Can an adult and child be friends?
I think so. One of my first adult friends was Milfay. I’m not sure how Mildred Poole came to be called Milfay, but it’s the name I know her by. It’s a name of affection, of endearment, for a dear human who embodies kindness and love.
Milfay, her husband Olan, and their adult children were friends with my parents when we lived in Louisiana. I remember spending quite a bit of time at their home and loving it. I specifically remember sitting in the back seat of our station wagon driving up a dusty road, passing a water hole as the road curved to the left and then right before we arrived at Millay’s house. The driveway was very large and provided ample space for play. My brothers and I often played with her grandchildren, exploring the woods, and property around the home.
When inside the home I remember feeling valued and important as Milfay asked about how I was and listened to me as I spoke. She made me feel important. Her voice had the quality of song and her eyes twinkled. She never scolded me, and instead would gently explain what was expected.
Milfay’s kitchen was warm and smelled like sugar and freshly chopped onions. She had sweet tea on the stove and a bowl of tuna fish ready to be spread on bread for sandwiches. Her tuna fish sandwiches were my favorite. She always added finely chopped apples. The sweet crunch paired with the savory mix was a delicious balance. To this day when I want a tuna fish sandwich, this is the one I want.
I think back to Milfay’s kitchen often. The walls were papered with a lattice pattern intertwined with flowers. I still have a vivid picture in my mind of the wall paper. Recently, I realized that sometimes when I’m feeling stressed I picture that wall paper and it makes me feel calm and happy. It was a very cheerful kitchen, and she was the reason. Charm and sweetness seeped out of her pores. I loved visiting her.
Friendship is something children learn through experiences. Adults model healthy relationships, friendships, and expectations for children. A child who experiences respect, trust, and mutual understanding with an adult begins to form an idea of what friendship means to them. Adults can then support children building relationships with other children through modeling and narration.
I am proud to call Milfay my friend, and though our contact is limited these days she will continue to hold a special place in my heart.
Milfay and one of her children, Sylvia. Notice the kitchen wallpaper. 🙂