Recently, we learned that one of my younger daughter’s best friends is moving to Boston. They had a playdate the other day, and this is how the conversation went:
“OK, well then can I come with you?” my daughter asked.
“Sure,” her friend said. “That would be great!”
“Mommy, how far is Boston?” my daughter asked me.
“A long way,” I answered honestly.
It’s hard to explain to children what goodbyes mean. I’ve said them so many times in my life. They have come with every transition — new neighborhoods, new schools, new jobs.
And while we always vow to stay in touch, we know that our lives are generally governed by people who live in close proximity to us. Even more than that, they are governed by people we see on a regular basis - our families, our co-workers, our neighbors, our closest friends.
While the internet has shrunk the world to a place where we can see our old friends’ photographs on a daily basis, “liking” someone’s snowman picture is not the same as connecting with them in real time.
Sometimes, Facebook actually makes me more wistful for the friends I have left behind in other places — places like Boston, New York, New Mexico, Los Angeles. I see their photographs of their lovely children that I have never met, and wish we could meet for coffee.
What I will tell my daughter is that the beauty of true friendship transcends time and miles. Everyone knows that seeing old friends is good for the soul. And when you do, if the friendship is for real, you will reconnect like no time has passed.
I plan to do this in a few weeks at my upcoming college reunion. (The anniversary date is purposefully left out!)
“OK, my mom says we can’t move there,” my daughter tells her friend, thinking I’m out of earshot. They are sharing a snack at the kitchen table. “So, I’ll just have to visit every weekend!”
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter at WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.