We can just go ahead and file this one under: Things That Break A Mama’s Heart.
I’ve mentioned to you guys before what a sensitive soul my daughter is, and maybe what trouble she’s had making friends at school this year? In the beginning I imagined it was because:
- all of the other children already knew each other from preschool
- the girl clique was pretty strong, and pretty girly
- she doesn’t really like to play by other people’s rules
I thought, in time, things would work themselves out on their own — perhaps on the playground even … and to an extent, I guess they have. But I see flashes of my younger self in that one, I can sense from across the room when she feels less than, or outcast. It happens on an almost daily basis.
Her feelings don’t just get hurt, they get crushed. Often from the slightest of interactions and usually (for the most part) self-imposed but tonight as I lay her down to sleep, she said something that is still haunting me all these hours later.
They took a field trip to the museum at the end of the block today. Along the way, they walked in pairs of two and held each other’s hands. She held hands with a boy, another girl held hands with Brayden (* not his real name).
The fact that she even mentioned this seemed odd, so I thought maybe she had a crush on him or something. I ::almost:: teased her asking if she had wanted to hold hands with Brayden, that is … until I saw the tears.
Early in to the school year, her teachers pulled me aside and told me Sweet & Brayden were becoming good friends, and how great it was for both of them since they seemed to be pulling one another out of their shells. I was thrilled.
When I stopped by class a few days later, I tried to get the two of them to pose for a picture together, and my daughter flat-out refused — was ugly even. I thought it was girl-mones and let it pass.
That was 5 months ago.
I said, Well aren’t you two friends? “NO”, she said adamantly!
Oh, I thought you guys were. Why not?
“He doesn’t like me”
Oh, I’m sure he does. [again dismissing her feelings, as if they are misplaced]
“No, he doesn’t.”
Well, how do you know?
“He told me.”
Then her voice got very quiet, she whispered to me so her brothers couldn’t hear … “He doesn’t like me because I told him I can’t read.”
[Heart breaking] [Throat Shaking] [Not sure what to say ...] What do you mean?, I asked.
“I told him one day during story time I could not read, and he moved away from me and said he didn’t want to play with me anymore.”
So, this is Kindergarten.
My heart is broken for my tender little girl, and all I could do was stress to her how SHE IS reading, and SHE IS doing a great job, and SHE IS is super smart.
But I know the damage has already been done.
She feels inadequate, less than, marred.
At just 6 years old and a couple days. It doesn’t matter if it’s true, or if she’s only believing it is. What matters is it is in there now, beating her up inside.
She’s a pretty strong reader, if you ask me. Maybe not back in October … but she knows her sight words, she’s mastering all of her take home books, and can read a few Dr. Seuss with only the occasional prompt. She loves books, and loves being able to read things on her own even more.
Deep down inside, I know none of this matters — nor is it the real root of the problem here.
What I’m left with is a hole in my heart,