I am a girl who has amazing friends. Some have been around since birth. Since preschool. Since college. Since we met at work. Since I moved to Illinois. But, in that long list of friends, there are some real gems. Seriously, I am a lucky girl. This cannot be overstated.
My boy LM has some great friends too - from school and his cousins - in other cities. Since he joined his little preschool last September, I have been waiting to sense him making real, quality friendships here in Illinois. I quiz him about what went on at school, and listen to the people he spoke about playing with on the playground or when they were doing an activity. Never did a pattern emerge where I got the feeling he was bonding with one or two children closely. So, of course, I kept asking questions.
Lately, though, he has mentioned how one boy he used to talk about as a friend was telling him and his other classmates that he wasn't inviting LM to his birthday party. He asked me why would this child do this to him? He also has said, when I ask who did he play with at school, that he was playing with this child or that child but then they said they didn't want him to play with them anymore, so he'd move on to another until he was told by that child the same thing and so on.
He has been invited to two birthday parties - both were to parties of boys he rarely mentions, so I can only imagine they invited the whole class. It's so nice of him to be invited nonetheless, but both times we have been out of town at the date of the parties. And, both times, I wrote the parents to express his regret, telling them we are new in town and thanking them for including them. Both times we sent gifts to school, and while one is recent so a reply might still come, so far, both times, no return email or thank you note. Normally this would mean nothing, but as I look for something that might mean my boy is making headway in the friend department, this is noticed.
Can I tell you how my heart breaks when he seems so sad? Can I tell you how he says hello to any child we see anywhere, anytime, anyplace, trying to find connection in this new place? Can I tell you how much he wants to play with other children - to be a friend? Can I tell you how much I miss his friends that he knew so well? Can I tell you what a kind, funny, smart, interesting boy he is? Why wouldn't these children find him to be friend material?
In the short term, I am going to speak to the teachers, to see what their perception is, and if perhaps there are some students we could invite over for one on one playdates this spring, or if there are other ways I can talk to LM about this situation. I don't want to swoop in and make it a thing, but I do want to help my boy if I can. I'm sure this won't be the last time my heart will suffer for my boy. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, is it!
In the long term, I know this is certainly a short term problem. I know he will make friends - hopefully this summer in the neighborhood, at camps, at church if we can ever pick one. And in the fall as they begin school together in a new place. He will. But, for now, my heart is breaking for him. Probably more than his heart is breaking about it.
Thank God for friends.
See you soon.