"If you're going to chose someone to like, you should try and chose the right person".
She knows she has chosen the right person, "I've never had a friend like this before", and she hasn't. She's a very young fourth grade girl who often thinks like a 43 year old: intensely logical, curious, pragmatic, keenly aware, and sometimes just too practical. When she wants to discuss the first ten amendments to the Constitution she finds very few who take the seat next to her at lunch.
Several months ago she found that person; a friend who moved into her classroom, one who now would be there at recess when she felt like making it a Langston Hughes day. They found a table together in class, right in front, and at lunch.
"Mom, we do stuff, we spend a LOT of time together", and she was happy, because for the first time in a long time she knew that there was someone near who also found a conversation about the Gettysburg Address a worthy use of free time.
"Did you get new shoes?", asks the boy.
"Yes, did you?", answers his friend.
They are standing face to face, inches apart, each pushing up his own glasses in a most entertaining and stereotypical manner.
"I like your shoes", and they giggle, because they are wearing the same tennis shoes, in different colors.
This weekend his family announced that at the end of summer, after only a few short months of being classmates, they are moving to New York. I cried for her because I knew that this was going to be very hard, even for my child who often couches her emotions in a most adult way, and for her mother who has delighted in seeing her child discover a good friendship.
"You can talk to me, you know, if you're sad, about him moving".
"I'm sad Mom. I'm very sad", and she went off to get ready for bed.
Later she wanted to know just how far away he would be: were they going to live in the city? Would we fly to visit? Would he still come here?
"We have a strong bond Mom, we have great affection", and she cried.
We have the summer, and we will make the most of being together. We'll visit, and so will they, and both of our children will be just fine. But when you must lose the one you chose, the one who makes you feel less alone in a room full of people, that's hard to take, when you're nine, even if you think like you're 43.
This post was inspired by the novel Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a novel about summer, and family, and friendship. Join From Left to Write on May 20th as we discuss Bittersweet. As a member I received a copy of the book for review purposes.