Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Not a friend in the world

If I were forced to change schools as a kid, I'm not sure how I would have survived. I was painfully shy, self-conscious and unsure of myself. Eager to fit in, I desperately wanted kids to like me. Switching schools would have devastated me.

So, I get how Julie is feeling right now. School started a few weeks ago here in Georgia and she's doing OK. But, she is not exactly feeling comfortable. She tells me every day how much she misses her friends in Chicago and her old school. At recess she plays with "Nobody," so she says. "I just walk around and throw a ball to myself."

I'm not sure I could envision a more heartbreaking scene.

I've encouraged her to ask the other kids to play or join in one of their games. Her only reply is "I don't want new friends. Why do I need new friends? I already have friends back home."

This all is definitely worrisome and sad, but Julie's story is a familiar one. When we moved to Chicago from Pennsylvania, she also insisted she would never make new friends because she only wanted her old friends. Of course it didn't take long before Julie made several best friends in the neighborhood---those same friends she writes to and FaceTimes every week.

While Julie might think her plight is hopeless right now, I know she's a strong girl who will find her way. She's much more resilient and confident than I was as a kid and I know she'll be just fine.

(Johnny, on the other hand, was completely fine from day one. He has found a best friend, a girlfriend and a teacher he loves. I'll save his story for a different blog.)

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