When my daughter Naomi started school at five there was no one she knew on her first day. She was the only child from her nursery, and the only child from her street. She truly was like a fish out of water and for months she spent playtime and lunchtime looking at the flowers in the playground because she found interacting with other children so difficult. If the teacher asked the children to do anything in pairs or groups she just sat there until the teacher eventually paired her up with others. 

She had no friends and it broke my heart.

It made her life such a challenge. 

Then she took very ill and for an entire month she was absent from school with pneumonia. Going back was even harder for her after such a prolonged illness and I was even more worried about her than before. Yet that day something changed and for my daughter it was the first day of something very significant. That first Monday back at school another child joined her class having moved from another town to the area. With both girls not knowing what the class was currently learning, albeit for very different reasons, the girls were paired together to get a little support and catch up so they could complete the tasks. No one would have ever guessed that this innocent pairing by a class teacher would be the making of a friendship that has grown into something totally beautiful. 

Within a matter of weeks my daughter began to mention this child's name. She would smile and light up when she talked about Abigail, something I had never seen before when she mentioned any other names. 

By the end of that first year they became inseparable. 

Thankfully the school is small and there is only one class per year group so the girls remained together the following year. Academically they were at very different levels but socially they stood by each other through thick and thin. They made up their own games and when my daughter was so crippled with anxiety she could not talk at ‘show and tell,’ Abigail would step up beside her and say what my daughter wanted said. 

That same year the class did an assembly. My daughter was terrified of performing in front of others and refused to take a speaking part despite every other child having one. Her confident friend was desperate for one but was struggling with the reading and memorising. As the class rehearsed over and over the teacher noticed Abigail was really finding her role a challenge and asked Naomi if she would help Abigail with the reading. Within the class, Naomi overcame her mutism in order to assist her friend and the whole school cried when on the day of the assembly Abigail said the start of her words, then stood back as the teacher held the mic to Naomi, while she helped her to do the rest. 

That's the magic of friendship! 

Naomi is tiny, underweight and weak so Abigail opens all the doors for her. Naomi loves reading so spends hours sitting with her friend supporting her and encouraging her to read books because she knows her friend struggles. Now in their forth year at school Abigail still stands beside Naomi at every ‘show and tell’ to help her describe her toys to the class. Abigail has given Naomi confidence to eat when food became overwhelming and they willingly do homework if they can be together. 

Individually they both have weaknesses but together they bring out the best of each other to form a team that works fantastically for them both. 

When Naomi is down there is no one able to cheer her up like Abigail, and no one can make Abigail laugh like Naomi. The love they have for each other cannot be measured.

Last weekend I took both girls ten pin bowling. Together they were incredible. Naomi would line the roller up 'just so' while her teammate would pick up the balls for her. When it came to Abigail's turn, Naomi would make sure the roller was set at just the right place for her friend again and Abigail would fetch the ball. They wanted each other to win more than they wanted to win themselves. 

That's the magic of friendship. 

I know at some point the girls may not be educated together. Both of them have very different support needs and abilities, and their addresses mean they live in different catchment areas for high school. Somehow though I simply can't imagine a time when Abigail will not be part of Naomi's life and vice versa. They have a bond that is innocent, beautiful and so special. 

They are best friends and it is very much the best thing for both of them. 

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