Monday, April 18, 2011

How frequently the last time comes and we do not know

When I was 11 years old, we lived in Virginia, and I had a best friend named Jennifer.

We were in the same class, and lived about five blocks apart. We'd both grown up overseas. We quickly became best friends.

And one day, one day we had this huge fight. I can't remember what it was about, but I had been wronged. I came home sobbing. We were no longer friends.

This we're-not-friends might've lasted a week; I don't recall. But we went back to being best friends for the rest of the year, and the one following. And then they moved away.

We kept in touch, but sporadically. It was the age of letter-writing, after all, and I was kind of a sucky correspondent.

By the time I graduated from high school in Delhi, Jennifer's family was back in Virginia, living in their old house, about to move on to another country. My family had was just moving back. So five years later, we were once again briefly in the same place.

I was excited to see her. I told my dad I was going over to Jennifer's house. And he made a face. "Why?"

"Why not?"

"Don't you remember what she did to you?"

"What she did to me?"

"In sixth grade?"

I went over to her house. She was packing up to head down to college early for sorority rush. It was nice to see each other. We didn't exchange addresses.

And that was that. I hadn't really thought about her until now, decades later.

Today is my boy's last day with his best friend. Thinking about it chokes me up.

He wakes up in the morning, says, "Hi! ALLarm!" and then "David?"

When the doorbell rings, he always assumes it's them, yells, "David!" and charges for the door. When they are apart, they say each others names about 769 times a day.

They've only been friends for about six months. But six months is almost a third of their little lives.

I know, I know, he'll be fine. He's not even two. At some point, David will fade from memory. He'll go on to have so many more friends.

This is probably more painful for me.

But this is his first loss. Until enough time passes, he will wait for someone who is never coming back. This has happened to all of us at different times, in various ways.

But he won't understand why.

It breaks my heart.


  1. Oh, Lisa, my heart breaks for Jordan, David and both sets of parents. Hugs to you - all week, I know it will be an emotional one.

    Even as adults, sometimes we don't know why people leave and don't come back sometimes. That's been my experience, anyway.

  2. It's always sad to lose a friend. Luckily, you're probably hurting more for him than he will ever hurt.

  3. What the child feels the mother feels ten fold. And I wish it would get easier, but it doesn't. My 17 yo son broke up with his long time girlfriend last week. He was kind, but she cried and he cried and then I cried all week for them both. Crap!(((Hugs to you))) and ((Big J and David))

  4. Poor J! Losing friends is tough, no matter how young you are.

    I have to say I'm so relieved, though, because when I saw the title of the post and started to read, I had this awful feeling that the end of the story was going to be either that your friend Jennifer had died, or that something horrible had happened to David. Very happy neither of those things came to pass.

  5. Oh, I so feel you on this one. We have some friends that we've gotten close to and their oldest daughter and mine (almost 6 and 5) are besties. and their next daughter and my next daughter are also close. the four of them are so fun to watch play and interact. They once had a tea party so fancy that Kate Middleton would be to lowly to invite.

    We found out they are moving to Connecticut for her husband's new job in NYC this summer. I am devasted. every time it comes up - teachers at school, other friends, etc. I totally tear up. I can't even tell Julia they are moving. It's actually too hard. Honestly, i'd rather tell her there's no Santa instead.

    For their birthday's at school, the teacher writes the kids a poem and on the back is a picture that the class has to guess, i.e. your kid dressed up like their fave character. Last month was Julia's b-day and no one could guess the picture b/c it was Julia with the 2 sisters and another friend who moved last year and had come for a visit the week prior. I was bawling.

    At least in these "modern" times, they can skype and chat all they want, although I doubt it will be much different than all the times I moved and lost touch with pen pals. they'll move on I'm sure. but in the meantime, I'm really sad about it.

    it's hard to be a mom

  6. Aw, poor Jordan. I hope he makes the transition well. It is sad. We're dealing with our impending move back to the US, and I know my little guy is going to miss his nanny like crazy. She's the only one who's ever taken care of him besides me and my husband, and they really do love each other tremendously. Ok, now I'm getting misty-eyed. AAAARGH!!

  7. HK - You are so exactly right. Even as adults, we don't always understand. It doesn't always make sense. Hugs to you, my friend.

    Jac - You are probably right, and that makes me feel better.

    Lynn - I never understood that before, but now I do. My mom at some point said she was tired of getting attached to boyfriends that I was just going to let go of. No more! Done! She couldn't take it.

    Wendy - Sorry to scare you. No, nothing huge and tragic. Just goodbyes. Which you and I have had a lot of. And which I still hate. In fact, I've gotten worse at them, not better.

    Carrie - OK, this made me giggle: "Honestly, i'd rather tell her there's no Santa instead." but I completely understand. Those close friendships are just so important, and you don't want your children to lose them. I'd be crying as well. I'm sorry.

    Luna - That is hard. It's such a close relationship! I remember when we lived in Dacca, and my ayah left to take a job in the Middle East. I was devastated, I missed her so much.

  8. We moved from Raleigh back to Virginia when my oldest was 2 -- away from her very best friend whom she had known since the two were babies in-utereo.
    It broke my heart too but we did our best to help Esme remember her pal, Ava. They exchanged drawings and cards, photos and gifts. We went on vacation with Ava's family a few years later and they've come to DC a few times. Quickly approaching seven, the girls still consider themselves best friends.
    So, what DID Jennifer do to you in sixth grade anyway?


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