Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"In the middle of the night
Miss Clavel turned on the light
and said, "Something is not right!" ~Ludwig Bemelmans (from "Madeline")
I have felt it for a week now, this nagging feeling. If you could even call it a feeling, more like a sense or a whisper. A quiet tap, tap, tapping on my soul. Something is not right.

She was spending so much time alone. But that in itself wasn't entirely unusual. She's always been a bit of a loner. Residing in a world of her imagination. Like her literary hero, Anne Shirley, she can occupy herself for hours with nothing but her mind. I've always loved that about her.

Yet still, something was off. Her smile was a bit more reserved. Her laughter a bit less free.

I've tried to ask her, to probe a bit and see if it was just my imagination. If it was just my typical tendency to worry. She assured me nothing was amiss, but even in her denial, I felt it. The tapping again.

So tonight when she was sitting outside I went and sat with her. I asked her about school.

"Fine" she says.

I asked her about her classes.

"They're okay. Kinda boring. My teachers are nice though."

I've heard all this before. No news here. Nothing to worry about. "Are you still hanging out with your new friend, Shelby?" I ask. Still probing.

"No not really" she said evasively.

"Why not?"

"Um........She's kinda mean. And all she cares about is boys and being popular." The tapping was a louder now. I knew being friends with Shelby was a relief to her. Her other friends had not ended up in her classes.

"Oh." I said. "So who are you friends with now?"

She looked down at the ground and shrugged her shoulders.

And in that gesture, that one insecure, embarrassed gesture... my heart cracked in two.

I recently read another post on this topic by
Painted Maypole. Her daughter is only in kindergarten. This seems to be just a rite of passage for our children. Learning how to deal with cruelty in the world. Gladly I would sacrifice that lesson.

I am sorry Allie girl, that the world is not an kinder place.

I am sorry that I can not make it so.


childlife said...

That is just heart-breaking! I know there will be days like this in my daughter's future too. It feels so awful to not be able to prevent them from coming or to fix things when it does happen. Hugs and prayers to both of you!

Amanda said...

My fifth grde year was fraught with playground meanness, caught between my desire to just be a tomboy and the hatred from the girls for fitting in with the boys. It was excruciating and there was nothing anyone could do. I found solace in the consistency of my mom and my haven. I am so sorry your sweet girl is going through this hard time. Wishing you strength and courage, she'll come out on the other side with solid friends.

Christine said...

poor allie. i wish it wasn't this way. and i fear for when it happens to my girl. for as sad as it is to think this i know it will happen soon enough.

Beck said...

Oh, your baby. I don't know the answer to this - my daughter is going through a tough time socially, too, and I just feel this need to FIX everything, but sometimes, things can't be fixed and we can only help them live through this awful time.

slouching mom said...

Arrgh. It is so tough to be a nine- or ten-year-old girl. So tough. I was bullied. That's not a new story. Most of us were, sadly.

Poor Allie. My heart aches for her.

bubandpie said...

Oh, Joy. That's awful - the things we can't really fix for them.

painted maypole said...

ooooh... my heart is breaking with you (as you can well understand why!) This is what I am proud of for Allie: that she would rather not have a friend than hang out with someone who is mean and boy crazy and that she would not change to be like Shelby just so that she would have a friend. We have to trust that our girls will find their friends, and that when they do they will be TRUE friends. They are worth waiting for. But oh, the pain until then...

spaz said...

She'll make friends. We all do. It's our natural tendency to want to belong to a group of friends. Luckily Allie will not gravitate toward the "wrong crowd" just to be accepted. Be thankful for that. Besides, she still has T. and H. Make sure you shine the light on the positives for her. I don't have friends at work, but my life is blessed with an abundance of friends. Just because she is not connecting with anyone in her class this time, that is no reason to fret. It is part of life. It is very difficult to meet people you click with and she already has two BFFs! She is a very lucky girl!

Chaotic Joy said...

You are right Spaz and that is exactly what I did. Tried to remind her of all the friends she does have. Of how loved and blessed she is.

I still pray that she will make a friend to go through school with. Someone to stand by her side.

Like you.

Lori said...

Ouch. No matter how much we know that her life is full of good things, and that her future will undoubtedly be filled with good things, those moments hurt- us and them!!

Reading that literally made my stomach turn thinking about my own hard childhood moments, and the ones that will certainly come for my own kids.

Kyla said...

Oh Allie. I am so sorry. The world can be so unkind. It is hard sending these kids out into it.

Crystal said...

Poor Allie. I hope she finds someone soon. I am sure she will.
I volunteered today at school and was shocked to see the unkindness by one of the little 4 year old girls. I can't imagine the heart break of a 10 year old. After witnessing the play ground events today we had a long talk at dinner about being kind and always including others. I never thought I would see it happen so early. We are only on Madeline's second week of school and the same little girl told her that she was "dumping" her. How does a 4 year old become a bully and where will she be when she is 10. Ugh.

Laurel Wreath said...

No one told me as a Mother I would have to go through all my insecurites all over again, and have my heart broken even worse when it is my child going through the tough ties. Makes me beg the Lord saying, "OH please I will go through them again, just don't make my children go through childhood pains."

I am enjoying your blog, saving your girl. Thanks for being a breath of fresh air.