Today, like many other sunny days when boys should be playing outside with their buddies, a neighbor kid came over asking if Aiden could come out and play. I told him he went back to his other house last night until next week. The disappointment on the boy's face was evident - even as he was looking down and kicking a pebble with his toe. He was waiting, seemingly, for me to give a different, better answer.
For, you see, he had just come back after being at his other house for a whole week himself. Realizing that he was now on the dreaded "opposite" week schedule from his friend, he had to swallow the disappointment, however small we may think it to be, as he had done countless times before over a million other small things.
I thought about the friendship my own son missed today and I was sad. Only, I was not so sad that he missed out, but that I had already decided not to tell him that his friend came looking for him...as though "protecting" him in this way was any better.
These "1000 small cuts" brought to these boys and so many other children by the adults in their lives go unseen or ignored in favor of much bigger gashes. They have no control or option save to "just" bear it. It's a different kind of death. Today's small cut came from a blade called loneliness.
One parent or the other always not there. An only friend or another always not there. Pretending to not be disappointed or weak always there.
Another sunny day burned by parents who couldn't make it work.