Childhood Friends

As I was passing out reminder slips to Primary leaders, Jonathan and I passed a house that his friend used to live in. As soon as he saw it, he said, "Wesley’s house." That’s what he does every time we see it (which is a lot since it is just across the street from our apartment complex). And when he plays with the little truck Wesley gave him for his birthday, he says, "Wesley gave this to you." (Again, he doesn’t use a lot of first person language.)

I have to admit, hearing this always makes me a little sad. Wesley and his family moved to Texas in August. We try to correct Jonathan and say, "No, Wesley moved to Texas," but he doesn’t really understand. He still wants to play with Wesley.

I’ve never been on this end of childhood friendships before. I’ve had a few friends move away, and remember one that I moved away from, but I’ve never been the parent watching a child deal with the move. With adults, we can still keep in touch with our friends even after one or both of us move–by mail, phone, e-mail, etc. (though it all depends on how good each is at contacting the other–I myself tend to be pretty bad). But children are different. When Jonathan’s friends leave, that’s probably the last he’ll ever see or hear of them. The same will happen when we leave next year. And children don’t always understand that.

It almost makes me wish I could just not move. :) But then, I guess, that would mean missing out on meeting more friends and–someday–learning how to keep in touch with them no matter the distance.

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