His bottom lip stuck out a bit, just enough for a bird or two to perch on! 😉 But to his credit there was not even the trace of a quiver in his voice as he explained that he would be going to a new school next year. He was worried about leaving behind his friends.
I wanted to tell him that there will be many people who move in and out of his life as he grows up. I wanted to let him know that you don’t always keep the friends you had when you were seven years old and that its okay. I wanted to assure him that he’d have new friends and he may or may not keep all of them either.
People change. Sometimes they change while we stay the same, sometimes we change and they stay the same. Sometimes it isn’t change so much as just a parting of ways. And yes, sometimes it is sad to say goodbye to friends. Sometimes people just slip away from us or we push them away.
But I didn’t tell him any of these things, instead we talked about how his new school would be closer to home. How he could ride his bike to and from school. And how cool it would be to go home for lunch instead of eating sandwiches every day.
I didn’t tell him how I still hold a few of my childhood friends very close to me. Nor did I tel him that as I’ve gotten older, as my interests have changed, so have my friends. I didn’t tell him how I’ve had friends for ten to fifteen years and then moved on from them. Not because they are horrible people, but because we simply ended up at very different points on journeys. When you find that you aren’t on the same map as your friend, you can still keep it all together with work, effort and energy. Or you can look at the map and realize you probably won’t be going back that way again. You can be grateful for the friendship while it existed and understand that people change and so do circumstances.
But to a seven-year old this may not make sense. To a seven-year old, this is all too much. But to that same seven-year old there is an amazing adventure, a new path to take his/her journey. And who knows where that path will go? Some place magical? Some place new? New friends? Surely all of this and more are just around the bend as you take the new path!