I’m not one who usually writes to get my feelings out, but there are times when the only place I really can put them is into words…
We went to Camp Mudd Family Night last night for the final night of the year. Laura had talked all week about the campout and the party after all the parents leave. However, when it came time for us to leave, she began to get clingy and, before Andy and I knew it, she was crying. Initially, she took her frustration out on me and said some really horrible things. I know she is a tween and she was just lashing out, but it hurt. So, I went to the truck to wait while Andy took over. It ended with her coming home with us. I found out on the way home that two of the girls had been very mean and rude to her. It was so bad that Laura gave up her favorite campout, so that she wouldn’t have to deal with being intentionally excluded. Laura was in tears and so sad and I was very upset and angry because of what Laura said to me. To the credit of the great staff at Camp Mudd, they did what they could to address the situation all along, including even contacting me this morning to make sure Laura was okay. Laura had just reached her breaking point and it made for a not very pleasant night. When we arrived home, I actually went into my closet to just sit in the quiet for a bit to avoid lashing back. Andy talked with Laura and then he and I went to dinner at Flat Branch. I didn’t even say goodbye to Laura when we left for dinner. On my way to Flat Branch, I spent most of the time thinking, “What are you 12?!? You didn’t say goodbye to Laura! You are an idiot! She is hurt and she needs you and you don’t even say goodbye.” Andy and I ate quickly, had a little bit of conversation, and then headed home. I went straight to bed.
You see I *know* exactly how Laura feels because my years in school were not exactly pleasant. I also experienced some of what she is going through although it was from a group of boys and not girls. In fact, I even have a couple of the notes that were left in my locker in high school just to remind me that I can rise above and move past the mean kids. But, Laura is 11 and so…
- First, I do not expect everyone to like Laura, nor do I expect her to like everyone. I do not expect her to get along with everyone either, but I do expect her to be respectful and not mean to anyone.
- Second, Laura has asked me not to talk to the girls’ parents and I will respect her wishes, but I keep thinking, “If that was Laura acting that way, I would hope someone would tell me.” But then, there is Laura who has asked me not to and I need to respect her wishes.
- Lastly, I want Laura to stand up for herself when she needs to and also know when to walk away. However, I also have to remember that she is 11. She is still learning that. Laura did tell me today that she did not feel like she could in this particular case because she didn’t want to make things harder on herself.
Some days, this parenting thing makes my heart hurt and, right now, I really feel like yelling at someone. I came home from work today and gave Laura a big hug. I told her that I loved her to the moon and back and I apologized for being angry last night. I reiterated that what Andy said last night was true – that she didn’t need friends who treat her poorly because she is amazing and will make all kinds of new friends in middle school. He also told her that your circle of friends will change throughout your life and that is okay too. My Red is one amazing kid because she hugged me back and told me that she loved me too. She also said that she was a mean girl to me last night. She followed that with, “Mom, I want to say that I won’t ever be a mean girl to you again, but I know I can’t make that promise.” I smiled, hugged her again, and said, “Kid, you and I are in for some knockdown-dragouts, but in the end, I love you, and we’ll get through it.” She smiled that impish Laura grin and said, “Yep.”
Laura is doing fine today, and I am doing better now. My heart doesn’t hurt quite as much and I am lucky to be the mom of that beautiful redhead.