There's something official about this photograph.
In between those significantly stone-faced cowboys, a binding friendship has begun.
A 5 year & 10 month old (to use his terms here) is official.
Officially begun his quest for friends.
Friends that meet you at the front door with a smile on their face so happy to see you.
Friends that share your passions of pretend.
Outdoor forting too.
Friends who earnestly scramble and plead with mama for "just a little more time", please.
Friends who giggle uncontrollably at the silly you both set free from your mouths.
Eli is there.
He gets it.
He gets the special-ness of having someone to his house.
The night before, Eli planned what toys he wanted out so that he and his guest could make the most of their time together. He even asked to check the weather to see the chances of some outdoor time.
Casey was included each and every play of the afternoon.
Officially, he's growing.
Making notes in that little mind of his on just what friendship means.
On how it plays a part in his life.
On who to call friend.
And who to share his little brother with too.
Officially, Eli is stretching out farther than my grasp.
Slowly but surely, I see him inch a little further away.
Only to come back to me for snuggles and books.
Officially, I am honored.
Honored to watch this little man of mine grow acquainted with friendship.
To see him trust and share and learn.
And officially, I am reminded.
Reminded that friends are to be intended.
For growing deep, you know.
Thank you once again, Eli Garrett.
Your lessons come in the most perfect of timing.