UPDATE TO Mrs. Flinger October 16, 2015
Because the Universe has a wicked sense of humor, after this delcaration, my blog threw up all over my last upgrade.
So I'm starting over using Craft. Turning 40 and kid entering Jr High next year, sometimes it's just time for a change. These archives will still exist in the way the last child goes off to college and their room is the same for 20 years, but it's just time to move forward.
On Loneliness Dec 02, 2010
My daughter came home with her usual bouncy, free spirited, attitude. She usually rolls through the door like an electrically charged ball, so when she flopped through the door with the daily spastic energy I’m used to, I didn’t think to ask if anything could be wrong.
It’s been a few weeks of this now, assuming things are going well, listening to her stories of school, until last week the little girl that usually sits by her on the bus chose to sit six seats back from my daughter. I asked her about it later that day, “Why didn’t Liv sit with you?” “Oh, she and Rose don’t like me anymore. I don’t know why. They just don’t talk to me now.”
Apparently this had been going on for a little while.
I asked her more about what was going on with the girls at school. “They have a club that I’m not allowed to be in anymore. So I started my own club and I’m the only one in it. Well, me and my fairies.”
I think my heart busted in twelve pieces.
“Who plays with you at recess? Didn’t you usually play with Ave and James?” “No, nobody plays with me at recess now. Nobody. I just play alone.”
She stated this with such a matter-of-fact tone that I didn’t want to make it a big deal but, y’all, remember elementary school? Remember how the person that shows up in first grade could very well be the person you are labelled as for many many many years? The bed-wetter? The girl-who-cried-all-the-time? The boy-who-took-his-pudding-and-threw-it-on-a-teacher? I mean, those labels follow you through high school.
No, seriously. Kids are mean.
Since my daughter is new to this school this year, I wanted to give her the chance to make friends in her grade. “Let’s have a tea party,” I suggested. “Invite three of your friends from school that you want and we’ll have a tea party for them. You can use your nice tea party set from Grandma and Grandpa.”
She loved the idea.
The next night she worked on invitations for three of her friends. She sat and drew while I lay on her bad talking to her about this or that. She spent an hour making the invitations exactly right. I confess, I was impressed a bit myself.
Two of the three girls made it to our house the following day. There was mass consumption of sparking apple cider, homemade oatmeal/cranberry cookies (gluten free, of course) and many hours of pretend cat noises from upstairs.
After their tea party, a little girl asked if she could do her homework. “Of course!” I taught the girls how to have a study group. THey helped each other with their math and discussed each answer, checking their work together. Then it was time to go.
One of the mothers became an instant friend. We chatted, our daughters so alike, and decided to hang out some more. I’ve already met her at the Y for a workout and planned another playdate for our girls soon.
The best possible thing I can do for my daughter is give her the chance to find her own people. I’ve been lucky over the years to find a tribe here. I have people I love to hang out with, people with children like mine, people who make me laugh and make me feel funny.
She might not know it yet, but she’s going to need people as she goes through her schooling. People, community, friends; they make your life rich and give you the chance to take yourself less seriously. And, honestly, they’re way better than fairies. They’re real.