As the mother of three kids, none of whom have a natural gracefulness, I am used to scrapes, cuts, and bruises. I have staunched bloodied noses, lips, knees and elbows. I've seen falls off bikes, skateboards, scooters, skis, chairlifts and swings. I've watched every single one of my children walk into glass doors, parked cars, signposts and trees.
I have stood stoic over x-rays, barium swallows, and cast removals. I have watched my child endure morphine drips, general anesthesia and ridiculous amounts of blood draws. I have witnessed, much to my horror, repeated attempts to put IV lines into my dehydrated infant. I have washed dirt out of road rash, and pulled my share of teeth. I've wrapped ankles and iced knees and heads.
But none of these injuries, which so rightfully bring my children to tears, have rocked me to the core the way their hurt feelings do. It is the other wounds, the ones that you can't see, that make my heart hurt.
Mean kids. They're out there, they know who they are, and they know what they're doing. Mean kids can make parenting nice kids difficult. There are so many things I'd like to tell my children about mean kids when their feelings are hurt. Instead I find myself quietly drying tears and whispering apologies for what they are going through, with a steadfast promise that it will get better. I will make it better. A child's heartbreak is so unnerving when it comes at the hand of a friend, classmate, teammate.
Tonight I think of a young lady. A beautiful, kind girl. A girl who loves with all of her heart, who truly cares about people. Tonight was a special night for her, and she deserved nothing but the best. Kids were mean to this kind girl. And it made her sad. And her mom was sad. And I am sad. But I know that this amazing girl went on with her special night; she did not let those mean kids define her. She was kind. She was kind to those who were mean. It is at her core, this kindness.
I hope this young lady knows how important she is. I hope she knows how beautiful she is. How smart and funny and talented. She is a gifted student and athlete. Not many teens her age have accomplished all that she has. And the best part is that she has done it all with kindness in her heart, the most beautiful smile on her face.
If my daughters grow up to be "just like" anyone, I hope it is you K.H.
I will be blessed if my daughters are anything like you!
As mothers we share our stories, wince and shake our heads. We know firsthand how badly a mother hurts when her child, no matter what their age, falls victim to a mean kid. As mom's we attempt to be a source of comfort and strength for each other, and we make it better for our kids. There are so many amazing, wonderful, compassionate and inspiring parents out there. And you are raising phenomenal children. It is so important this work that you are doing. Be kind in front of your children, in the face of mean kids, and it will make a difference.
Watching a pair of Robins the other day, Gillian made a remarkably simple, yet powerful observation. "The baby one always follows the Mommy," she said.
This is something we should never forget.