"You should have seen her, Kathy," Ben's teacher said. "She just cried and cried. She was a mess." They came, ate lunch, told the sweet 2nd grader the news, and then left her behind to finish out the day in a heap of tears. They didn't even warn Mrs. K until that morning, so no party or special goodbyes could be planned. Just here one day and gone the next.
"How long ago did she move?" I asked.
"Ummm...let's see...that would have been about three weeks ago," Mrs. K said reflectively.
I knew it. Within my heart I knew there must have been a reason for the drearier than usual week or so in the beginning of April. And yet, my sensitive man, who doesn't always find the words to express himself,
When I realized all of this, my heart just broke. My heart broke for my son's sweet friend Kaylee. I just couldn't imagine how hard that day must have been for her. Without warning, her whole world changed. The security of life as she knew it was shattered in the span of a 20 minute lunch in a crowded cafeteria. No goodbye party. No special goodbye book or photographs. No opportunities to exchange parent e-mail or snail mail addresses to give at least the allusion that friendships could somehow continue from a distance. No chance to say goodbye to the staff members that weren't present that day. [Mrs. K mentioned that, just a day ago, they found a note taped to the wall for one of the other staff members who wasn't able to say goodbye. Kaylee wrote it and taped it on the wall without telling anyone, with the hopes that this other special adult in her life would find it.] No chance to process the move with her parents prior to returning to class and sticking it out through to the end of the day. "She just kept crying."
I wish I could have been there...to hug her, to reassure her, to tell her how happy I was that she and Ben were friends, to let her know that she would make good friends again soon, to hug her again, to remind her that she is a valuable person, to thank her for making Ben's move to a new school just a little bit easier. I wish I could have been there to show her I cared about her.
I should have known something was up. I just couldn't put my finger on it. I should have known better, but I didn't. Sometimes I hate these life lessons as they can be painfully humbling, reflecting a weakness in my perceived perfection (*note: I am giggling inside as there is NO perceived perfection here. However, I do perceive myself more put together than I am sometimes...and sometimes, I perceive myself less together than I really am. Funny - in a sad sort of way - that we play these silly head games, waffling between pride and insecurity. That is a thought for another day, however). At any rate, as sad as I was for Kaylee and Ben, I was happy to know the root of the ugly that hung around for a few days. I was glad to have a "reason" for the exaggerated yuck. As well, it reminded me that while always finding excuses for crummy behaviour isn't a good thing, understanding when there is something more than meets the eye is. Perhaps this experience will help tune me in a bit more to the moments that I would rather tune out. And, perhaps, it will remind me not to take my Kaylees for granted.
Now, go hug your kid (if you have one) and tell one of your Kaylees how much you appreciate them. And, as always, thanks for reading!