My Truly is my pride and joy. I had her at 18 and she’s my claim to fame at being a kick ass mama. At 7 years old I’ve spoiled her immensely, but she always repays me back in love. She’s my best friend and I’ll hold on to that as long as I can.
I tend to write about her a lot on this blog because many things that she is going through are all firsts for me. With my Addy being three years younger than Truly, I know many of these problems will most likely repeat themselves.
Last week my daughter came home from school asking me if I could pack her a lunch box for the next day. She sometimes will take lunch but most days she loves the school food. I asked her why, and she responded she wanted to sit by her other friends who also take a lunch. It turns out that at recess that day her friends “broke up with her.” Her terminology. She started crying as she told me that she wanted to play soccer at recess with the other kids but her two friends wanted to play house. They had told her “you promised us you’d play with us, we don’t want to play soccer, we are breaking up with you.”
I asked her about the promise, and she said she didn’t promise but that they wanted to play with her again.
My Truly was in tears as she continued her story, “after recess I tried talking to them again but they said we were still broken up and they ignored me. So I want to bring a lunch so I can sit with other friends.”
My daughter is 7. I was in no way prepared to have this conversation with her. Not this early. Especially not MY child. My baby.
First off, I gave her a big hug. I let her cry and just listened. Addy watched us and offered her hugs as well. Bradley just was upset I was hugging someone other than him.
I started off making sure she was not afraid of these girls. “Are you scared of them?” She confidently told me, no. Truly has a huge heart, and is loved by everyone. When she feels like someone doesn’t like her, her heart breaks. She just didn’t want people to mad at her and she didn’t want to sit alone at lunch. I let her know that I was glad she decided to do something that made her happy instead of just feeling pressured to do what other people wanted. I let her know that trusting your instincts and trusting yourself is the most important thing of all.
We talked about how great she is, named all the many friends she has, and named all the people who loved her. At this moment, I was thankful for soccer and dance, because of all the great friends she has in all the different places. The list could have gone on for hours. We talked about God who is always with her and talked about how people and friends should never make her feel sad. We laughed and joked and I even volunteered to sit in class and make a speech about how amazing she is. She laughed at that one and quickly shut it down.
The next morning I had her lunch ready, she decided to bring her own soccer ball, and even wear her soccer shirt. She was confident and not afraid of doing what made her comfortable. An official t-shirt can do that to a girl. I double checked that she was feeling okay, and walked her into class. I whispered in her ear “You are an amazing girl who can do anything she wants in the world, and everyone who is anyone can see it. Be kind, smile, and know I love you.” The smile she gave back to me assured me that she would be fine.
When I picked her up from school I didn’t drive off right away. I sat eagerly waiting to hear what happened. She jumped in the car smiling and started her story “I decided to ask my friends if I could play with them half the time and then play soccer half the time. I still wanted to play with them and they still wanted to play with me, and we did.”
Phew. I felt like I dodged a bullet and was so glad that she was happy and carefree again. I was proud of her confidence and her ability to decide to do something about the situation. I did not tell her what to do, but just gave her the resources she requested and the love she needed. She is definitely my role model in how to handle this situation. At her age, I would have wanted to hide away from the world.
What I learned from this experience is to listen as much as possible, to ask questions, and to understand how your children feel. I often write about building a child’s confidence and I see how it paid off with Truly. She was confident is making herself comfortable, making decisions to compromise, and also knowing that no one should have the power to make you sad or scared. Sure she was sad, but when it came down to it, she didn’t let it change who she was.
We have a long road ahead of us but I’ve never been so thankful for her many friends in many places. She was able to understand that friends are precious, but they shouldn’t make you feel bad for doing what you like to do. She was also able to understand that with friendships, maybe you also have to work compromises.
Our 4 year old Addy also explained to us that “only boyfriends and girlfriend break up, your friends aren’t saying it right.”
Here’s to raising kids! Wish us luck!