I know that these early school years are very transitory and always changing, but it's all a bit rough for my sweet and sensitive and rather serious eight year old girl. Luckily, she's not a social reject, but more like a confident self-aware single girl who is in transition and finding her on way. She's out of her comfort zone. Sadly, these school years wield the necessary growing pains that are important to experience in order to better understand the gray and complex arena of close relationships. We've had lots of discussions about how she's feeling and viewing all of this friendship stuff, like the type of friend she wants to be, why people do what they do, standing up for yourself, and other sticky yucky stuff. She gets it. It could be much worse. I know she'll be fine. But, well, it's still hard. It's definitely not kindergarten any more.
Her twin brother? He doesn't have a best friend either, but he's not stressing. He has his nice group of boy friends school (I call it "his posse"), his cub scout buddies, and his Star Wars characters. He's content and cool about it.
|That's me and my favorite friends when I was my daughter's age (I'm on the far right).|
However, it's hard when we live in a world where my kids don't have neighborhood friends to casually play with on a whim.
We live in a world where often the burden is on me as a parent to arrange and implement playdates for my kids in order to cultivate close friendships.
We live in a world where social media says we can be "friends" with someone we barely know and can be instantly "un-friended" and don't even know it, yet we are often judged on the number of "friends" on our profile when it really doesn't mean anything.
We live in a world where social media makes it look like everyone else is having way more fun, has way more friends, and where you honestly have no idea what is really going on with people because they only post what they want you to know (have you ever seen a sad profile picture?).
We live in a world with a false sense of being connected, but in reality can go a long time without being remotely social or let friends know what's really happening.
We live in a world where tv shows and movies make it seems like everyone else is part of an extremely close knit beautiful looking group of friends that barely work and are always there for each other. Or the opposite where manufactured groups of reality show "friends" are encouraged to fight with each other, are catty, superficial, judgmental, and narcissistic.
We live in a world where kids are growing up way to fast.
Wait, geez, I'm sounding rather sad and cynical, aren't I? I just want the best of the world for her. I wish I could download all of my relationship knowledge into her mind and save her all the grief and heartache. I wish I could find her that best friend that I know is waiting for her and that they'll be best of friends their whole lives. Darnit!
I tell her things will get better. That's she's just having a hard couple of months. Without dark there is no light. Tomorrow is a new day. That best friend or friends are out there, and you just haven't met her yet or maybe you already have but haven't bonded yet. Lighten up, girl, and just have fun - you are only eight! Deep down I know it's true, but in the back of my mind I know the whole friendship thing will only get more complicated and wonderful and hurtful and happy and confusing and easy and sad and joyful. And then there's puberty and hormones, The Ultimate Game Changer. Yikes!
Good friends are definitely worth it, there is no doubt about that. I know, because I went a few years without them in my early twenties and it was awful. A.W.F.U.L. But, now that I have a handful of really really wonderful friends, I'm extremely grateful. Hopefully, when my little girl, uh hum, big girl, gets to that better place with friends after suffering through these growing pains, she'll feel the same way, too.