As I send my little girl out the door every morning I often wonder what her day looks like.
So I ask. I ask every little question that comes to mind when she gets home from school?
Who did you sit by at lunch? Bus?
Was anyone gone from school today?
What did you do on the playground?
What was something that was really hard that you did today?
Who did something kind for you?
Did you feel sad at all?
What was your favorite part of lunch?
I ask so many questions, and lucky for me, my daughter is at an age that she loves answering all my silly questions. She loves to tell me about everything that is going on, what funny thing her teacher said, some crazy thing she learned about…she shares almost everything. I say almost because I realize there is an element to her memory that loses small details, but if she could remember, she would share.
I love the open dialogue that allows me to have a small glimpse as to what her school day looks like. To get an even better idea of her day, I love going into her classroom and even eating lunch with her. Today she asked if I would join her for lunch, so we did. Her friends gobbed around me as I kindly passed out cinnamon twists from Taco Bell. Her friend points across to another table and says, “That’s the girl that doesn’t like you, huh Hallie.”
I quickly turn around to see a young 1st grade girl shooting darts in my direction and then even pointing and laughing in our direction. Hallie wouldn’t make eye contact with her. I start to ask questions. I find out that this girl is a bully on the playground and yelled in Hallie’s ear.
My blood started to boil and I started staring the girl down. I figured she would look away. She didn’t. It took everything in me not to walk over to her table and let her know I know what she’s doing on the playground and I didn’t appreciate. Yet, I watched Hallie go about her lunch not looking at the girl. Why had she not told me this happened? I ask her nearly every day if things like this happen and she never told me. I started weighing in my mind: do I become the overbearing parent that fights battles, or do I sit back and let her handle it.
As much as I wanted to reach across the table and strangle someone, I could see that Hallie was working through it in her own way and she seemed to be doing fine. We talked through how to handle the situation if it happened again and before long Hallie had cleared her spot and ran out to the playground. My heart still ached. I looked at the girl again. I noticed a neighbor boy who sat across from her at the table. I walked with Hunter and Bennett over to our neighbor to say hi. I was within talking distance of the girl. We made eye contact and without any words I simply smiled a very kind smile. I hope she could feel the words that were pouring out of my smile.
Be kind sweet child. Being mean won’t get you very far. And please stay away from my daughter!
(It’s amazing how many words can fit in a kind smile!!)