"Forrest doesn't want to play with me anymore Mama," Alice said with a sad tone.
"What do you mean? Did he tell you that?"
"Uh huh. He said he wouldn't play with me at the potluck dinner after bed tomorrow."
"He said he wasn't going to play with you at the potluck dinner on Saturday? Why? What happened?"
"Well. Did you two have a fight? Were you not nice to him today? Did you guys get in trouble?" I asked trying to make sense of her story.
"No. He just said he wouldn't play with me at the potluck dinner. I'm so sad, Mama. I really like playing with Forrest."
You will be happy to know Forrest played dollhouse with Alice the very next day and even tried to cheer her up when she pricked her finger on a pipe cleaner during craft at the potluck dinner. They are merely four and friends are flighty and temperamental at this age. Even though she was upset and a touch heart broken at the time, no real harm was done.
The episode did, however, make the heartache I know is just ahead on the horizon appear a whole hell of a lot closer. I dread the moment when my girl puts herself out there to someone else only to have them dis her. And worse yet, the moment when a boy she gives her heart to turns around and stomps on it. I know the pain in store for Alice. Childhood can be hard, kids can be mean. Love at its worst is agony.
And what if my daughter's the one causing someone else unnecessary pain. I can remember a time, I was twelve, I was a mean girl. There was this girl my same age, a daughter of a family friend. We had very little in common, yet we often played together out of convenience. One day, with my friends by my side, in the cafeteria, I told this girl I no longer wanted to be her friend. And then, with a flip of our hair, we walked away. At the time I saw nothing wrong with my behavior, now I look back on it and feel awful. I'm sure this girl was very hurt by me. I'm sure I caused her pain. I was mean.
Every day I try to teach my daughter to be nice. I talk to her about bullying and what to do if she sees someone else bullying. I hope with every conversation we have she's one step closer to never being a mean girl. I pray she has the courage to stand up to her friends if they turn out to be mean girls. I want her to make the right choice because she doesn't want others to hurt. I want her to think of how her actions affect the feelings of other people. I want her to be a nice girl. That's the best I can hope for.