When you travel around the world and live in as many places as I do, how do you look at your friendships?
I really looked at this issue as my daughter begins a new week of school in a new country and a new location. Some of you who know me personally, would know that I was having a bit of a tough time trying to help my 10 year old with her transition into a French high school or college as it’s known here.
The whole summer she was happy as a bumblebee can be. We thoroughly enjoyed the myriad of activities Switzerland and France had to offer with the extra hours of sunshine compared to the Hague.
But come Sunday night last week, my DD1 had trouble getting her things ready for a Monday morning beginning. As a typical mum, I chided her for dilly-dallying only to find her in a somewhat black-faced mood in her room. I asked in my softest voice, “What’s the matter really?” only to have her collapsed in my arms in heaving sobs.
“I miss my best friend terribly. I want to go back to The Hague. But I know I can’t. Mummy, what if they forget all about me? What if they won’t remember me any more?”
This sensitive girl of mine made me teary too. Yes, I totally understood that even though she was worried about having to pick up 2 new languages in her new school (French and German), she was more concerned about the friendships she’d built up over the course of 3.5 years in the Netherlands.
We spoke about friendships and what friendships mean to each other. I shared with her my own experiences as a nomadic person and also having lost good friends over the years without email and Facebook to help keep us in touch. I still have the old letters from my good friends who had moved back to Poland and Bulgaria respectively. I also had a really amazing best friend who left me to be with her God.
I shared with my daughter how I have coped with losing friends and moving on. I also told her how lucky she was born when she was born to still be able to keep in touch with her friends from 3 countries (3 different schools) through emails and Facebook.
As a mother, I can console her and share her woes and fears. As a professional coach, I have given her some tools to help her cope with this difficult time.
What does friendship mean to you?
Atiya Rehman said, “There can be a million miles between you, you can not speak for months or even years but everytime you meet, everything is just how it is meant to be – just as you remember it. Those are real friends”.
Whereas Vanessa Brautigam wrote, “Friends are true friends when you can share everything with them and they won’t tell others.”
And Zee Ali Thompson said, “Real friendship its all about being there for each other”.
Does oceans and mountains hinder your friendships? Do you have different or similar ideas? Have you ever been in my or my daughter’s shoes? Share with us!