Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Saying goodbye

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.


noon said...

Sweet, the warmth of these kids...
Cant you keep in touch with them even if they move?

Poppins said...

Aww that is so sweet.. And a little teary too.

Tharini said...

That's really sweet. Beautifully remembered. I hope lots of new delightful people move in and gladden your heart.

Just a grail said...

Made me cry a little, that was beautifully written!

Moppet's Mom said...

Noon: It would be nice to keep in touch with these kids, but I don't know if it's practical with 3 and 4 year olds. I don't know the families, you see - just the kids themselves.

Poppins, Grail: I know, these kids are the sweetest.

Tharini: Thanks, I hope so too!

SM said...

Beautifully written Moppet's Mom!
I always find older kids' reaction to littler kids very overwhelming. The neighbourhood bully takes great pride when Ananya flaps her arms in response to "birdie fly fly fly". You see he taught her how birds fly.

Sunita said...

Such a sweet post. Its nice moppet found such cute friends so early on.

Moppet's Mom said...

SM: It is, isn't it? They're complete terrors among their own age group, but so gentle with the little kids. It's just awesome to watch them.

Sunita: Yes, I hope the new families who move in are as nice...

Just like that said...

That was a beautiful post. Hope the new people who come in are as nice, and that Moppet (and you) have wonderful times with them too.

In my neighbourhood too, all of us are referred to as so-and-so's mother/father. Talk about loss of identity!