We sat together in the big brown rocking chair, like we always do after school, and talked about her day. Her legs hung over mine, longer than they’ve ever been, reminding me of her growth and the way time flies.
Every answer was “I forget” and “I don’t know” unless she was asked a specific question and then it was short and sweet. She was more interested in snuggling and playing with my hair.
Pulling the answers out of her took skill and practice, something I had learned over the past month, along with patience.
“What are the names of the friends you played with today?”
I pulled back the hair from her face and watched as she stuffed her thumb in her mouth. I readied myself for the usual list of names and rocked us back and forth.
“No one wanted to play with me today.”
She looked up at me and pulled her hand through my hair, something she’d done since she was a baby.
“What do you mean? Were they all busy?”
I held her tight and fought back tears that threatened to roll down my cheeks. I had no idea hearing those words would hurt so much.
“No, they were in a mood. No one wanted to play with me.”
The overwhelming feeling of sadness and heartache took my breath away. Why didn’t they want to play with her? Who wouldn’t want to play with my child? How do I get in there and fix this? NO! It’s not my job to fix this, this is part of growing up. But I want to fix this right now.
“How do you feel about that?”
“I think they are getting a cold.”
Her reasoning was perfect. She didn’t look as deeply into it as I did, and couldn’t understand either why someone wouldn’t want to play with her so the only logical explanation could be that they were getting sick.
I dig it.
We talked about strategies for next time she found herself in that situation and also how cool it is to play by ourselves sometimes. I also avoided the urge to go to school with her and make the children be her friend.
Because I don’t want to be THAT mom.
But my heart still hurt and I remembered my own mother looking at me as I struggled with my own battles as a child. The pain she must have felt would have been equal to this.
If we could only take it away for them.
We can’t though. They have to learn on their own and look to us for guidance.
So, we sat, and rocked. Talked about her day some more, and pulled out the good, instead of focusing on the bad.
Tomorrow is a new day.
And it will be great.