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Wouldn’t it be nice if LIFE came with instructions?

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August 2, 2013 by vlittle528

Adjusting to my son’s first week of school has actually been harder on me than him I think. The longer school day has actually been fantastic for him, his smart little brain is loving the extra time that it is getting stimulated. I, however, spend that extra time thinking about how much I miss him and wondering if I could have enjoyed him more when he was little and still at home.

One of the hardest things about it is not knowing what my sweet little guy is doing all day long! Sure he tells me about playing ‘Heads up, 7-up’ and ‘four corners’ and what was for lunch, but if I were to go on just what he tells me, he hasn’t had any sort of significant education in the past week.

Today was the most talkative he has been. As soon as he walked out the door he shouted to me that he had three things for me. First he whispered to me that he found his dream girl and then pointed to a cute little girl walking away. I asked him what a ‘dream girl’ is and he said “you know, the girl you dream will be your girlfriend someday”. The second thing he told me is that she made him a spider out of yarn, and the third thing was that he and his new friend decided they were going to have a slumber party at MY house and his Aunt said it was okay (???).

Then he said that his friend asked his little dream girl on a date. I asked what a date was and he said “you know how you and daddy go to a restaurant sometimes? That is a date, a boy and a girl going out”.

And then we talked about his friend a bit. He has only been in first grade for a week (only four days, actually) and his friendship with this other little boy reminds me of a middle school clique of girls. One day they are friends, one day they aren’t. One recess his friend says that if my son plays with someone else they won’t be friends anymore, the next day the little boy says that he doesn’t want to play with my son. And then finally they decide to have the same girl be their ‘dream girl’.

Through this week, while dealing with the angst of my son going to school all day, I have been dealing with my own issues. I have really tried to make my life drama free, but sometimes you just can’t help but have a trying week. After all, those are the times that teach, right? It just happened to be that in addition to other issues, friendship issues decided to jump in my life as well. And all of a sudden I don’t know who is being the most reasonable and mature out of the five (well, four since one of the people in the situation I no longer consider in my life at all. As far as I am concerned, she is a stranger I would never want to meet). My son, his friend, me or my friend.

My son and his friend are still wading through the waters of learning what friendship is and what it means to them. Theirs is innocent and new, fresh and fun. The problems may seem silly and small to us, but to them they are as large as life itself. To them playing with someone else on the playground is the equivalent of someone betraying our trust or secrets at our age. So I listen to my son, to his worries and his advice, and I try to put them on my level. And then I think of what I may say to him when he gets older and he finds himself in my shoes.

What do I tell my children about loyalty? And loyalty to whom? The friend you have known longer or the friend that has been wronged? I tell my son to stand up for himself and he ALWAYS stands up for his friends, but do I tell him to stand up for them even if it means getting in the middle of two friends? Or do I tell him to ignore it, even if the betrayal was extremely hurtful to one of them? What do I tell them about trust, and how to become a trustworthy person? Where is the balance between opening yourself up to others yet holding back enough so that you don’t feel betrayed?

I don’t know. I am still trying to figure it out. I am still trying to see things from the other side. I am still trying to live and let go.  I try to think of what I would say to my children about friendship when they are a bit older, something more than just the typical ‘if they don’t like you for who you are then they are missing out, not you’. I guess what I would say is be true to yourself, be true to your feelings, and listen to your heart. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt, give them room to make mistakes, and forgive when you can. But when you can’t, if they aren’t there for you, if they betray you or break your trust, then use your head to protect your heart.

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