Today, we had an unexpected family playdate with Theo’s best friend Lucca and his parents, Suzette and Manuel. Theo and Lucca have known each other since preschool so neither of them can remember a time when the other wasn’t in his life. Over the years, despite attending different schools for the past 5 years, they have built up a strong friendship by attending weekly karate classes together, going to summer camp together, and having the occasional playdate, when they build cushion forts, play with Legos or video games, all the while chattering and giggling – for hour after hour. They are both only children, so in some ways they are like brothers, but they have not argued once in the 7 years of their friendship, so in this respect they are not like any brothers I know.
Lucca and Theo in their very different Ninjago green ninja costumes
Over the years, I have been very grateful to Suzette for being my partner in facilitating this friendship, as well as increasingly being a friend to me too. Suzette and Manuel are hard-working architects and work together in a firm in our neighborhood, but they live miles away, so we rarely have a chance to socialize with them. However, whenever we get together, I am always impressed by Suzette’s creativity. At Lucca’s 10th birthday party, a Harry Potter party, many of the details – owl goody bags and golden wands – were designed and hand-made by Suzette. Every Halloween, Suzette puts together spectacular costumes – the were dressed as fruit last year, Lucca was Pinocchio (complete with a Gepetto puppeteer attached like a backpack!) the year before, and they were all Lego Ninjago minifigures before that. And today, Manuel proudly showed us pictures of Suzette’s exquisite tile work designs on some buildings they had designed and built in East Los Angeles. I know quite a few other parents who are incredibly creative with their kids’ parties and costumes, but not while holding down a full-time job. In this, Suzette is truly extraordinary and I have nothing but admiration for her boundless creativity as an architect and parent. Today, at dinner together at one of our favorite little restaurants in Little Tokyo, I gave Suzette a pair of turquoise earrings I had made a few years ago. The earrings can’t compare with her spectacular creations, but they are my way of thanking her for being such an inspiring fellow mom over the years and for working with me to make sure our boys – and the rest of us too! – enjoy their precious friendship for many more years to come.