What do you do when your little boy cries his heart out to you because he is feeling lonely?
Well if you are me - you bawl your eyes out too and then spend the rest of the night feeling like a totally shit parent for not picking up on this earlier.
It's been a bit of a sucky period on the parenting front this past week and yet I have no one to blame but myself.
My youngest munchkin was in tears the other day because he is feeling lonely and oh my Lord did my heart break for him.
Being the youngest of the three boys, I guess I tend to take the easy route with him. I just figured that he has two older brothers and a street full of kids to play with and he has always just seemed so ... I don't know... independent? And so I haven't been as proactive on the whole play date and friendship thing with him as I now know in hindsight, that I should have.
When we were talking as a family the other afternoon about sticking up for your besties and all that kind of stuff, I should have noticed he went quiet. But I didn't, at least not until later when I looked back on our conversation.
Later that night he came into my room and sat on the bed and quiet little tears rolled down his face.
"Oh baby, what is wrong?" I wailed as I hugged him tight.
"I don't have a best friend" he wept quietly.
I had no words.
I mean I could have said best friends best shmends and all that, and pointed out that he has lots of lovely friends and that best friends will come and go and blah blah blah. But I couldn't, cause I know the pain he is feeling because I felt it at his age too and damn it hurts.
When I was in primary school, I was in and out of hospital all the time. I'd go into hospital with a best friend who promised to remain besties no matter what and by the time I got out of hospital, I had been replaced and she had found a new bestie in another girl.
There is no denying that not having that one special 'best' friend who you can always count on, to tell your secrets too and who you know will always be there for you... well not having one of those has the potential to make you feel lonely - especially when you are a kid.
Why did I not think about this with my own little boy?
With his older two brothers I was far more proactive on the play date front. Admittedly more so with my first born because well, play dates were new and exciting and something that I guess I just did without much thought because I assumed it was just kind of expected and all that.
Three kids later, school, a whole lotta homework, sports and a full time business - I guess I just forgot about the play date thing and as I mentioned earlier I figured he has two older brothers and a street full of kids to entertain him so play dates weren't all that important really.
Except that they are kind of important... in his eyes anyway.
And they are important to the kid that feels like he is missing out on getting to know his school friends outside of school.
They are important to the kid who acts all confident, but is the complete opposite on the inside.
They are important to the kid who is the youngest of three boys who feels left out by his older brothers who tend to hang together more because of common interests.
I'm also ashamed to admit that I sort of thought all that bestie business wasn't as important to boys as it is to girls. Except again it is important when you are a kid at school and it feels like everyone is the world has a bestie... except for you.
Shame on me for being so ignorant and narrow minded to just assume that a boy feels any differently to a girl.
I was talking to some fellow mums from school after my heartbreaking chat with my little guy and we kind of came to the conclusion that there is a lot of pressure from books, movies and even society to find that one special bestie in life.
Often us parents even ask the question "so who is your best friend?" naturally just assuming that they have one.
We also discussed play dates and sadly realised that sometimes not being actively involved in play dates can also lead to other things too - like exclusion from birthday parties and get togethers and being asked to be part of a sports team and the opportunity to find that special 'bestie'.
Why did I so selfishly think that I could do less for my youngest than I did for the other two?
What was I even thinking?
Why did I just assume that because he seems a bit tougher, confident and more independent than the others did, that the fact he doesn't have a special bestie would affect him any less than it would affect anyone else?
When I told him I would organise some play dates for him with his school friends, the look on his face was beautiful and yet at the same that beautiful smile from him was as painful as if someone had just stabbed me in the guts with a skewer.
I am a selfish moron. I just am.
Is there anything more heart wrenching than your child crying because he feels lonely? I reckon it's certainly up there at the top end of the heart break list and I just want to wrap him up in my arms and promise to be his best friend forever.
But I know he needs more than me and I can't help but feel like I have really let him down in this area.
First thing on my priority list is to find time.. heck MAKE time for more play dates again.
Second thing, is to not ever again assume that a kid that appears confident and independent on the outside, is feeling that way on the inside.
I won't just assume anything again when it comes to my kids.
Are you proactive with the play date thing?
Have you or your little one ever felt that overwhelming sense of loneliness?
What about when you were a kid - Did you have a bestie?
1. I love it when bloggers team up to help other bloggers and that is exactly what Carly from Smaggle, Christina from Hair Romance and Rachel Devine photography have done with their up and coming workshop - Little Blog Big. If you are in Melbourne on the 20th March - then lucky you! Check it out here.
2. Simplifying life - It's a mission of mine. OK a lifetime mission, work in progress, on the to do list and all that. Vicki from Style on V shared some simple tips to simplify your everyday life and oh the simplicity - I love it. Pardon the pun.
3. You can't go past a good tropical holiday in my books. Ask me where I want to go and a gorgeous island with white sand and palm trees is always at the top of my list. I am forever drooling over stunning images of other people's tropical getaway and this post from The Littlest Things had me drooling like no man's business.
4. Last but not least, you all know what a sucker I am for stationery porn - it's like crack to an addict and my beautiful friend Jayde from Little Paper Lane is my hit. Her and her gorgeous hubby Steve own the most beautiful store in Mona Vale and if you are ever in the area you HAVE to go and say hello to Jayde and Steve or Jayde's mum Karen. Apart from being an active member of and insanely creative family - Jayde is also ridiculously funny and has a blog which you can read here.
OK kids - it's time to start blog hopping for the Weekend Rewind, but before you go - I am stoked to introduce you to this week's fabulous guest host... (like this hilarious spunk even needs an introduction). Say hello to Em from Have a Laugh on Me.