On Friday, Dylan told me he had one special friend at school. He called him his “one friend.” Dylan also told me that he told his friend that he was Dylan’s “one friend,” and the boy responded by telling Dylan that some other kid – not Dylan – was his “one friend.” Ouch.
Dylan didn’t seem upset when he told me this crushing little story. On the contrary, I could actually feel my heart break into a million tiny pieces as I listened, and in a gut-wrenching flash, I saw all of the rejection, loss and heartache my precious little boy will endure in his lifetime. I could barely catch my breath.
We were in the car when Dylan told me the “one friend” story. At a red light, I turned around to evaluate his emotional state (mine was clearly not in a good place), and what I saw was Dylan and Riley holding hands and smiling at each other. From one car seat to the other, they were linked. And laughing.
This image was like magical purple medicine (this is what we call Tylenol in our house). I took a deep breath and told Dylan that Riley would be his best friend forever, no matter what happened anywhere else. He seemed pleased with that, and then he asked me for his snack cup. I guess he was moving on.
After school, Dylan played happily with several kids from his class, including his “one friend” and another little girl, who recently told her mommy she was going to marry either Prince Charming or Dylan when she grows up.
I’m not even going to pretend to understand the relationship dynamics of preschoolers. I just hope it gets easier to help my boys navigate the roller coaster ride of childhood, for their sake and for mine.