I've talked about it before, and I am sure I will again, but my daughter, L, is amazing.
(I know. I know. Go ahead and roll your eyes.)
Since she was two she has offered out her advice and encouragement to me with a wisdom far beyond her age.....or mine.
She is so accepting of others and seems to inherently know what drives them to do the things they do. She isn't quick to judge and she is patient beyond measure.
(Just ask her brother.)
I have lived in amazement of her for years. My husband and I laugh at her antics, but the late night chats in the bedroom are often times of us sharing our wonder at the person she is and continues to become.
How could we have ended up with a child like this? What have we done to deserve her?
Granted, her sense of humor is definitely her fathers.
And her eyes? Well, they are mine.
But the deeper workings of her mind-neither one of us can claim.
However, last night, as I got home she told me she had something she needed to tell me about and I gave her my full attention as she unfolded the events of the day.
Although I won't go into details, it seems as if those closest to her are causing her much pain.
Many things have unfolded in the last few days. Some as hurtful as notes written and passed to her claiming to "hate" her.
To throw the note away and continue on her way. Even after another child, in another class, encouraged her to bring this to the teachers attention, she didn't. L told her that there was no use. This other child wasn't convinced and apparently brought it to another teachers attention which then brought it to L's teacher's attention.
I asked L why she didn't think there was any reason to discuss the matter with her teacher since it seemed like she was being ganged up on.
She told me that she knew that this would pass and the they would be friends again....."it would just take time".
However I know, because of my own years in grade school, that she is right.
This isn't the first time she has behaved in a manner more mature than my own.
I didn't know it at her age, though.
And although she didn't return the letter to what was one of her best friends (and I am sure still is) with "I still love you" written on it like last time, she still does. Love her.
At her age, and much older, I would have came home and sequestered myself to my bedroom. My stomach would be in knots. I would try to busy my mind by reading, listening to music or writing....but all of these things I would do alone.
The conversations of my mind were too busy to invite anyone into it. I would assure myself that the friendship was gone forever. I wasn't likable, after all.
My inner dialogue generally consisted of me beating myself down and longing with all my might to be anyone other than who I was.
The struggle to know who Kim was, and what Kim wanted, went on for years.
L doesn't seem to have that same struggle.
But how do I know for sure?
How can I teach someone who continues to teach me?
I don't know what I should do, or should have done. What I should say, or should have said. I do know that I shared with her things that happened to me and told her that she wasn't alone, and I hoped that it helped.
I told her that I wanted to say it would get better, but it probably wouldn't....not for a long, long time.
Girls are just mean. And you know what they say about power in numbers....
I told her that I believe that this little girl, this friend of L's, was really a friend. A friend who was just struggling within herself.
I told her what I know from my own adult experience: when someone truly doesn't like you, they generally don't want to be around you. (And her friend does.) When someone reaches out to purposefully hurt you, it is because of the insecurities and doubt that they struggle with. (And I know this child does struggle.)
I then had to explain what insecurities were.
After our discussion I asked her how she felt.
She said, "Bad". "But it will be OK".
And it will.
For all I know, it already is.
I asked her if there was anything she wanted me to do. She said "No".
I have no choice but to follow her advice yet again.
Times like last night leave me feeling like I should have been given a parenting manual and I pray that I am saying and doing the right things. My heart desires for my children to rise above the worry, doubt, self-loathing and insecurity that all but consumed me in my childhood yet there is no "right answer". No "one size fits all" solution.
They are babies. Eight year old babies- L and her friends.
Each one is trying to find their place in this world. If only they could see that it wasn't necessary to push the other one down in order to get a better view.
Disclaimer: I am in NO way saying my child/children are perfect. They aren't. I'm not. I am saying that based on the only indicators I have to go on (faculty, staff, bus drivers, teachers), L is doing her best to do the right thing. It does my heart good to hear her praises sung. However, I am not so naive as to believe that this is all there is to the inner workings of a 2nd grade world.