I was always a drifter as a little girl flitting from one group of friends to the next. I wasn't fickle, it's just it was hard to maintain that one best friend when you were constantly in and out of hospital and away from school for long periods at a time. It was a coping mechanism, something that just kind of developed organically over time.
Experience proved it was always the same way. I would tearfully say goodbye to my best friend on the day before I would head into the hospital which was an hours drive from my home. We would promise to write to each other and talk on the phone. But it always ended the same - I would return to school some time later to find I had been replaced and my Best Friend was someone else's Best Friend now. And it hurt, it hurt like hell.
And so I drifted from group to group. I figured being friends with everyone was safer for my heart and not attaching myself to anyone in particular was the best armour a little girl in my situation could have.
Until one morning this bright eyed blonde haired American girl walked into our classroom. She sat next to me and we bonded over smelly erasers and pens. We became inseparable and spent all our school hours and out of school hours together.
She came to visit me in hospital, her parents drove her all that way, and she was always eagerly awaiting for me when I eventually returned to school. And then her parents broke the news - they were returning to America and right there and then my heart broke into a million pieces.
And so I was on the search again for a new group of friends.
One morning I found myself in the playground with a new group of girls that I was eager to befriend. They told me we were going to play a game and that I should close my eyes and count to ten. When I opened them, they were gone and I was standing in the middle of the playground by myself. The tears came and they freely flowed for all to see.
One of the girls came out from her hiding place and told me that if I wanted to be their friend, this is the type of game they play on each other. They weren't really being mean, but unknowingly they created a scar on my soul. I couldn't understand why? Why would you want to make someone feel like they were so alone?
That day and that scar changed me for ever. I never wanted to feel so alone again and I never wanted to see anyone else feel the pain of being so alone either.
As I grew up I made a point of being friends with everyone. I would seek out those who seemed lonely and I found that in return I was never alone myself.
Sure there were the typical moments in high school where friendships would sour and then rebloom, and as an adult people would occasionally come into my life for a while only to disappear again. But I have never been really lonely. There is always someone that needs a warm smile, a friendly voice and a welcoming hand.
I never talked to my parents about that moment in the playground. I just didn't think to, but in hindsight it would have been great to have some wiser ears to help me digest what had happened.
These days as a Mum I encourage my boys to be friends with everyone. Its OK to have that one special friend, but don't be exclusive and always keep an eye out for other kids who look lonely or lost and be that bright smile that makes them feel special like they should feel.
I wonder how my kids will cope if they have their own moment in the playground and will they talk to me about it? Has their moment already happened?
Any parent knows that feeling of pure and utter fear that your child may one day find themselves alone in the playground. That tears might fall and you are not there to wipe them and cuddle them and tell them that it will all be OK.
But you have to trust that they will be, okay that is. And that that moment may be one of the most important moments in their life and will help determine the type of adult they will one day become. A caring one.
Did you ever feel the pain of being alone as a child?
Were you a friends with everyone type or did you prefer the safety of that one special friend?
Do you recall any particular moments from your childhood that influenced who you are today?