Friday, August 19, 2011

On the flip side, it absolutely kills me....

Yeah, yeah, yeah....I know that was me the other day ranting and raving about how excited I was that the kids are back at school again.

And yeah, that was me running around the house naked the minute they were all gone....because I could.

However, I also knew it would be a matter of time before the worries and concern began to creep up.

Not so much for Garrett and Landon because they're in preschool where all the kids love one another and everyone's your best friend.

But more for Cole and Bella because they're in 2nd grade now...when some kids can be downright heartless.

Upon picking them up at school, one of my first questions to them has always been, "So....who did you sit next to at lunch today?"

I know....wierd, right?  I don't ask, "What did you learn today?" or "Did you have a good day?"

It all goes back to my awkward elementary school years, where I felt like a total misfit.

Where I learned that the kids who told you they were your best friend one day could so easily turn their backs on you for absolutely no reason the very next day.

Where I learned that kids chose to like you based on the way you looked or didn't look.

Where I learned that who you were friends with was just as important as who you weren't friends with.

Where I learned that words can hurt and forever damage a person's soul.

I'll admit that my children's social experience at school is just as important to me as their academic experience.

Don't get me wrong...they don't need to be the most popular child at school or run for Class President every single year.

I simply want them to be liked and accepted for who they are on the outside, as well as the inside.

So yesterday, when Bella told me, "I sat by myself today at lunch, Mommy", the thought of this beautiful, friendly little girl sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch all by herself made me teary-eyed.  It brought back sad and lonely memories for me.

The difference, though, between she and I is that it didn't bother her to eat alone.

"How did that make you feel....to eat alone?" I asked.

She replied, "It was no big deal.  By the time I got to the cafeteria, there was no more room at the table where Macie was sitting.  It actually worked out because without anyone to talk to, I had time to eat my entire lunch today".

"Emily told me that she thinks I'm mean," she continued.  "I don't know why because she wouldn't tell me.  Maybe I should invite her to my birthday party, anyway, so she knows I still like her.  That would be the nice thing to do, don't you think?"

I couldn't help but smile through my tears, as I felt such pride for my baby girl.  Where does she get this confidence...this maturity....which I seemingly lacked when I was her age?

And just as quickly as my heart filled with admiration for her, I grew concerned.

As she goes through life, will she become tainted by the mean spirit of others...will there ever come a point where she stops seeing the good in others because others seem to focus only on the negative?

Because that's what happened to me.  I learned that trusting too easily was for fools.  And I learned that people almost always had ulterior motives for being kind.

It's funny how, as parents, we want our children to have a better life than we did.  We want them to be more successful than we were.  In fact, we want it so badly that our hearts literally ache at the thought of them failing at something or being rejected by their peers.

For now, I suppose all I can do is continue to encourage them to be loving and kind to others, even when others may not treat them so nicely.  Kill them with kindness, isn't that what they say?

And I'll continue to arrive at their school 45 minutes ahead of time so I can watch my oldest twins on the playground, laughing with their friends and enjoying the simplicity of life...while praying with all my might that things never change.


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39 comments:

Natalie said...

Awww little kids are so mean...I don't even want to think about that when mine gets that age. They get their feelings hurt so easily...

Evonne said...

I think the social aspect of school is important, too. I worry about my kids, especially now that my son is no longer a Kindergartner.

I'm impressed with Bella's confidence. I really hope it continues.

Barbara said...

She sounds amazing! I wish I had her confidence and heart when I was in elementary school!

Sela Toki said...

Love your blog Helene. Everything about it is hilarious and touching at the same time. You should write a book. You are a fantastic writer.

Thanks for taking the time to drop by my blog.

Charlene said...

I'm a worrier too, I don't think we can help it...the minute they tell us we're pregnant the worrying begins and continues through the years.

I ask who my kids played with and sat by too more than I ask about what they learned. I think you and I have a lot more in common than we realized :-)

Samantha said...

I'm definitely relating to this post today. I learned a long time ago that people were mean, girls particularly, but guys aren't so nice either. I learned a long time ago, that no one can be trusted. I'm not very social, and I really have no friends now. Not because I just can't make them, but because I have chosen to not have any friends. I was so tired of getting hurt. Kids were not nice to me at school, and so I worry about Bree. She's so social, and absolutely loves everything about life...I don't want to see some snot nosed kid destroy my child's light; crush her spirits. Like you, that will probably the be thing I worry the most about when she goes to school. Because I remember how mean kids really are.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I think that's an awesome question to ask about your kiddos' school day.

I remember certain facts and figures I learned in school...but just as much, I remember the social aspect. A lot of it was positive...but a lot of it wasn't. To a certain degree I know that's just part of growing up and learning to fend in the world, but I sure do dread the day when my girls get their feelings hurt.

You're doing an awesome job raising some very smart and sensitive little humans, Helene. :) :)

Amber said...

Little kids can be so mean - it's so hard. Lunch time in elementary school was really difficult for me, I remember being so excited because this girl called me over to sit next to her and she instead spit food at me. Yup...that was in like 5th grade.

Reading about Bella sitting alone at lunch, it was really heart warming to know that she saw the positive side of being able to eat alone. Also that she still wants to reach out to someone who thinks that she's "mean" and how she doesn't even think twice about it.

It is interesting to think about, were we ALL like that at one point? How did the people who are still like that as adults manage to hold onto it??

Mighty M said...

I remember those days all too well - your Bella is going to be just fine!

Mimi and Tilly said...

I'm loving your new blog look Helene!

Tarah said...

Bella is just so sweet - I'm sure she'll have plenty of friends as she grows up. Give her a hug from us!

Kim said...

For whatever reason, 2nd grade was the worst year for both my older girls, with a couple of mean girls being friends one day and "you're not my friend" the next day. It was weird.

Sounds like Bella is going to handle 2nd grade just fine!

Eva Gallant said...

That was a lovely, heartfelt post! And I think Bella is an amazing girl! You did a good job, Mom!

Jayme said...

She gets that confidence and maturity from YOU! You are instilling such great values in her and it's showing :)

Nobodys Nothings said...

yeah, there's always a flipside to the joys in parenting, isn't there? i'm going through the same thing with my son... he's in 3rd grade this year, and while i'm thrilled he's finally going to have some social interaction that doesn't involve screaming at his 3 year old sister, he's very different from the kids at school. all he wants to do is talk about saltwater fish tanks and science and obviously no NORMAL 3rd grader wants to talk about that stuff... so he's having a hard time making friends. *sigh* this parenting stuff is tough shit. i'm sure Bella will do great socially. one day they hate each other, the next they're best friends. it's the shitty part of growing up, but i think we all go through it.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I think you are setting the groundwork for them to be confident and have good friendships. I was a lot like you, but my kids are so different. And two of mine are teens, in fact my oldest daughter is a sophomore in high school...prime 'mean girl' age....but so far, she has great friends and is very happy.
And I totally understand...my kids being bullied in school or feeling outcast was one of my biggest fears.

KSK said...

Bella is a great girl!
I don't remember many ill things in my grade school days, but my sister recently told me a story where she was outcasted (is that a word?) in 2nd grade - and it just about breaks my heart!

Missy said...

Beautiful. So well said. And I don't say this to make it worse for you, but 2nd grade was a hard, hard year for my oldest. I think she was at a developmental crossroads and there were many tears after school that year. Last year was better. I've heard that this year (4th) could be worse.

You are so right. We wear our hearts outside our bodies when we have children. I don't know that that will ever change, no matter how old they get.

blueviolet said...

She seems to really be handling it all so well. I like her personality! I hope this keeps on keeping on.

I think my tough times began in middle school when the cliques kicked in.

Kristen said...

Ok. Don't Anyone Yell at me! Please! I'm a good person! And... I have a ton of friends who homeschool... but - this is the reason I don't plan to. Because I believe those social skills are so critical. And, honestly - I'm so glad my kids aren't that age yet - because if they get bullied, I might just yank them out and change my mind. But you are right - those social skills are so important - probably more important than what they are "learning". Great post.

Natalie said...

Wow...kids are so mean and it starts that early? Hang in there...it sounds like she is really learning a lot about herself :)

Karen Peterson said...

Bella is such a sweet and wonderful girl. I think with the right guidance and example from you, she'll keep that sweetness and continue to see the good in people.

Kimberly said...

This was beautiful. I think we as parents want the world for our kids...that they're protected from the cruelty...but you have it right when you say that you'll continue to teach them to be kind. I think that's where society goes wrong. It's in the parenting.
And you my friend are doing just mighty fine ;)

Emmy said...

Oh this struck a cord with me so much... I still so clearly remember the time the everyone on the bus was calling me names and treasing me. Why can't kids just stay nice forever?? And yes keep teaching her to be kind and good.

Jennifer said...

Is it so terrible that I worry about this too? And my son isn't even in school yet! Kids can be so mean and now that my son is getting older AND I have a little girl on the way, I freak a little bit because I don't want them to experience these kinds of things, I don't want anyone telling them they are anything but wonderful, beautiful, talented people. *sigh* It's too much for a mother, man.

MiMi said...

I had the hardest time when Kolby started 2nd grade last year...because I REMEMBER the shit that went down in 2nd grade sometimes! Ugh. :(
And my youngest starts KG this year. Will you do me a favor?
Come and shoot me. NOW.

Kristen said...

Helene... One more thing - um... I was going to come recruit you to post for my Friday's Confession Booth - so definitely think of something to confess. :) I have a million things to confess too! I really do think we were soul sisters separated somewhere. Kristen

ps. do you have trouble spelling and a weird hate thing going on with Caillou also?

Karen and Gerard said...

Bella is a sweet girl and I think she'll be fine. Tell her not to worry about us not having enough food--we went shopping today. I love though that she was so concerned.

Laura SQ-The Boy Mommy said...

I don't know exactly how I came across your blog, but I'm pretty sure I love you! haha I have one set of twins who are 6 months and a 2 year old son also. You're an inspiration. People are ALWAYS telling me I have my hands full! Full of GOOD STUFF, I say! Loving your blog!

Working Mommy said...

I have blonde hair/blue eyes and my parents are both dark hair/dark eyes...I was adopted. I know all too well how mean kids can be sometimes. Hearing that Bella reacted the way she did, though, gives me hope for the future of our kids. There ARE still good people in the world and your daughter wouldn't have said that if she hadn't learned it...from YOU. Keep up the good work!!

WM

Twins Squared said...

Yeah, all that stuff worries me and scares me too. I remember one day last year I dropped off something at the front office and then watched them on the playground for about 10 minutes. Actually they were just on the field that day, no playground so I guess it was different. Mackenzie was just walking around and I really think she didn't know what to do with herself and for some reason had no one to play with. I couldn't find Kaitlyn forever and then finally saw her. She was in the middle of everybody, all by herself, doing pushups!! If that's not strange I don't know what is! I was definitely concerned about both of them. Mackenzie worries about friends some (but seems overall actually very well-liked). Kaitlyn doesn't seem to care too much.

Hope it's a good year for all 4 of your precious babies!

shortmama said...

I dont miss those moments when my oldest was in "regular" school. Second grade was the year for her that the cattiness with some of the girls started. My daughter is the type who will be friends with anyone no matter what as long as they are nice so it always broke my heart when she would come home and tell my about something mean that one girl would say to her. It was always something petty like that she was mean because played on the swings when everyone else was playing on the slide or something lame like that.

WhisperingWriter said...

My son is picked on a lot and it's hard :( He says he always sits with someone at lunch but I'm not sure if he's actually CONVERSING with those people.

Kids can be cruel. I always teach my kids to be nice to others and hope it carries over to school.

Holly said...

Bella sounds so strong.... You have helped her grow into a strong girl. Sounds like she is doing great! I am kind of glad I have boys, because girls are such social bullies, and that can really mess with your mind.

Who am I? said...
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Renee Rocco said...
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Zeemaid said...

I hear you. I worry about my oldest. She tends to be a loner but everyone keeps telling me that as long as she's happy I shouldn't worry. I guess that's our cue, if they are happy and satisfied then we shouldn't worry.

Besides which the kid who said Bella is mean today will most likely declare her to be her best friend tomorrow. Kid relationships are crazy and stormy and quickly over. It boggles the mind.

Sarah said...

My oldest just started kindergarten, and my biggest fear is that he will be the odd man out. I think your daughter is so sweet.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Sigh, kids are so mean. I was picked on big time when I was in elementary school and while Wee 'Burb is only 2, I worry about her a lot. Although right now she's just an insane social butterfly. I think both my husband and I are now extroverts, so we kind of passed that on.

Liked and accepted, I love it. It's all I hope for, for my kiddo and yours.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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