up to date on his learning, and their friendship.
"Mom," she'll say.
"Today he said my name."
"Today he sat in the book corner with me."
"On the playground he... he's so funny... you should have seen this face he made."
It's been hours since I left the school and I'm still thinking about those two pups at the end of the line.
I’d wondered why, out of all the letters in the alphabet, my daughter hadn’t chosen Clever Cat with her pink ears, or Golden Girl with her neon green sunglasses, and long golden hair. A girl letter made more sense, right?
But, I’m not the kind of mom who would force such a choice, and so a puppy named Peter it would be.
Standing in line, the two pu- pu- puppies looked at each other, and then looked at me.
Grabbing the edge of my sweater, the boy pointed to my daughter and said, “Sophie.” He pointed to his head and said, “Ears.”
Sophie giggled, and I sensed she was both proud of him, and happy.
My daughter is a talker. A social butterfly whose eagerness to be liked has caused me to half-jokingly lament about the kind of trouble I’m going to have with her when she’s in high school.
Already at five, her need to be liked by others, and to be like the others, makes me worry.
Here in line were two kids, on the surface as different as night and day, a boy who doesn't have all of the words, and a talkative girl who just wants to fit in.
Sometimes friendships don't make any sense.
Until you look at them more closely.
And then there’s no doubt why they do.