Drew has two best friends. They are twins and they used to live right next door. We shared a driveway so our two yards combined to make one big one. Drew loved having his best buddies living right next door from him, it was like having a permanent playdate. If they weren’t in school, then they were together! We never needed to have organized playdate. They just happened. The kids would run back and forth between the houses. They all learned how to play sports together. My husband and older son were their teachers and they took it all in, begging for more hours of daylight in each day so that they could keep on playing. The garages were filled with playground equipment, bicycles, skateboards, scooters and every type of ball you could imagine, providing hours of outside fun!
It was the perfect situation for “The Three Musketeers”, until a few years ago, when their parents got divorced and they had to sell their home. Fortunately for us, they only moved across town. It was only a one mile move but for the boys, it could have been across the country. No more running outside to meet in the backyard. No more late nights in the yard catching fireflies or hanging out on the back porch. Now it would take some effort to get together. Yes, they could walk. Yes, they could call, but there is nothing like having your friends right there, close enough to yell to each other from the windows if they wanted to. For me it was awesome as well. I adore their mom. She and I are great friends and when they moved away, we kept in touch with email and texting, or we would go out for dinner or a drink now and then, but still, it was different not seeing her on a daily basis when we were so used to it! We trusted each other with the kids. We could leave them with each other knowing that they were always in good hands.
Now that the boys have finished elementary school, their mom has decided that it is the right time for them to move again. They are not going terribly far away, about an hour and a half drive but this is going to be rough for Drew. He still gets angry that they moved a mile away! He feels like something was taken away from him. There are not a lot of kids on our street his age anymore. This frustrates him immensely and he asks over and over again if we can move to a street “with lots of kids”. I totally get it. I don’t have that close relationship with any of my neighbors that I had with their mom. There is a void in our lives. I agree with Drew. I love my house. I do not love my street. My neighbors and I are friendly. I just don’t have a close bond with any of them. Drew and I crave lots of friends, socialization and activity buzzing around us all the time. We want to walk out the front door and have a bushel of friends to choose from so that we can “hang out”. We don’t have that now. We can schedule playdates with other kids. Drew would enjoy that, but scheduling is such a hassle. Having your best friends right next door, never required a schedule.
I am happy for their family. I know that this is the best situation for them and it is going to be a great move. The boys all have smart phones now and can text each other whenever they want. They do that already. I am sure that they will continue to keep in touch that way. They can Skype – Drew understands all of these options…but having time with them in person, sadly will be less frequent. It will require an effort for all of us to get together, but our friendships are strong and there is a bond that will keep us tied. We may have to make plans ahead of time now, but I am confident that we will find a way to make the time to get together.