“Mummy, Lana’s not my best friend anymore.”
I wasn’t ready for Jasmin to say it. She’s three. She’s been best friends with Lana since they both started in the ‘big room’ at nursery in September. They draw each other pictures, they both wear Frozen dresses every day. They’re best friends. Or they were, apparently.
“That’s OK Jasmin, you’ve got lots of friends.” I tried to sound like it wasn’t a big deal. I changed the subject. To chocolate. Because chocolate solves everything. (It doesn’t solve anything.)
I tried to forget about it, but of course I couldn’t – so later, I told Tony.
Lana’s a bitch, we both said.
Two days later we were all in the car singing to Portishead, when Jasmin said out of the blue:
“Mummy, Lana said she’s not my best friend anymore and I was sad.”
I did that thing where you draw your breath in quickly because you don’t know what else to do. I mumbled something about how saying that wasn’t nice, but don’t worry too much, and you’ve got lots of other friends, and who else do you play with, and, and, and, let’s keep singing along to Portishead.
My heart is a bit broken for my three-year-old. I want to let her work through this herself, to hold her tight when she feels sad, to let her talk to me about it whenever she wants, and to let her know that she’s OK, that this is OK. But actually, I don’t really know what to do or how to do it. I’m not ready for this – for broken friendships and broken promises and broken hearts. For playground squabbles and words they don’t even understand making them feel things they don’t understand and won’t for years. Jasmin is three. Lana is just four. They’re babies. They don’t even know what a best friend is.
This is another thing in a long list, I suppose, of things which I’m not ready for, which Jasmin isn’t ready for, and which we’ll have to figure out along the way. I have felt her sadness when I’ve realised a friendship has ended, I have caused that sadness at the end of a friendship and I now feel rubbish about it. And I don’t want Jasmin to know any of it for herself.
But she will, whether she or I are ready. Because that’s what this is, I guess. This crazy, gut-wrenching ride that is motherhood. It is day after day of all that we’re not ready for, that nobody is ever prepared for – no matter how much you’ve read or studied or watched or talked about. And I suppose that’s all we can do – let them know we’re here for them to talk about it all. Because at least we can be not ready together.