I was an especially dramatic child. In kindergarten, I fell in love. At the age of 5, I announced to my mother that my classmate Toby and I were moving in together. I wasn’t asking her permission, just making her aware of my plans. Toby lived two blocks away, so I packed my Barbie school port and headed out to the sidewalk, but having not long ago moved into town from a farm, I was too scared to cross the street on my own. Returning to the house, I flung myself on my bed in a manner which would have put Liz Taylor to shame, and said to my mother, "This isn’t over you know.”
Fast forward a generation, and my gorgeous baby girl makes a friend in preschool. It isn’t until they hit Kindy that they establish the “bestie” status. Always in photos together, talking about each other to their respective parents at the end of the day and numerous playdates cemented the relationship.
They were our very own Superman and Lois Lane. It was magical to watch.
On February 14, Superman arrived at school and handed Lois, a bunch of flowers that were almost bigger than her. There were smiles all around and lots of parents holding both hands to their heart to acknowledge the sweetness of the sentiment. In a private moment, once the kids were in class, I grabbed our tiny superheroes’ mother and thanked her for the very sweet gesture. She said that she had planned just to buy a single red rose, but when they arrived at the shop he had said they couldn’t possibly buy a red rose as Lois liked pink, hence the huge bunch of flowers that were finally handed over on the school steps.
During the year, at times, they could have been mistaken for an old married couple. There was yard work on play dates and the time we had to go and buy colour specific pom-poms so that Lois could go and cheer on her bestie while he played football. His mum and I were all smiles as we watched from the sideline as she proudly took photos on her plastic play phone.
He was always kind and sweet with her, and we would often comment about their journey through the school years and how nice it would be to watch them grow up together.
One day, as their first school year was coming to an end, there was a heartbreaking moment at school drop off. After a quick trip away, Superman’s mum told me that they were moving interstate and wouldn’t be there at the start of the following school year. My heart sank at the thought of telling Lois, knowing how much she would miss him. I went home that morning and shed a little tear and thought about how to prepare her for her first real moment of heartbreak.
While trying to come up with a plan, I realised that I knew she would be sad but I was sad too. Sad for this picture of a lifelong friendship I had in my head. I also realised at that moment that not only would Lois miss Superman but I was going to miss Superman’s mum.
Before my baby started school, I wouldn’t have considered myself particularly social. Groups of new people make me nervous, and after all the horror stories I had heard from friends, the idea of the school mum mafia scared the hell out of me. As an adult meeting people who you actually like in any situation becomes more of a chore but meeting someone you go on to consider a friend is a water into wine level miracle. Mrs Superman is awesome and doesn’t mind that I use the “F” word as punctuation in everyday conversation.
Back in the day, moving away for a kid this age meant a sad wave from the back window of your parents Holden and never seeing each other again (yes, I am picturing a scene from The Wonder Years in my head.) But thankfully, with Skype, cheap plane tickets and a strong motivation to stay connected, this sweet friendship will endure the test of time and distance. They are already planning their first visit. I know the art of letter writing has disappeared with mobiles and social media, but this weekend I am planning to sit down and write letters to three friends I've had since childhood, who I am so grateful to still have in my life. We’ll miss you Superman and Superman’s mum.