Expat kids: When friends leave
When my son is in pain, I feel it, too.
And I don’t mean in an empathetic sort of a way: When he’s in pain, I really am in pain, too.
I first noticed it when he was six months old and he rolled head-first off the bed onto the hard bedroom floor. While he recovered after a long burst of screaming, I had a headache all night. You could discount that as brought on by the stress of the accident, but it’s not the only time it’s happened.
Last week, I let DS have a Polo mint in the car. I know, I know, you don’t need to tell me what an idiotic decision that was. Two minutes later, as I hit 130kph on Emirates Rd, I realised there was no sucking or crunching to be heard from the back seat. Just a muffled, “Hurts. Mummy, hurts,” as DS clawed at his throat.
Pulling over and ripping open the back door to check he could still breathe, I felt the choking, burning pain that getting a Polo stuck in your throat would produce. I could even taste the mint. My psychosomatic sore throat lasted long after he stopped complaining about his. (DS survived – though he won’t be having any more Polos till he’s at least 30.)
But it was last night that I’ve felt the most pain on behalf of my son. At 8am tomorrow, his best friend will be on a one-way flight to the States. DS and his buddy have known each other for a year – and, in a two-year-old’s life, that’s a long time.
Best Friend lives about 10 houses down from us; the two boys are in the same class at nursery, and they play in the park together every single day, squealing with excitement when they see each other.
Last night, I couldn’t sleep because I was so sad for DS. Today, when we said goodbye to BF and his mum for the last time, she and I both knowing we’ll never see each other again, I shed a quiet tear.
But how I’m going to break the news to DS tomorrow, when he realises his friend is no longer there, I’ve really no idea.