Exactly one year ago, I took my daughter to Kindergarten school bus orientation. We had moved to a new town in the late Spring and had spent the Summer entertaining ourselves since we knew absolutely no one. A couple of weeks prior, I had brought my daughter to a play date with other incoming Kindergarten families. She spent most of the time anxiously hiding behind me and digging in the playground wood chips. I was a bit skeptical about how Kindergarten was going to go.
As we lined up in the elementary school hallway waiting for the bus to pull up, my daughter found herself standing next to another little girl. In unison, they looked at one another as if they knew each other from a previous life, reached out to hold hands, and then proceeded to walk onto the school bus together.
In that moment, I had witnessed my daughter make her first best friend.
I found this little girl’s mother standing close to me, and we both smiled at how our daughters had seemingly become fast friends. She was nice, new to town too, and we exchanged numbers.
When class assignments were released, our girls weren’t put in the same class. We were disappointed. And, if I am being honest, I thought this would mark the end of our girls’ fast friendship (out of sight, out of mind – they were only five years old, after all).
How wrong I was.
Our girls remained thick as thieves. I saw in them what I see in friends who have spent years cultivating a relationship. They were, as we would end up calling them, soul sisters.
And, lucky for me, I made a friend too – the type of friend I have trouble making at this juncture in life. We texted about random things, met up last-minute with the kids (her son is the same age as mine, and the boys loved each other too), went to movies on weeknights, and sat in the car afterwards talking about nothing way past bedtime.
These friends became our anchor in a new place when I often felt lost and out-of-place.
And then, one day in June, after a magical school year of friendship, they broke the news to us that they would be moving out-of-state.
I procrastinated telling my daughter about the move. I didn’t have the heart, guts, or words to tell her. We ended up letting the girls talk about it on their own first. They sat on a beach blanket just in front of us and I heard the words, “We’re moving,” spoken low over snacks. I thought there was a good chance my daughter did not even hear or comprehend what was said.
But she did. We talked about it over dinner that same night. She seemed to take the news well, though I knew her true reaction would rear its ugly head days, maybe weeks, later.
We made a going-away bag for my daughter’s friend, including a card and best friend bracelets. We talked about the magic of pen pals and FaceTiming. We met one last time to play in the park, exchange gifts, and take a trip to the ice cream shop. They hugged each other and wouldn’t let go. My daughter cried on the way home. I cried too.
They are gone now.
No more trips to the beach or the pool, and no more moms-only movie nights. We will start a new school year without our anchors. I feel sad and a bit lost again, as if we are both starting over in this new place for a second time.
Every day, my daughter mentions how much she misses her friend. I tell her I am sad too, and that’s okay. Saying goodbye to friends is hard. We have grown to love each other, and that is something we should be thankful for. While we may miss our friends, we should hope for them that they find happiness in their new home.
My daughter will find her way. I credit this magical friendship for opening up my anxious girl’s heart. She no longer hides behind me, knows what she likes and who she likes, and has many other wonderful friends with wonderful parents. I know with some effort on my part, I will make more friends too. But I still feel as if there has been a loss of what was a friendship destined-to-be. We will all remain friends, I am sure. But we will all miss the ease of having soul-sister friends living around the corner.