2-Year-Old Helps Best Bud Celebrate Her 100th Birthday

Sometimes, friendship forms in the most unlikely of places. You mightmeet while seated on a bus, studying in a classroom, or as in the case of neighbors Benjamin Olson and Mary MacNeil — while playing in the backyard.

Nowadays, Mary and Ben are inseparable. So of course, when the time came for Mary to celebrate her centennial, her new best friend was there in full force to help usher Mary into her second century.

COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone, most of all for new parents and toddlers.

Unsplash | Christian Bowen

For those children who had the misfortune of being born during the peak of the pandemic, socialization has been something they've largely missed out on.

Such has been the case for 2-year-old Benjamin, his mother Sarah Olson explained. Sarah said In a recent interview with Today Parents, that for the first year of Ben's life — he didn't see anyone outside of their immediate family except for their neighbor, Mary.

“They ended up forming an incredibly strong bond.” Sarah explained.

What started as a quick "hello" through the gaps in the fence quickly evolved into a real loving friendship between Mary and Benjamin. But the end of lockdown restrictions isn't the only thing that these unlikely friends have to celebrate.

This year will mark Mary's 100th birthday, which takes place on December 18th. In order to commemorate Mary's incredible milestone, her friends and family gathered early in order to celebrate.

"It is his buddy and he was very excited to go to her party," Sarah told *Today*.

She commented on how "A lot of her family has been hearing about Benjamin so they were excited to meet him." Adding that Mary and Benjamin's special friendship brought an entirely new layer of excitement to the party.

One of the guests even bought a special bag of treats for Mary and Benjamin to share with one another. "Now pretty much every day, we see Mary and she asks, 'Is it snack time? Can I bring him a snack?'"

When the party was over, Sarah felt like she wanted to do more for her son's beloved friend.

"After the first story aired, everybody was so excited about it," Sarah recalled. "I set a goal of getting 100 birthday cards for Mary's 100th birthday and set up P.O. Box."

The word about Sarah's card goal began to spread like wildfire throughout the community and beyond. In the end, Mary wound up receiving over 300 birthday cards from 21 different states — there was even one card that came all the way from Germany!

According to Sarah, Benjamin was blown away by all the people showing love for his "Mimi."

The most exciting part is that now Benjamin is getting to an age where he can express himself better. "Most of his friendship with Mary, he didn't really say a lot of words," Olson explained.

And as it turns out — Benjamin was actually the one who came up with the nickname Mimi in the first place! "For him to come up with Mimi was really cute. Now she's just Mimi and he asks for Mimi all day long."

Mary's own daughter, Sui Curtis, was also in attendance during Mary's preemptive birthday bash.

During an interview with KARE 11, Sui spoke about how her mother's friendship with Benjamin was destined to be. “She was sitting doing nothing," Sui began. And Benjamin was sent to her to make her move and make her go."

Benjamin's own mother Sarah echoed a similar response, making sure to note just how much it means knowing the impact her son has had on Mary's life.

"I've been so surprised to learn how much he meant to her," Sarah remarked.

Sarah continued on, talking about how "I had never thought about it or considered it. I just thought it was two cute people hanging out together," she said. "To know that it's had such a big impact on her is special."

Have you ever had a special friendship that defied age? Does your child have a similar relationship with a friend or neighbor? Leave a comment below and let us know!