My daughter’s friend, Madalynn, will be leaving for the summer. The whole summer. That is a long time for an adult, but it is like a million years to a kid….maybe even a zillion. Madalynn also happens to be our neighbor, which means going from seeing each other every day, to not seeing each other at all. It is going to be a very long summer. Knowing that she was going to be gone, I had planned on doing a photo session for the girls, so they would have some pictures and a slideshow in case they missed each other. Time kept getting away from me, and before I knew it, it was just a few weeks until summer break. I knew I needed to get that session done. Sadly, Madalynn broke her finger while playing tether ball. She had to have surgery and have pins put in. 😦 We went ahead with the session, sling and all. She was a trooper.
Since I started putting this post together, little girl drama took over the neighborhood. There is a girl on the street that does not like my daughter, and she has forced Madalynn into the position of having to choose who to play with. It is so heartbreaking to watch my daughter hurting as she is left out. It is even more heartbreaking because she doesn’t understand why. I struggle to find answers for her, and realize that there really are none, aside from…girls can be mean. Girls can be best friends one day, and the next, do a total 180, for no apparent reason. Girls put their friends into a hierarchy….best friends…second best friends…..others…..and that hierarchy shifts on a whim. I wanted to be able to tell her that it would get better. That everyone grows more mature, and she would not deal with this kind of thing forever, but I couldn’t, because I know damn well that it never goes away. All I could do was to offer that tried and true parental attempt at comfort, and say that she would find real friends….true friends….friends that value her for who she is, and would never behave in ways that are so hurtful. And that she may have many acquaintances, but maybe only a handful of those true friends. I know those words are not much comfort as she hears the other girls laughing and playing outside. And I see that she doubts its credibility in light of watching me recently go through the ending of a friendship with someone that I considered to be one of those true friends….something she has asked me a zillion questions about, her brow furrowed with concern.
The little girl that is the root of the problems has been gone on vacation for the last few days, and Sophie and Madalynn have fallen back into their routine. But I see the hesitance in Sophie….the holding back. The protecting herself. And although I don’t blame her…she has been burned…..I am sad for her. I hate to see that part of her that puts all of herself into caring about people, tempered and cautious. And I want to go yell at the mean girl……or yell at her mom….but I know that is not an option. This is Sophie’s path to navigate. All I can do is to encourage her to be a good friend herself….and be ready with hugs and ice cream when the next bump in the road comes.
A blessed thing it is for any man or woman to have a friend, one human soul whom we can trust utterly, who knows the best and worst of us, and who loves us in spite of all our faults.
~ Charles Kingsley ~