Right before school started in August, my daughter’s best friend moved away. She only moved 3 hours away, but it certainly wasn’t local anymore. I’ve watched how this has changed Gabriella. It is in subtle ways that unless you know her, you may not see it.
She seems a little lost, I hear close friends of ours say.
She and her best friend met the first day of kindergarten and formed a bond immediately. It’s not like they were joined at the hip 24/7, but they did a lot of things together. When they were apart they still knew someone always had their back. They knew that in any new situation or circle of friends, there was always someone they could count on and lean on or just simply have the comfort of knowing they would be there.
Where is my safety net to catch me when I fall or my tether to keep me grounded? I see her wonder.
I have talked to her about it a few times. She usually just shrugs and moves on, unable to find the words to express what she feels or misses or is searching for.
I get it! I tell her
You see, Gabriella’s best friend’s mom was one of my best friends. She was my safety net. My tether to keep me grounded. The one I knew always had my back. The friend where I could always and would always be myself.
She seems a little lost. They say about me.
I do for myself what I try to convince Gabriella to do: Branch out. Let yourself be open to new friends. Accept invitations to be with new people. Let your guard down a little bit. Okay, let your guard down a lot.
But where is my safety net to catch me when I fall or my tether to keep me grounded? I don’t know anymore!
One thing she has learned even though she is only in third grade is people form their “tribe” early. Most of the girls in her class have been going to the same school for 4 years now. They have their best friends and their tribes. It isn’t written but it is there. She’s made new friends. She’s joined new groups. Yet, she still searches for her tribe. She searches for where she belongs somewhat afraid to let her guard down without knowing someone has her back. I see her searching and wish I could just plunk her down in a group and let her feel “established” there. But, I can’t do that. She has to find her place and her tribe on her own. And it hurts to watch.
It is no different with me. Try as I might, I cannot fit into the tribe that I am around the most either. I try to accept invitations (when offered), I try to join in on the laughter (when it isn’t an inside joke) and I try to open myself up and not keep them at arms length.
Apparently, I am not very good at it. At not keeping people at arms length. No matter how hard I try. I can’t help but wonder if maybe jumping in the way I did was the wrong thing to do.
Maybe I am just a loner and just really put that vibe out there.
Maybe I am incapable of social interaction that lasts longer than a lunch.
Maybe it is the addict in me that doesn’t know how to just let go and get involved.
Or maybe I just really don’t fit in.
I don’t know.
What I do know is that I would give anything for my daughter to be happy and for me to figure out the secret to leaving loneliness behind and embracing new friendships. For now, I will do what I always do…the only thing I know to do: Smile and laugh and never let ’em know it hurts. (Well, that and start looking at places for a fresh start.)