Abby started middle school in the fall. It's stunning to realize that she's on the verge of becoming a teenager. I worry about her; I listen carefully when she talks about new kids at school and then stealthily stalk their parents' Facebook pages to be sure they're nice girls. I'd be embarrassed to admit that, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. Middle school is hard, after all.
We had a conversation the other day, she and I. I asked if she'd told any of her new friends about Logan and she shrugged.
I'm not sure. I don't really remember.
I paused. Then I asked if she talked about family, and if she mentioned having two brothers or three.
Three, she said. Always three.
Then I paused and revisited my original question. Did they know? Had she told them that he'd passed away?
She shifted uncomfortably. I don't know. I don't remember.
I paused again, trying to choose my words with care. I wasn't entirely sure what she'd say, but I had an inkling and I cringed internally when I asked: Why didn't she want them to know when he was such an important person?
She sighed. Because I don't want them to just be my friend because they feel sorry for me.
It broke my heart to hear her say it. I figured that would be the explanation, but it still stung to her the words as they escaped her lips. She deserves better than that. So much better. She deserves to be able to speak freely about her best friend, just like her friends can speak freely about the special people in their lives. But at 11, she knows she can't. She sees where that kind of honesty can lead, and she doesn't want to venture down that road.
It's one of the heartbreaking lessons with which I've had to wrestle during Logan's saga and its aftermath: people are fickle and weird and unpredictable. Some long-time friends abandoned me when I needed them. Others came alongside me and held me up when I could no longer stand on my own. Some have gone on to become great friends and confidantes. Others have completely vanished from my life; it was as if the ambulance pulled away and they were gone, in search of another to chase.
I'm sorry. I know this is harsh and some won't like my words, but if you take anything away from this entry take this: be careful with others' hearts. If you're not ready to be a genuine friend, keep your distance. If you are, then dive on in, but realize that the ocean floor is lined with jagged rocks and that the waves can be fierce and overwhelming. But if you navigate the storms, you'll wind up seeing some pretty amazing things in the end.