Good morning, sweet girl! How did you sleep?
Are you ready for the day?
"Yes, I guess."
What's wrong DQ?
"My best friend ("BF") plays with lot of other kids now and won't play with me or eat lunch with me any more."
I'm sorry to hear that. You know, friends come and go as you both change and grow and interests change. She is probably meeting other kids in her new classroom that she wants to know better, just like you are. It doesn't mean you have to lose the friendship you've had or let go of the warm memories. You can keep her in your heart even if she chooses to play with other kids at recess.
"But I miss her and I want to play with BF."
I know, honey, it's hard when friendships change, but it is part of life. Everybody goes through this from time to time. One of my favorite quotes is: ""It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant."
Then I had to explain what a busboy is and the Dancing Queen asked: "But why do friends go?"
There are so many reasons, baby. Sometimes you start liking different things. Sometimes the friendship is a reminder of something one friend doesn't want to remember. Sometimes there's fights. Sometimes you just become separated by distance. There could any number of reasons or no real reason. It just happens. That is part of life.
"But Mommy, BF's dad told her she was no longer allowed to play with just one kid all of the time so she cannot have lunch with me or play with me any more."
"Why would he say BF can't play with me any more?"
I had to do some very fast thinking and try to hide the anger and frustration I felt at this man I have never met.
Dancing Queen, I don't know why specifically he wants BF to not play with just one kid, but lots, but I can imagine he feels this way for the same reason we send you to the school you attend.
"Why is that, mommy?"
Well, did you know your school is one of the most diverse schools in the state? There are all types of kids with all types of backgrounds at your school. With so many kids with parents from around the globe, you get to learn different things and the more cultures and backgrounds you are exposed to, the better person you will be because you can understand more. I would guess that BF's dad wants her to learn about other people so that she can have a broader knowledge of people and understand more about life.
"I don't understand, Mommy."
Do you remember the many conversations we've had about people doing bad things to others simply because those people looked different or believed differently?
"Yes. They shot Martin Luther King and killed people in Paris because they were different."
Yes. One way to help stop that sort of hate is to get to know other people, different from yourself, with different backgrounds, different cultures, different religions. Because as you get to know people who are different than you, you realize that . . .
"We may be different on the outside, but we're all the same on the inside."
Exactly. Think about your class. Does everybody look the same? Do they all have the same skin color? Wear the same clothes?
"No, but Mommy, if they looked inside me, they'd see I'm different."
When we say we are all the same on the inside, we're not talking heart and lungs. We're talking feelings. Each of us feels sad sometimes; each of us feels happy, angry, lonely, scared sometimes. We are all the same on the inside because we all feel--just like the movie "Inside Out". That is how we connect with other people--through feelings, through talking and learning that we all feel.We can all hurt and be hurt. We can all laugh and smile. We all love. Everyone has that in common.
"But Mommy, why would BF's dad not want her to play with me?"
My guess is that BF's dad wants her to talk to lots of people, to learn about them, to connect to them, so that she can understand more people and learn different ways of life. And by telling her to play with other kids, he's not saying she can't be your friend any more, just that she needs to meet more people and get to know them. Just like you became friends with V for the first time this year. She is from a very different culture than us, right?
"Yeah! The Indian dance she does is so fun and different."
But you two are similar on the inside, right?
"Yeah. We both laugh at the same things."
BF's dad probably wants that for her too.
It's okay if it hurts. You are allowed to hurt when you can't play with your best friend much any more. But remember, this is your opportunity to get to know somebody else as well. No matter what happens with BF, you can still keep her in your heart.
After hugging my sweet seven-year-old for a very long time, she slowly walked away to brush her teeth.
Hours later, I still can't shake the feeling that washed over me as DQ told me all of this. I was sad, angry, frustrated, hurt, all of the above and so much more.
I've been dealing with DQ and friends (or lack of friends) for years. She's never quite fit with her agemates, but BF was different. BF loved her even through their differences. The girls lit up when together. BF would push DQ in her wheelchair so DQ could come along. BF is one of those girls all of the others want to be like, but she would choose DQ to talk with and laugh.
Earlier this schoolyear, DQ was not invited to BF's birthday party. I knew about this through Facebook and it hurt, but DQ did not know (at least she did not tell me). I figured the girls were drifting apart, but after that, whenever they were together, the girls were the same as always. There'd be a ton of other kids around and BF would seek DQ ought to have fun together.
Then, this morning, learning that BF's dad doesn't want BF to be best friends with DQ any longer, it all came together.
If DQ has been mean to BF, shouldn't I have been told?
DQ would have told me if they had had a fight. She always tells on herself.
If DQ and BF were transitioning apart, why would BF be forbidden to play with DQ? Let the friendship take its natural course.
The only reason for forced segregation of the girls, at least in my head, is because DQ is dying. Logically, I can see a dad rationalizing that ending the friendship before DQ dies would make the death hurt BF less.
But . . . REALLY?
Teaching your child to abandon (and ostracize) their terminally ill friend because being close to them is too hard seems like a totally fucked up lesson.
Maybe that's why so many people do cruel things in this world: rather than facing the hard lessons, people choose the easy way out and go around the mess. Personally, I feel like we need to admit that life is messy and part of growing up is learn to deal with the mess, even though it is unpleasant and hard.
Maybe I'm all wrong. But if DQ has done something wrong (other than dying), I
wish they would talk to us so that she can know how her behavior affects
No matter what the reason behind BF's dad's decision, it sucks and it hurts that two kids who were the best of friends have to be torn apart rather than life taking it's natural path.