My son’s heart was broken yesterday. It was the first day of school, and he was most looking forward to meeting his friend from last year on the playground at recess. This was his first best friend. They had sleepovers, invited each other to their birthday parties, and called each other diggity-dogs.
Thursday night was the school’s open house, and he was disappointed to see they were in different classes. Nonetheless, he was up bright an early yesterday, ready to go to school, ready to meet up with his diggity-dog at recess.
But when he came home from school and told me about his day, tears welled in his eyes and his chin quivered. “He told me we couldn’t be friends anymore,” came his shaky reply. No rhyme or reason, just a severing of friendship. My heart broke with my son’s.
Through his childhood, tears will be shed as we leave behind friends and move on to the next duty station. He will sadly wave goodbye as neighborhood playmates pack their belongings and PCS. He will struggle with the emptiness of his father leaving for the field, TDY and deployments. Such is the life of a military family.
But this was different. Though a part of every child’s growing-up experience, it was hard for me to deal with. I couldn’t explain why; I couldn’t make sense of it for my son. I could only clasp him tightly to me, and shed a tear with him. My husband gently hugged him, and told him things would be okay. As he tucked my son lovingly under his arm, he also tucked a nugget of wisdom in his heart…True friends stick with you through it all, and you really only want true friends by your side.
I know by the end of next week, he will have formed a new friendship. The pain of this experience will fade. But right now, there is a sadness in his step, a softness to his voice, a dimness to his normally bright smile.