What a Friend Is

A friend

 in kindergarten your idea of a good friend was the person who let you have the red
 crayon when all that was left was the ugly black one.
 
  In first grade your idea of a good friend was the person who went to the bathroom
 with you and held your hand as you walked through the scary halls.
 
  In second grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you stand up
 to the class bully.
 
  In third grade your idea of a good friend was the person who shared their lunch
 with you when you forgot yours on the bus.
 
  In fourth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who was willing to switch
 square dancing partners in gym so you wouldn’t have to be stuck do-si-do-ing with
 Nasty Nicky or Smelly Susan.
 
  In fifth grade your idea of a friend was the person who saved a seat on the back of
 the bus for you.
 
  In sixth grade your idea of a friend was the person who went up to Nice or Susan,
 your new crush, and asked them to dance with you, so that if they said no you
 wouldn’t have to be embarrassed.
 
  In seventh grade your idea of a friend was the person who let you copy the social
 studies homework from the night before that you had.
 
  In eighth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pack up
 your stuffed animals and old baseball but didn't laugh at you
 when you finished and broke out into tears.
 
  In ninth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who would go to a
 party thrown by a senior so you wouldn't wind up being the only freshman there.
 
  In tenth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who changed his or her
 schedule so you would have someone to sit with at lunch.
 
  In eleventh grade your idea of a good friend was the person who gave you rides
 in their new car, convinced your parents that you shouldn't be grounded, consoled
 you when you broke up with Nick [or Glenn] or Susan, and found you a date to the prom.
 
  In twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who helped you pick out a
 college/university, assured you that you would get into that college/university, helped you deal with your parents who were having a hard time adjusting to the idea of letting you go...
 
 At graduation your idea of a good friend was the person who was crying on the
 inside but managed the biggest smile one could give as they congratulated you.
 
  The summer after twelfth grade your idea of a good friend was the person who
 helped you clean up the bottles from that party, helped you sneak out of the house
 when you just couldn't deal with your parents, assured you that now that you
 and Nick or you and Susan were back together, you could make it through
 anything, helped you pack up for university and just silently hugged you as you looked
 through blurry eyes at 18 years of memories you were leaving behind, and
 finally on those last days of childhood, went out of their way to give you
  reassurance that you would make it in college as well as you had these past 18
  years, and most importantly sent you off to  college knowing you were loved.
 
  Now, your idea of a good friend is still the person who gives you the better of the two
 choices, holds your hand when you're scared, helps you fight off those who try to
 take advantage of you, thinks of you at times when you are not there, reminds you
 of what you have forgotten, helps you put the past behind you but understands when
 you need to hold on to it a little longer, stays with you so that you have
 confidence, goes out of their way to make time for you, helps you clear up your
  mistakes, helps you deal with pressure from others, smiles for you when they are
  sad, helps you become a better person, and most importantly loves you!