The other day I walked with Aiden partway to his bus stop. On the way he just looked so dejected as he quietly asked, “Do I really have to ride the bus? I hate the bus.” We got to the park and he went one way and I went the other to continue on my morning walk. As I got to the other side of the park, I looked back and I could see *all* these 7th and 8th graders waiting for the bus, standing in groups and pairs, and I could hear them talking, laughing, and joking. And I saw Aiden. Alone. Looking around and kind of holding/wringing his hands (like he does when he gets anxious). It broke my heart to see my wonderful, funny, friendly, smart child feel so alone.

After dinner last night Dallin declared that he is lonely, that he doesn’t fit in anywhere, and he’s just so tired of being different from all the other kids. He has one good friend, but that’s really it. Again, it broke my heart.

This morning Parker was frowning as I drove him to school and he just kind of sat in the van for a minute. He is sad because he says his best friends are saying mean things to him lately. Parker is definitely my most outgoing and friendly child, and to see him so sad that when we walked slowly into the school with his head hanging down, it took everything I had not to run out and grab him and say “We’re going to have a special day of just us!”

I know that once Aiden is at school with his friends he is totally fine and happy. I know that once Dallin is with his one good friend he is having the time of his life and feels great. I know that once Parker gets on that playground and sees all his friends and starts playing their silly games, he’ll be smiling and running along with them. But in those moments the past few days? It hurts me so much to see them hurting like that. And I don’t know what I can do to make it better. Partly because I, too, just feel so lonely and dejected so much of the time. I have my friends, but when I’m in the house and haven’t seen my husband in what feels like years (when it’s just been since this morning but he gets up and leaves something like an hour before I do and doesn’t get home until waaaay past bedtime, saying I haven’t seen my husband in a few hours just doesn’t feel correct)… when I’m stuck with just a 2 year old who doesn’t know how to talk other than his adorable 2-year-old gibberish… It’s just lonely.

I wanted to avoid a lot of the loneliness I felt as a child for my children. My family moved (a lot) growing up and while I was pretty content starting new schools and attending new churches and meeting new people and making new friends, sometimes it’s just plain lonely. I never had roots. Even today my oldest friends (from high school… I only have one friend from 8th grade and that’s as far back as my friendships go) will sometimes post the Throwback Thursday pictures that include many people from our circle of friends. They went to kindergarten together and had First Communion together or went to the same Vacation Bible School… I don’t have any of that. I don’t have a history with anyone and I don’t have roots to a place or with a particular group of people other than my immediate family. Even then, we all live so far away from each other (I’m in Arizona, I have one sister in Georgia, one sister in England, one brother in Utah, four brothers in different parts of Idaho, parents in Idaho, parents in Texas, and a brother on a mission in New Mexico). It’s not like we can have a family dinner or I can call my sister and say, “Hey, wanna bring the kids over for lunch today?”

So I really thought that by living in one place and working hard for my kids to go to one school and live on a street and in a neighborhood with lots of kids their ages would be an advantage to curb the loneliness. Right now it doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s not always going to be that way, I know that. It’s just… right now.

And my heart still breaks. I don’t like to see my kids hurt and not be able to fix it.

9 responses to “Lonely

  1. Oh Sariah, my heart is so sad to hear about what the boys are going through. I moved around a lot, too, and I know what you mean about wanting to live on one place and missing out on “old” childhood reminiscing with friends. I, personally, always wished I was a boy because my perception is that boys had fewer but more consistent friendships through the rough late elementary school / middle school years. Well, I always felt guilty being a girl for more reasons than that (hence, therapy), but isn’t it weird how life repeats itself? I am just *so* thankful that you are Aiden, Dallin, and Parker’s mother. Would another mother be able to feel the sympathy and love for them in this situation that you do? I am very sorry they are going through this, but they have each other and they have you, a wonderful woman who can understand what they are going through. Love to you all.

    • I don’t know exactly what to respond to, Yvonne, but just know that I love you and adore you and I’m so glad we got to play in band together in high school and got back in touch after our college years! Thank goodness for technology! 🙂 I never thought about the boy vs. girl thing as far as consistent friendships. Definitely food for thought. I have always been grateful to have boys because I feel like boys have a bit easier time being friends than girls to simply because boys are either friends or they aren’t. There’s no in between. And if they aren’t friends, no big deal. They aren’t friends. With girls, there’s so much competition with each other, starting at such a young age. You have your best friends and your good friends and your lunch friends and your church friends and your band friends and your dance friends… And if you aren’t friends anymore, then you are mortal enemies and have to do something to make the other girl miserable (which no, isn’t always the case, but I see it SO. MUCH.). Being married to the man I am I have discovered that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to loneliness. I can comfortably say Ches is just as lonely as the rest of us. He works so hard and so many hours and he just doesn’t get the chance to go “out with the guys”. There are so many times where we know men that are getting together and playing basketball or watching a game or whatever and Ches just doesn’t get to go. He has to work. So he feels pretty lonely, too. He just doesn’t say much about it.

      • I think that the American lifestyle is pretty messed up. I know that Ches is working so hard to provide for his family, and he is stressed out by the long hours and hard work and I know it is tough to make all your commitments and have all the “ends meet” so to speak. There is just no balance in our country. I jumped out of the rat race to find balance and people just cannot understand that and so I have found myself even more isolated than before. Not that the time alone is a bad thing, but I am really surprised by the number of unhappy people who do not realize what is making them unhappy and instead of cheering on someone who is struggling but trying to figure it all out, they put that person down. It just is so frustrating! Oh well, now I’ve sidetracked horribly. I know that everyone can feel lonely in this crazy culture of ours, but I am grateful you and I are connected and I just hope like heck that even the connections through the internet, as fleeting as they are sometimes, are enough to let you and others know that someone out there cares. Because I do. We do.

  2. I am so sorry. Last year, after the move, it was so hard to watch those same things. It is interesting to see how some kids, regardless of how well liked they are still seem to feel lonely because they don’t have any close friends and how other kids with seemingly few friends feel just fine. I am hoping the consistency in one place will help with all of that too for our family. If each of my boys could have one great friend, I think it would make all the difference. Having a husband gone a lot definitely contributes to that. When Mike travels a lot, I find myself if that same boat…just needing someone to converse with. Hope it all gets better soon…watching kids hurt is the absolute worst!

  3. I miss you. And, since I had the same upbringing as you, obviously, I totally understand. Unfortunately, I’ve had to move a lot as an adult as well. I often think if we could just settle down in one place it would be better, at least for the kids, and we wouldn’t all feel so lonely. But I guess that isn’t really so, is it? I wish we lived closer so we could call each other up, but I know wishes don’t help. Sorry. And I love you.

  4. I watch similar things with my kids and it breaks my heart too. One of the main reasons it hurts is that I know that they will have these lonely times for the rest of their life! I live where I grew up. I am surrounded by people that have known me since the day I was born. Yet, I feel more lonely now than I ever have. It’s crazy, really, but true. And some people just don’t get it. They think that if they smile at you at church and say hi, that you should totally feel like you are an integral part of the community and everyone loves you. Not so. Maybe it’s just me, and Jody, and the kids, and you, and Ches, and your kids, and…. Ya, maybe not! I love you!!!!

  5. Cara’s FB post has me revisiting in case any of us have posted since I last checked… sorry to have been so MIA. My heart breaks frequently for my kiddos & their struggles – especially my oldest boy. He seems to struggle more than most. Maybe he’ll be stronger & more compassionate for it, but sometimes it’s hard to see any positivity. I hope things have gotten better over the years & that he has found his niche.

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