It is the season for farewells, here in Bangkok, since most company moves are timed to coincide with the end of the school term in June.
Several of Moppet's little friends from our building are moving this year - by end July, they will all be gone. Moppet is too young to understand or care, but these kids have become my friends as well and I will miss them.
They were my first friends in Bangkok; I was welcomed into their world the day I first showed up at the building park with 9-month old Moppet in tow.
The little girls were chatty and bold. They came up to ask me my name, Moppet's name and what she liked to play.
4-year old A was not particularly impressed with Moppet's abilities. Can your baby walk, she wanted to know. Not yet, I replied. Well, my baby can walk, she said with pride, referring to her 15 month old younger sister. A month later when Moppet took her first faltering steps in the park, she was still not impressed. My baby can run, she said. And she has more teeth!
But if Moppet fell down and cried, A would be the first one to run up and comfort her. Would she like to hold my doll, she would ask anxiously, holding out her well-loved mermaid doll. Give her some juice, she would demand, offering her own juice box.
The little boys were much shyer, and took longer to come around. But very early on, I noticed that they would perk up and start showing off when Moppet and I arrived at the park. Who could jump higher on the trampoline, who could climb on top of the swinging train, who could kick the football harder... the show was on, with sidelong glances to check if we were watching.
And then one afternoon, 3-year old P sidled up to show me his new Thomas underwear, and I knew that Moppet and I were now in the magic inner circle.
What amazed and touched me was the gentleness and patience with which these kids treated Moppet.
3 year olds P and L would cut out their acrobatics on the trampoline and sit on the edge and bounce Moppet gently up and down on it, long before she could even stand by herself.
6-year old P would walk her round and round the park, showing her flowers, and talking about her day at school.
7-year old Ab, while a bit of a terror among his own age group, loved performing for Moppet, with monkey faces and funny sounds, making her scream with laughter.
These are Moppet's friends. My friends. For those lonely first months, the park was where I was welcome without question.
And now they are all moving away. I doubt we will ever meet again. They probably will not even remember Moppet or me in a few months time. Moppet certainly will not remember them.
No matter, I will remember for all of us.
Goodbye, my friends. Thank you for the friendship and camaraderie. I wish you all wonderful lives, wherever in the world you may be.