“A little nervous.” His sky-blue eyes darted with worry, belying his “little” qualifier.
“You’re a great kid, so you’ll make great friends,” I told 6-year-old Cai. Then he talked about what dummies the Thompson Twins are — referring to the characters from the Tintin books and not the ’80s band responsible for the song “Hold Me Now” — and forgot his worries. I kissed him good night. And I felt like a terrible mother, because I’d lied to my son.
Cai is, in fact, a great kid who worked hard to make the friends he has. His preschool teacher once urged us to make play dates because connecting with other children was hard for him. It wasn’t surprising as my husband Matt and I are introverts — happiest when no one calls us and we can stay home.
But in the last year, Cai overcame these challenges. The awkward days passed, and he has close friends who crack up when he says “blistering barnacles” and other ridiculous quotes from the books he loves. Now, after all he’s accomplished and just as he’s feeling at ease, we’re pulling the rug from under him. We’re moving 5,700 miles away, and he’ll have to start all over again.
My lie was the assurance that he’ll make great friends again. Much as I hope this will be true, it might not. Plenty of children go from being social to being withdrawn after moving. My husband was one of them. Read More