Misfortune Has Made Him Supple

From all reports they were the fastest and best of friends from the moment they found each other in Mrs. Padillia’s Kindergarten class.  They were inseparable–held hands, walked and played together immediately and with abandon.  Edgar seldom referred to him by his name–Thomas–instead opting to call him “my buddy”–a possessive that spoke to the full extent of his feelings.  Their similarities–in temperament and appearance–were remarkable.  And last week Edgar had to say goodbye to his other half.  Thomas’ family is moving–a scenario that is familiar to Edgar but that is a significant loss nonetheless.

Edgar moreso than Oscar has had to field a number of goodbyes–for varying reasons, including changing schools three times during his preschool year.  It’s especially poignant because he is so sweet and so amiable and makes friends so easily.  In a new situation, he generally attaches himself to one other person–and then, perhaps sadly, circumstances have historically dictated that he and his friend, for one reason or another, must part.

This is, of course, part of life, and there is nothing, as a parent, that I can do other than to support Edgar and give him the opportunity to express and understand his feelings.  It strikes me as noteworthy, however, that he seems to handle life’s losses so well.  It’s not as if he doesn’t feel them–he does.  He looks at Thomas’ pictures, has a painting Thomas made for him above his bed, asks to call him on the telephone, talks about seeing his buddy again as soon as possible.  It’s just that he is able to rebound in a way that is really quite remarkable.   I’m not sure if it’s the “practice” he’s had or if it’s as simple as his makeup.

It took me nearly forty years to even begin to understand Edith Wharton’s sagacious sentiment: “Misfortune had made her supple instead of hardening her, and a pliable substance is less easy to break than a stiff one.”  That Edgar lives his life internalizing this notion without even realizing it bodes well for him.  Edgar has always been a source of inspiration to me: He does not wallow in loss.  He sees it, acknowledges it, and understands it for what it is.  Then he moves on–loving others and noticing the beauty that surrounds him.   He is five, and he is a role model–without even trying.


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