My girls have been fighting a lot. They have been getting annoyed with each other a lot. They have been getting annoyed with people they know a lot.
Thursday I had enough.
I unwittingly ripped off a band aid that had been protecting me for 22 years.
Growing up, I had very loving family. And I had a couple neighborhood friends who were sweet. I also had some friends from camp, who by the very nature of our friendship were not around or available to me on a daily basis. Friendship wise, that was about it.*
Friends were hard for me to come by.
My early school memories are sketchy. There was the day the girl in first grade punched me and broke my glasses. Or the time I let the boys use my lunch box as a soccer ball because I didn’t like my sturdy metal box anymore. I still remember the punishment for that decision as well. And then there was going to my 2nd grade teacher’s house. She had a pink bathroom. Who wouldn’t remember that?
The next memory is third grade.
Standing in the middle of the playground alone. Looking for someone to play with. I stood there, surrounded by playground equipment I was not good at playing on, alone. No one wanting to play with me.
Or the bullies in third grade who saw I was smaller and easily intimidated. They followed me out to the classroom (third grade was in a separate building up a hill), got in front of me and stepped on my toes with their cowboy boots. But that problem I could handle. I employed my bigger fourth grade cousin to walk me to class. That worked awesome until my mom found out and told me I had to stop doing that because I couldn’t make my cousin late for his class. Then they were back to stomping on my toes.
Every year continued to be more and more lonely. I just wasn’t a fit for any of the groups of friends, at the Christian schools I transferred to or when I transferred back to the small public school I had started elementary school in.
These memories have always hurt, but I had them tucked, for the most part, in a nice little box back in my memory–until Thursday.
Back to my annoyed little girls.
Girls, you need to get over that. Mama can tell you what happens to that little girl who gets annoyed easily with other kids. They end up growing up a very, very, very lonely little girl.
And with that, I ripped off the band aid that has been protecting me all these years. Sure, kids are mean, kids are obnoxious to each other, but I played a role in my loneliness as a kid. I didn’t understand or get along with kids my age for many reasons and I had tucked that away for a long time, but now the sadness and frustration are back out in the open. And for the life of me I can’t figure out how to put them all away again. How do I tuck them away? I really don’t know, so here I stand, crying again, as I have been for the last two days.
My husband is thrilled I shared that with the girls, we are both hoping they learn sooner, rather than later, what mama is trying to explain to them, what mama is trying to share. I am not so thrilled. He agrees I may need to share that again. I don’t know if I can. It hurt 22 years ago, it hurt Thursday, it still hurts today.
I didn’t know how to carry that pain all those years ago. And I still don’t know as an adult.
I want my band aid back.
*Thank you to my amazing cousins for sticking up for me in school–for risking their popularity to speak up for the girl no one stuck up for.