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Moving On

I find the endings of things to be very difficult, and goodbyes to be the most difficult of all. Even when I’m the agent of change, and even when it’s a change I’m excited about, the leaving part always leaves me with a lump in my throat.

So it happened that last Friday I checked our mail, found the acceptance letter from Brandeis, felt the initial surge of joy that came with getting into our first pick of elementary schools, and then ran off to pick up Simon and tell him the good news. At which point I pulled into the KIP parking lot, keyed in our security code, realized I’d only be there for three more weeks, and burst into tears.

Next year is going to be a big adjustment for more than just Simon. He’s going to have to get used to a longer ride, a longer day, a larger class, and lots of new people. And I’m going to have to adjust to letting go, as something tells me that the teachers don’t want me in their class every morning watching the kids settle in and making small talk. Nor will Simon be walking down halls he’s known for four years, past teachers who took care of him like family, and past some teachers and staff who have known me since I was at KIP myself.

Some friendships will be changing as well. Which brings me to a story I somehow never got to this year. The day after Halloween, Simon’s best friend Baron, his inseparable buddy since the end of the Itsy Bitsy class and the friend who left KI for another preschool this year, came back. He never quite settled into his new school, and after one particularly telling visit his parents decided to transfer him back to KI for his last year of preschool. He wasn’t placed in Simon’s class as there wasn’t an open seat, but the two boys would still see each other at lunch, on the playground, and during the classes’ shared activities.

It was a very happy reunion, with both boys delighted to be back in each other’s daily lives. Baron would come over to Simon’s class to say hi and give him a hug every morning, and they chased each other like crazy on the playground. The only real downside was that Simon’s other great friend, Braylon, had became Simon’s best school friend in Baron’s absence and felt threatened at his return. Simon didn’t know how to negotiate two best friendships, there was some competition for his attention, and feelings were hurt.

Then the story took an unexpected turn: Baron found a new best friend in his own class, and it’s Simon who’s left behind. I’m not sure how acutely Simon is feeling the pinch, as when he’s told me that Baron has a new best friend, he’s pretty matter-of-fact about it. Like two weeks ago, when I reminded him to wish Baron a happy birthday and give him a hug at school, this is what I heard back:

“Mommy, I told Baron happy birthday and went to give him a hug, but I couldn’t really do it because he was playing with Keon. I think Keon is Baron’s best friend now.”

I wasn’t sure how to feel or what to say in return. Was he upset? Did he need a hug? Or is Simon OK with this? He seems OK, but I wouldn’t be and it’s hard not to project my own feelings on the situation.

The funny thing about this is that I’m surprised and saddened by something that I should have seen coming. Simon is six months older than Baron and has a very different temperament. Baron is all about superheroes, video games, and chasing, while Simon is a little about superheroes, but much more into role-playing and organized sports. Baron finds some of school boring and hard to focus on; Simon loves school and hangs on to every lesson. Baron won’t play with girls (except one who also left last year); Simon loves to dance with Jillian, work on class projects with Nyankot, and counts Caroline and Ruby among his best friends. Simon wants to play basketball with Braylon and the kindergarten boys when they are on the playground, but Baron just wants to run and chase.

As does Keon, who is six months younger than Baron and has much in common with him. So I shouldn’t be surprised, except Simon and Baron were every much as opposite one another a year ago when they were totally inseparable. As Simon comes home as smiley and happy as ever, I’m not going to dig too deeply. I’m just really grateful that he’s met so many boys at basketball and soccer this year, that he will meet even more boys when baseball starts next month, and that we’ll hit the boy motherlode when kindergarten starts in the fall.

But even with all of that said and with much to look forward to, I still find the leavings, small and large alike, to be difficult, and I’ve still got a lump in my throat that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

2 Responses to “Moving On”

  1. blg says:

    Would it be non-PC to hypothesize that boys feel differently about best friends than we do?

  2. Amanda says:

    I was going to say exactly the same thing! Boys seem to not linger on the emotional side of things the way girls sometimes, do, I think.

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