Do you ever have those moments when you wish knowledge you gained now you actually had back during an earlier stage of your life? Me? All the time. But some things you can’t learn until you go through a situation and discover what does and doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to go through that situation many, MANY times.
Then you have kids and you hope they don’t make the same mistakes you did; that it doesn’t take them as long to learn what works and what doesn’t. We try to impart on to them life lessons that we’ve learned, trying to save them from embarrassment or frustration or sadness.
When my seven-year old was getting ready for school she became very agitated about brushing her hair. She has long, thick hair that’s prone to getting knotted because my daughter tends to twirl and spin and flip and stand on her head often so she doesn’t like when I brush it because it will probably pull. But this morning she started crying and I wasn’t brushing that hard, really.
When we talked, she confessed she was upset because one of her good friends didn’t seem to want to be her friend anymore. With a little more discussion I discovered that my daughter didn’t know why this girl didn’t want to be her friend. I remember school and the importance of friendship. I also remembering being so concerned about having and keeping my friends that I was always on guard for the slightest warning, a sign that my wonderful friendship community would crumble down around me. Why did my friend choose another library partner today? Why did my friend not ask me to be on his team at gym? Talking to my daughter was like a flashback.
So I gave her a hug and offered one of many lessons I learned later in life:
talk to your friend. Ask her if she’s upset with you and why. Perhaps you did something inadvertently to upset her, but you’ll never know. And if sadly it’s true she doesn’t want to be your friend at least you’ll know for certain and why.
When I met up with her at lunch she was in better spirits. It turns out her friend just wanted to play with someone different, someone she hadn’t played with before, but that they were still friends. My daughter was happy. I was happy. I’m glad those stressful, obsessive and embarrassing moments of my youth could benefit my daughter. Hopefully in the future instead of guessing and assuming and predicting the worst case scenario, my daughter will talk to people to get the whole story. If she can learn that in elementary school, she’ll be years ahead of me.
Now if only I could get her to learn the lesson of no mittens and cold hands.