And her tears mark the page.
Have you ever watched your child’s heart break and feel powerless to help? Watch the varying emotions of hurt, betrayal and anguish play across their face and hurt inside for them. It stirs every protective instinct within you, but you tread carefully because you know a lesson lies within the hard time.
Our middle schooler has been home sick with a sinus infection this week. She miserable with headaches and a sore throat from runny draining nonsense. Imagine my surprise when she crumples in my lap, tears on her cheeks, and devastation all over her precious face because her friends from school have sent her horrible messages.
I listened intently as she described malicious messages from people she held in close esteem as her best friends. Her very best friend, her first friend in our new neighborhood, riding along in the thick of it all. Sobs wracked her body as she begged me not to send her back to that school. Begged me. Usually, she begs for a puppy or new shoes she doesn’t need. So, begs of never returning to school rocked me.
My immediate momma instinct screamed to toss her in the car, burn the road up to the school and demand that the offending girls be brought in and demand answers and Justice! Once I quieted the vengeful voice in my head, the voice of reason spoke up. Calming my hysterical middle school girl is no easy feat. Loads of hugs and soothing words are needed. I keep them well stocked for moments such as these.
Looking into her tear-filled eyes and trying to help her see never going back to school wasn’t an answer are hard. Wiping her tears away and sharing stories of how I too was bullied in middle school, pointing out I survived and am pretty frigging amazing, , was painful. Guiding her to a step toward solution, helping her find a way through rather than away, was challenging.
It makes me angry that people, children, think it is alright to send horrible messages to anyone. To suggest they kill themselves, that they should never have been born, to question who they are, and accuse them of being something they aren’t is horrible. Despite my best efforts to remind her how amazing she is, she’s of the age where the outside opinion of others matters more.
I want so desperately to hide my precious girl in a bubble where the harsh words of others can’t touch her. I want nothing more than to keep her amazing spirit whole and unharmed so she can shine brightly. But, I also want to teach her that the world is a hard place to exist and mean people are everywhere. I want to guide her toward paths that lead to good, true friends who are her cheerleaders as much as she is theirs. I want to help her see that giving the mean girls power only eggs them on, but facing them down and standing up for herself shows them she is tougher than they thought.
It’s hard. This being a parent thing. In todays world, it’s infinitely harder thanks to the quick works of social media and the ability to hide behind text messages. How do you raise kind children who are mentally tough enough to handle this world? How do you keep them wrapped in the Spirit when those around them constantly attack it? If I find out, I’ll let you know. For now, I’ll keep trying to sculpt good people.