Our neighbors are moving back to Japan.
Actually, for their children, it’s the first time they will have lived in Japan. They were born in the states. They’ve moved a few times, and have spent Summers in Japan. But they’ve lived across the street from us the longest.
The children, two boys, are 9 and 7. My son is 8. They’ve known each other a long time. Friendships at this age are difficult. Losing friends is even more difficult.
My son is in the third grade. Third grade is a very important time for social building. It’s a time when children really focus on best friends and spending time with friends; building up their social underworld away from parental eyes and ears. Socially, it’s a time of huge growth. A time to be gaining social confidence. Building trust. Learning how to relate to your peers.
It’s a really tough time to be losing friends. My son has recently lost contact with some friends he used to spend a lot of time with. This has had a big emotional impact on him. And with our neighbors moving away, he is struggling with what he perceives as a dearth of quality friendships. He has planned to play with the boys every day until they move.
It hasn’t worked out that way, children are very busy these days. But he is trying to hold onto something; to savor a little bit of what is left.
Of course, our neighbors have their own challenges. Their children will experience the same loss of friendships. But, they are also moving to Japan at a very difficult time. The recent earthquake has had far reaching effects on the regions around where they will be living.
We’ve been saying “It’s not goodbye; it’s see you later.” For the kids, I wonder.