One of the many reality shows Chris & I are loyal viewers of is this show on the Discovery channel called Man, Woman, Wild. It follows an ex-special forces op and his journalist wife through various survival situations, like being lost in the jungle or stranded while snowmobiling. In addition to guessing how many more of these scenarios these two can go through before one of them decides to abandon the other in the wilderness, we've learned several fire starting methods (though Chris & I have both decided that should we ever become the outdoorsy types, we'll simply carry matches).
In case you have something better to do on Friday nights and haven't seen the show, I will tell you that having fire is the most important element of survival, providing clean drinking water, food, warmth and protection for dangerous predators. Yet starting a fire is not easy. You need to gather just the right materials, find a way to create enough friction to make a spark, blow on that spark to help it grow and then slowly add twigs and sticks and finally branches. All these steps must be done carefully, any misstep - damp wood, not providing enough oxygen, dumping too many sticks on at once - and your fire will go out and you have to start all over again. Every week, even though he's done it many times before, its fire-starting that stresses Mykel out; he knows its crucial to their survival.
I understand how he feels. While I've never used bamboo branches and my shoe laces to start a fire, I can completely relate to the deliberate care and caution that goes into protecting something so essential to your well-being and precarious in nature.
Buddy has made his first friend at school, a little boy named H.
Buddy first announced this friendship to me last week, but I wasn't sure exactly what to make of it. Buddy still does not talk to any of the other children and only speaks to the teachers when they initiate conversation, so I found his announcement a little hard to believe. I thought maybe this H was just a boy he admired b/c he had light-up sneakers or something. I mean, how do you make a friend without talking? Apparently, talking is overrated because in the drop-off lane on Monday, H was in the car in front of us and he waited outside for Buddy to get out of the car, smiling and jumping up and down as they headed into class together. I asked the teacher handling drop-off about them and she confirmed they had recently developed a friendship, working on projects together, sitting side-by-side at lunch and hanging out during recess. Apparently, smiles and gestures are the perfect compliment to H's constant talking.
I had to restrain myself from running up to H after school and pulling him into a bear hug, from calling his mom and inviting H on vacation with us this February. That would definitely be adding too many twigs to the fire. Yet, I hope this new spark of friendship gets the oxygen it needs to grow, that H recognizes the fun, sweet boy sitting beside him and sticks it out until Buddy is willing to share more than just a smile.
Friendship, like fire, is essential to survival. I'm so excited Buddy has found that first spark of friendship. I hope it will continue to grow into something substantial enough ease his fear of being away from home, to give him confidence to embrace new experiences and to protect him from the sometimes cruel world of being a child.