Toddlers. When you’re in the trenches with them, a minute can feel like hours, and not in a good way! But between the tantrums live some of the sweetest moments you’ll experience with another human being in your time here on Earth. Don’t believe us? Here are 15 reasons why you need a toddler as a friend.

10074659836_43d4b362a4_zPhoto: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

Hugs. An endless supply of genuine, perfectly timed hugs, given generously without reason.

Naptime. Every day.

Goldfish and Cheerios. The presence of a toddler requires a constant supply of snacks.

Smiles. Those big, gummy smiles remind you to smile more yourself.

Tears. Those big, heartfelt tears remind regularly you that emotions are normal and it is ok to cry.

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Kids menus. Without your toddler friend, there are no pictures to color, word searches to solve, or games of tic-tac-toe to play while you wait for your meal.

Honesty. They can’t help themselves and the result is often equal parts refreshing and hilarious.

Loyalty. It’s not just about the access you hold to the snacks on the top shelf. Toddler loyalty comes from a true place.

Trips to the park. You’ll never miss the true beauty of the first warm day of spring again. (Or, at least, not until they start kindergarten)

Singing in the grocery store. Or in the car. Or pretty much anywhere. With toddlers, the world is a song.

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Holding hands. All. The. Time.

They shrink the world. Figuratively and literally. And sometimes, we all need a dose of smallness.

Everything is new and, therefore, thrilling. (Leaves in the fall, flowers in the spring, trains and buses all year long. Every single blessed dog that walks by delivers a joyful experience.)

Laughter. It doesn’t matter how old, tired, or just plain bad your joke was. Toddlers make you feel like the funniest person alive.

The best gifts you’ll ever receive. We’re talking acorns, leaves, flower petals, and beads they found on the floor at the mall. Even as you plan to dispose of that mangled dandelion, you know you just received something very special.

What do you love most about your toddler friend? Tell us in the comments section.

–Tricia Mirchandani