My four-year-old son’s little friend and his family fly out from Australia today, bound for their homeland of Sweden. It was always going to happen, they were only here for a two-year stint. Yet, it was still a shock when they announced they would be leaving a few months early. I felt myself go into panic mode.
Of course my husband thought I was being a bit melodramatic.
“He’ll be fine, he’ll move on, besides he has lots of other friends,” he said.
“I don’t think you realise how close they are,” I pleaded. He retreated, “Oh, it is sad isn’t it.”
But he is fine, he said goodbye and now he’s focused on having his turn of ‘Kindy Bear’. Maybe next week when he doesn’t see his friend at day care it will be a different story.
However, I’ve quickly come to realise it is my emotions I’m attaching to this. Why is that? There’s something about the security of childhood and friends that you would see regularly. When all you really cared about was when you would get to play again.
I remember doing the rounds of the neighbourhood. I would make rumballs with Chelsea next door. She didn’t seem to mind me interrupting her day even though she was 10 years older than me. Then it was off to old Bert’s place up the road, who offered me the treat of a dry ginger ale. It was the only drink he seemed to stock that was kid friendly, a faithful ally to his Johnny Walker.
Later I would head to Betty’s house across the road, she was like a Grandmother to me. I would often sit on her back steps sharing my choc wedge icecream with her pet Chihuahua Thomas.
Weekends would be spent walking between friends houses chewing on sugar-laden sweets that would send us into hysterics over not much at all. On one of these walks we found a baby bird with no trace of a nest or mother. I carried it home in my pocket so I could nurse it while it grew old enough to look after itself.
Life takes a different course when you are busy juggling work and family. There isn’t always time to see the people you once saw all the time and would talk about anything and nothing.
At times the journey can feel isolating as though you are being insulated from your real life. But if I turn it inside out, it is an opportunity to re-live my younger years through my children, as though watching an ageing VHS movie.
There is such beauty in watching the innocence in young lives and seeing how special it is to have your friends to play with. Not much changes as you get older, you just have a lot more responsibilities competing for your time.
As I reminded my son that his friend would now be flying in the sky he said, “Can I say goodbye to him again?” When I replied that he couldn’t, his response was, “I’m never going to see him again.” I gave him a glimmer of hope by saying they might meet again one day when they were much bigger. A broad grin spread across his face as he jumped up to find Kindy Bear to take for a ride on his scooter.