I have a set of blue Adirondack chairs in my front yard. They are connected together with a table in the center, and they sit under a large tree, partly shaded. They face outward, and I can see my daughter’s school. When she is half way up the street, I can see her coming home. I like this first glimpse of her, when she doesn’t know I’m looking!
Today, I take my glass of water with me, and I go sit down a bit early. I am playing over in my mind, a conversation I need to have with her, one of those, “tough” conversation. You know the kind you have as a parent, in the hopes that your kid is listening and will get the “message” to what you are saying. They are not always easy, sometimes the result is a blank stare, sometimes I get an eye roll, sometimes I get that look that just says “wow, you have no idea what you’re talking about!”
When she comes into the yard, as always, she says “hi mom!”, and I ask her how her day was. I often get the same answer “ok, same old thing.” We chit chat, the way we usually do after school, snippets of information offered, half answers to questions that I expect a full answer to. At age twelve, I guess I take what I can get!
I ask her how things are going with her friends, and I tell myself that this is a good way to open up to my concern. She has been hanging out with a group of kids from school, and this is a fairly new occurrence. My worry is that she will ignore another friend, “ditch” someone in the midst of her excitement of new found friendships. I think it may already have happened, so I ask her. I ask her about this friend of hers, a new girl. Have you talked to her, have you phoned her back, have you invited her to play? I ask her all of the usual questions.
I am momentarily disappointed with her response. The words that I hear coming out of her mouth, do not match the girl I know. I am sad, that she is repeating to me, the reasons that another friend would have given, a reason that that they constructed for their behavior. I ask her to look at me, in the eyes, and I remind her of a time last year when she would ask the “girls” if she could play with them, and one would say no. I reminded her about the day at lunch, when a friend she was sitting with got up and left her to go sit at the table with the other group of kids, and how sad she was that day when she got home. I reminded her of these things and more, in hopes that she would understand, and remember what it felt like to be the one left behind.