On the way home from school yesterday, I was talking away about my own day, when Geeky Girl stopped me and said, “Mom, I need to talk to you.” These are words you both want and don’t want to hear from your kids. On the one hand, I definitely want my kids to come to me with their problems. On the other hand, what if the problems are too big even for me to handle. “I have some girl drama issues,” Geeky Girl continued. This, I could deal with. I won’t blog the details, but let’s just say that this was a legitimate conflict, a social thing handled awkwardly on all sides. Feelings were hurt and no one knew quite how to smooth them over. Geeky Girl told me all the ways they’d tried to resolve this issue, including trying to “talk it out” (GG’s term, not mine) during library time.
Geeky Girl and I talked over potential solutions, the pros and cons of all of them. We sat in the driveway for a good fifteen minutes going over the possibilities, put it aside for a while, and then came up with a final solution before bed. Social interactions are amazingly complicated. Kids this age are still incredibly self-centered usually and take everything personally, something that will continue, I told Geeky Girl through high school. There will be people who don’t wave to you in the hallway and you’ll want to think that they did so on purpose, as a slight. And maybe they did. But, I told her, it’s best to assume they didn’t. Assume the best in people without getting walked all over. It’s a fine line to hold. Always believe in yourself, be true to yourself. I told her all of these. And I told her to be the bigger person and be the first to patch things up.
I remember so many situations in middle and high school, where I was put down by “friends.” I’m sure I did my fair share of ignoring people, purposely not talking to people, and other behaviors intended to hurt people’s feelings. It’s a kind of defense mechanism really. Someone hurts you, you find someone else to hurt and/or hurt them back. I don’t want Geeky Girl to do that. If I could keep her from getting hurt at all, that’d be great, but I know that I won’t be able to do that. In the short term, she’s going to be around these people for quite a while and she’ll need good friends to navigate the teenage years. In the medium term, her horizons are about to expand when she goes to middle school and she may or may not remain friends with these same girls. And then in the long term, the chances of her remaining that close to her elementary school friends beyond college are pretty slim. Possible, but not likely. But, of course, all that is meaningless in the moment. And in the moment, she wants the whole thing to go away. And now it’s on her shoulders to try to make amends, even though she wasn’t in the wrong in the first place (no one was, really). A lot for a ten-year-old.