You have been at preschool for six months now and still love it. You get excited about going and sometimes it seems to be the only thing you can talk about. You have never been worked up about going or ever told me you don’t want to go. I think a huge contributing factor to your good mood about school is your dear friend Sydney who you developed a close-knit relationship with early on. I mentioned before that it took you a good couple months to warm up to the other kids and actually engage with them as opposed to watching them from afar. Sydney was the first girl I saw you frolicking with around the playground, always holding hands. When I dropped you off in class, Sydney was right there to give you a hug and say good morning. When it was time to go, you always made sure to find her to give her a goodbye hug. It is a super precious little friendship you two have developed and special since it’s the first friendship you made on your own without me telling you, I’m friends with so-and-so’s mom so you should be friends with her kid. I am so thrilled that you developed a bond with someone early on and you did it all by yourself. You can imagine how horrible I felt when I learned that Sydney was going to be moving away at the end of February. It wasn’t so much as a horrible feeling but more of a WTF! You’re here at preschool for six months and decide to move on!? Seriously, WTF?!
All I can think about is how am I going to tell you and more importantly, will you understand? We can’t get off so easily – you’re first invited to attend her birthday party, you know, to really make sure the friendship sticks before it’s yanked from your little hands. For the course of the month, when I asked you the normal follow-up questions to your day at preschool, you would riddle off all the things you and Sydney did that day and I would ask if you played with anyone else. No? Perhaps you should. No no, not Bella – anyone but Bella. Ok fine, play with Sydney. The month went by so fast and the birthday party was upon us. The party would also be the last time you would see her. According to your Dad, whom I might add braved a child’s party with two kids on his own because I had a baby shower to go to – big props! He mentioned you two were inseparable and when it was time to leave, you cried. Sydney quickly came to your aid and told you not to cry, you two would see each other again soon. It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t there because I probably would have forced every one to join in one huge group hug as we sang Kumbaya. Seriously Sydney, if you’re going to be leaving, at least be a horrible kid – scratch Liv or push her down – anything to make the departure less painful. I know Bella would step up.
This past Tuesday would be your first class without your friend. We’ve talked your ear off about Sydney leaving to prevent any surprises and I could already sense a difference about you. You didn’t want to go to school that morning and when I asked you why you told me that “Sydney doesn’t want to be my friend anymore.” WTF Sydney?! Again, I’m trying to explain to you that sometimes people move away but they never stop being your friends – obviously, you, a three year old is not understanding this explanation. You get out of bed half-heartedly and get ready for school. We make it to school but you really could care less. When it’s time to go in, you bury your head in to your hands and start crying. You tell me you don’t want to be there if Sydney isn’t there. Thanks a lot Sydney. Your teacher sees me struggling with you outside and quickly brings you in. This is typically where a distraction can be made so I can make a seamless escape. No, this is not happening this time. You begin to scream and throw one of the biggest tantrums I have ever witnessed. What was briefly a happy classroom filled with chattering and laughing children quickly comes to a halt. I see their little happy faces slowly turn to dread as they’re witnessing you flail your body in your teacher’s arms while screaming violently. That’s my cue to leave and of course, never a situation that makes a parent feel warm and bubbly upon departure. I walk away so sad that you, a three year old, has to deal with this level of dissappointment. It’s not fair. You will have a whole life of dissappointment, why does it have to start now? Sure, we can plan play dates but it won’t be the same. She was a special part of you and you clearly don’t understand because you’re dealing with a heartbreak of someone you think no longer likes you. This absolutely kills me as a parent.
I’m beyond myself when it comes time to pick you up and I can only imagine the worst to how your day went at preschool with out Sydney. I picture you playing in the sand by yourself and eating lunch by yourself as you watch the other children playing together from afar. All of this isn’t helping the least bit and I expect to open the door to see you huddled in the corner with a swollen face from crying uncontrollably for four hours straight. Instead, you come bouncing to me with the biggest smile holding the hands of another girl as you proudly announce, “THIS IS KAYLEE, SHE’S MY NEW BEST FRIEND!!” According to your teacher, you shed a tear for Sydney for a solid thirty seconds before moving on . . . to Kaylee. So that’s how it’s going to be? Sorry Sydney, I guess your relationship was as special as a toothpick.
I was shocked and then relieved. You were able to let out your emotions and move on. Looking back, I’m almost envious. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to throw a massive tantrum in public over my disapproval over something but we adults have to display a crappy thing called self-control. You dealt with it the only way you knew how and you were able to move on from it. Maybe we adults can learn something from this. Perhaps our bottling up of emotions is the sole reason we hold on to things for far longer than necessary. It’s not as if you have forgotten Sydney – you remind me on a daily basis that she has moved away but the pain isn’t so crippling that you’re consumed by it.
You’re much smarter than I give you credit for and I’m beginning to understand that a lot of your frustration is me and Dad not taking you seriously. The other day you were being reprimanded . . again. As you walked away, you shook your head and said, “this is ridiculous.” You’re sassy and smart and that is what’s going to make you Queen of the Universe one day. I’m proud of the way you dealt with your first big heartbreak and I have confidence that you will be a strong woman one day. Good job O-Bear.