24-July-2021 The bright spot of the pandemic for Benjamin Olson, a 2-year-old boy in Minnesota, has been becoming best friends with his next-door neighbor. Her name is Mary O’Neill and she will celebrate her 100th birthday in December.
“For more than a year, he didn’t see other kids. He didn’t interact with anyone except our family and Mary,” Benjamin’s mom, Sarah Olson, told Parents. “They ended up forming an incredibly strong bond with Mary O'Neill 99 years old, and become best friend.
At first, O’Neill, who lost her husband 37 years ago, would just wave at Benjamin from behind a window. Then, she began venturing outside to say hello. Soon, the two were having regular meet-ups by a fence that separates their homes. When the weather is nice, O’Neill and Benjamin will sit on her steps and blow bubbles together.
“Sometimes he’ll get up and grab a piece of sand or a rock and give it to me as a gift,” O’Neill said. “He makes mfeel good.”
Early on in their friendship, O’Neill created a game where Benjamin kicks her a ball and she passes it back to him with her cane. She calls it cane ball. O'Neill also gifted the little boy with a big box of toy trucks that belonged to her late son. O'Neill said the trucks are helping Benjamin to learn his colors.
Sarah said she got teary-eyed as she listened to O’Neill share what Benjamin means to her.
“Mary is fiercely independent. She doesn’t really show her cards,” Sarah explained. “So I got really emotional when I heard her say that she missed Benjamin on the days when it was too cold or rainy to go outside.”
Benjamin felt the same way.
“Mary really is Benjamin's best friend,” Sarah said. “She’s his first best friend.”
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