We have all been there. Our minds can be a battlefield. A maze. Full of twists and turns and spirals that lead us to untruths and shame. And I will be the first to tell you, I get stuck in this labyrinth more than I would like to admit.
My kids, and all kids, for that matter, have the raw honesty, bluntness, and curiosity to see through all that and ask the hard questions. The kind of questions as a parent you are not expecting, or wanting to answer. The ones that make you take a deep breath and think, “Oh, boy. How am I going to answer this one?”
And when your kids have seen a whole other side of this world that most children can’t even imagine in their nightmares, they are full of these deep questions.
Driving my oldest to play therapy, he simply asked, “Why don’t we see our friend (insert your own lost friend here) anymore.” In the longest 5-10 seconds of my life, my mind raced between:
Lie. “They have to work a lot.”
Dive into the complexity of adult friendships and how you don’t really understand why you don’t see them anymore and it makes you so angry and you are so hurt and that person sucks and so on and so forth.
Change the subject. “Look! There is the high school where you had swimming lessons!” Or
“I don’t know,” and then drive silently in shame.
I took a deep breath and replied, “Buddy, I know you miss them. And I’m sorry. I miss them too. This is what you need to understand about friendships and it will be true throughout your life. Some friends are in our life for a very long time. Like a family member. Other friends are in our lives for a period of time and different things may make that period of time end. But we are thankful for the time we had with them and cherish the memories. And some friends are in our lives for a short period of time.”
Kids keep you grounded. Speaking this truth aloud to my son I think gave more peace to me than anything. It pulled me from my spiral and shame and reminded me friendships come in seasons. And while this season had ended, what a meaningful one it was. And I am so grateful for it and I can relish in that rather than wallow in the loss of it. It is okay to grieve it’s end, but not to beat myself up over it. And it took a 6 year old to remind me of that.
That has carried me through this past year, as I have had a few more friendships seasons end. And again, I got lost in the twists and turns of shame, but I have my son’s question to guide me back to my center.
We can look back on our friendships for what they were. Appreciate them. Realize they may just in fact return like the actual seasons themselves or they may be gone forever. However, each friendship is a blessing, full of cherished memories, and exactly what I needed in that moment. As we grow, we may return back or we may find a new season. And with that, I can rest in peace and hope.
Enjoy your seasons, friendships, and memories my friends!