You have been my friend

I read Charlotte's Web to third graders for about two hours today, trying to finish up the book in each class before the year ends on Wednesday. My voice is pretty hoarse. However, this one moment made it all worth it.

I got to the part in the story where Wilbur is thanking Charlotte for saving his life.

"'Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing." - E.B. White, Charlotte's Web.

When I read the line, "You have been my friend," one boy grabbed the hand of another boy beside him, and the two boys grinned at each other. I loved seeing such an innocent, genuine expression of friendship. Later on, they might become cynical, or might not feel quite so comfortable grabbing each other's hands in public. Yet in that moment, they wanted to make it clear to each other that their friendship was as strong as the friendship of Charlotte and Wilbur.