My daughter is in the throes of her first love and her first heart-break.
I’m not talking about the boy at school she giggles about, or even Zac Efron, who she will openly swoon over, every time she watches a Greatest Showman song on YourTube.
No, I am talking about her best friend…. Her BFF…. Her BFFE!
Evie has lived across the road from us for the past 12 months and the two of them are the same age and share a love of roller-skating. They have had regular sleepovers and have played with each other after school for most afternoons and evenings over the past year. Then, tragedy happened….
Evie’s family moved away.
Martha has always been a happy child. She has always been a positive little soul, in fact if my eyes had been open I probably would have seen her come out of me smiling!
But, the day she and Evie played out for the last time – the day before the big move – my daughter cried like her life depended on it. Body-wracking sobs where she couldn’t breathe properly or catch her breath without emitting loud, desperate wails of despair. It was so hard to watch as her generous, kind and trusting heart broke in two.
It made me remember two of my very best friends from my childhood. The first was Leila. She was olive skinned where I was pale and freckly. She had gorgeous long black hair, where mine was dark blonde and my mum kept it neatly cut into a boring bob or even worse, a pageboy style. She was everything I wanted to be and I thought she was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. We met on our first day at primary school at the age of 4 and we shared 7 years of ultimate BFF status. We did everything together – we wore the same clothes, we discovered Madonna’s album True Blue together; we rode ponies together, and we rode our roller skates together.
Then her family moved down south and I was bereft. Lost. Heart-broken.
We stayed in touch for many years. We visited each other in the school holidays and wrote letters, but it was never the same.
The second friend to break my heart was Debbie. We were young teenagers together and shared so many fun times together as our parents also became good friends: Holidays; Christmas celebrations; birthdays. We were together when we both had our first kisses, we were together the first time we tried to dye our hair (Debbie put on hair removing mousse instead of styling mousse afterwards – luckily we realised before any damage occurred!) We shaved our legs for the first time together. We would sit on my brother’s skate-board, one in front of the other and zoom the mile or so, from my house to hers, rubbing holes into the bums of our high-waisted stone-washed jeans. We tried out make-up together and I still have the hilarious pictures of the glamorous photos we took of each other afterwards.
Then, her family moved down south and yet again, I was bereft, lost and heart-broken.
We stayed in touch for a long time and visited each other in the holidays for a while, but it was never the same.
So, as I stroked the tear-soaked hair from my daughter’s face last week, I told her that she could see Evie all the time, that we would arrange play dates and sleepovers regularly and they could still see each other all the time. “But, it won’t be the same!” she sobbed.
No. It won’t be the same.
In the grand scheme of things, Martha’s heart-break is not a huge explosion of change in our lives and luckily for me and Evie’s mum, they have not moved too far away. To Martha and Evie, it feels like the other side of the world, but in reality it is a five minute drive away, so we are currently managing our girls’ heart-break and the devastating change in their worlds pretty well.
My dad was witness to Martha’s pain and heart-break last week when he was down for a visit. He did his best to comfort her, as we all did. He read her stories and gave her a gentle pat on the pack in sympathy. It is hard in these moments not to miss my mother and imagine her here with us, wrapping Martha up in a huge cuddle filled with love and protection. Telling her that all would be well. Reassuring her and me at the same time.
I did my best. I snuggled her in bed and told her that I am still in touch with two friends I knew when I was her age and that I have other amazing friends who I am very close to and have been for most of my life. “Auntie Ailsa and Auntie Liz,” I explained.
“Well, maybe Evie can be an auntie to my children, like Auntie Ailsa and Auntie Liz are to us,” she suggested tentatively.
“Yes, she could be,” I told her. “You could be friends for the rest of your lives, you just never know.”
“We could get married at the same time and have children at the same time!” her tears started to dry up.
“You could, indeed,” I said.
I may not be the best of friends any more with Leila or Debbie, but we are in touch and I regularly think back to my childhood and the wonderful memories I share with them. Their friendship was a huge part of my childhood; it gave me strength and confidence and shaped who I am today. And, I wouldn’t change anything.
Martha may grow up with Evie and they may well be BEST FRIENDS FOR ETERNITY. But, they may not, either way, they are lucky to experience true friendship and true love.
Archie is not as wounded by his recent break-up.
“He’s been dumped!” Martha declared at dinner a few nights’ ago.
“Oh dear!” I turned to my son. He has had a nice friendship with a girl at school for a few months. They even went to the cinema together a while back. “What happened?” I asked.
Archie started laughing. “I can’t tell you!” he spluttered through his laughs and his face flushed red.
“You weren’t mean to her, were you?” I automatically thought the worst.
“No!” he looked offended, quite rightly.
“Well, what happened?” I asked, glaring at both Martha and Mabel to try and stop them from their hysterical giggling.
“I trumped in PE!” and with that comment he fell off his chair on the the floor and rolled around with shrieks of laughter.
“Was it loud?” Martha screeched in delight.
“YES!” He then went on to make a short, loud raspberry sound he believed replicated the sound his stinky bum had made in PE.
I was dumbfounded. “She dumped you because you trumped in PE?”
He couldn’t answer me. He was on the floor and his sisters had piled on top of him.
Needless to say, he’s not heart-broken. His heart is still intact and for that, I am grateful. I am grateful for two reasons:
- I believe it is best to fall in love with someone you can be yourself with and that includes an occasional trump – even if it is in PE!
- I also believe that heart-break is an inevitable part of a full and happy life, but the longer you can keep it from breaking, the better.
I miss you, Mum x