Tonight I hurt. I hurt because my little girl is hurting and even if it is just little 4 year old hurt, I can see in her little eyes that it’s big hurt to her. Why does the hurt start so early? Why can’t we protect our little ones until they are big enough to handle the hurt? She was so sad. So sad and used such “real” words to explain her sadness. “I don’t think she likes me anymore mommy. I feel like she’s done with me and I feel like she thinks I’m her OLD friend and M is her NEW friend. I’m just the old news now mommy and I’m not ready to be the old news. I still love C.” I choked back tears as she said all of this. I told her that tomorrow will be a new day and she’ll be “in” again. I asked her if C said anything that made her feel like “old news” and she said, “she wouldn’t hold my hand while we were dancing. She would only hold M’s hand. She kept shaking my hand away. I told her she was making me sad and she said she just didn’t want to hold my hand.” And the tears were rolling down her cheeks as she relived it for me. And I held her. So close I held her. I wanted to tell her, I’M her friend, will always be her friend and all she needs is me. But I know that’s not what she needs to hear. And I know that’s not true.
All I want to do is run into school tomorrow and smoosh C’s face into the floor. Grab her hair and tell her if she isn’t nice to my daughter, she’ll be sorry. But Hannah needs to handle this. Be a big girl and figure out how to make it work with these little girls. I told her I’d help her. I’d help her figure it all out. She looked so little lying in her bed. So little but so big. How’d she get so big? She rolled over and looked at me and said, “By morning mommy? By morning will you come up with something to make this all better?” “Mmm Hmmm” I quietly said as I pushed her wet-from-tears hair away from her eyes and pulled her piggy blanket up to her neck. And she rolled back over, thumb in her mouth, pulling her stuffed Ellie closer to her chest. Still so little.
So I’m sitting here. Trying to think of the right words. The words to bring her a wonderful day tomorrow. I want to choose the right words for her little ears. I’ve been taught to speak the truth, be realistic, don’t expect too much. I was raised with those words in my head. But those are not the words I choose to speak. Those words are too big for little her. I won’t tell her that girls are often mean, that it’s a fact of life that feelings get hurt, that maybe these are not the right friends for her, that she needs to BE STRONG and walk away. I WILL tell her to keep smiling. Keep trying. Keep reminding C why she was her friend in the first place. I want her to know it’s ok if C sees her sad. Because she is. I refuse to tell Hannah to let C think she’s fine when she isn’t. “Playing hard to get” doesn’t make sense to a 4 year old.
I’m sitting here while my little girl sleeps, hopefully dreaming happy dreams and without an ounce of hurt. I’m sitting here still hurting. Still hurting because I know. I know that I don’t have all the right answers. I will pretend to but really, all I have is experience. Experience as a girl having gone through some sad, tough, confusing years. I remember what it was like, maybe a little too well. But I choose to be the face of optimism. I choose to let her believe she can tackle all of it, that other kids would be lucky to have her as a friend (which they would). I choose to let her know I am here for whatever she needs me for. She’s four. She is little. But this is a big deal to her. And it’s big for me too. So for her, and for me, we will make the hurt go away.