I knew as my children entered middle school that there would be a lot of changes. I remember becoming an angsty teenager that didn’t want much to do with my mom.
I remember the petty mean girl moments both directed at me and that I myself am guilty of. But I was prepared. I had speeches in my head just ready for the right moment.
Drugs, relationships, friends, I knew what I was going to say about anything thrown our away.
Until I came home from work one day and saw my child crying on the couch. There went any speech I had ever planned for any of these moments.
My child was eating alone at lunch. All of a sudden, all of her friend had decided to sit somewhere else, and shunned her when she tried to talk to them. No explanation given.
As I held her while she cried on my shoulder, I found my own tears were starting to fall in her hair. Where were my words of wisdom? What can I say to make this better?
I can’t tell her that the friends she has now are unlikely going to be her friends in 10 years. As true as that may be, it’s not going to help the loneliness she is feeling.
I can’t tell her that in 20 years from now, she’s not going to remember the pain she is feeling. Because there I was, remembering all the pain I faced in middle school. Except this time it was 100 times worse, because it was happening to my baby.
This wasn’t an owie I can kiss and make better.
This wasn’t a tantrum I can make go away by bribing ice cream.
This wasn’t a superficial hurt that I can blow off and make her see the silver lining.
This was one she felt down in her soul. This was one that no well-rehearsed speech could heal.
I forgot all my magical answers, and instead this is what I said.
No matter what happens, remember you have a kind heart and a beautiful soul. What your friends did to you today is not fair. And I wish I could make it better. You don’t deserve to have people treat you this way, and I wish your friends could see that. Eventually, you guys will work this out, or you won’t. Maybe you will make new friends, better friends. Just know, this hurt you are feeling is not going to last forever, but I will be here to hold you and cry with you until it gets better.
Did I say the right thing? I have no clue. Will my little speech help her with her friends at school? I doubt it.
But hopefully she knows that she is not alone.