Sunday, February 16, 2014

Her Gentle Soul

Sam has no idea how lucky he is to have Stella as a big sister.

So, something happened that really depresses me. Yes, I'm probably overreacting.

Stella went to the JCC Parent's Night Out event last night - a great (affordable) childcare option where she got to swim, play, and watch a movie in her PJ's. Overall, she  had a great time.

But this morning, she told me that she didn't get any popcorn during the movie. "They forgot to give me some," she said, playing with her mini-Lalaloopsy.

"But honey, I smelled popcorn on your breath last night," I said.

"That's because I ate some off the floor."

My heart sank. My kid ate popcorn off the floor. Because she was too shy to ask for what was rightfully hers. What the hell is this? Oliver Twist?

This isn't the first time this has happened. A kid gave out cookies for the 100th day of school recently, and forgot to give one to Stella. When I asked her why she didn't tell the kid that she forgot her, Stella said, "I didn't want to hurt her feelings." She didn't want to hurt the feelings of the kid who passed her over, even though Stella's own feelings were hurt.

I love having such a gentle soul for a daughter. Unlike me at her age, she has never once lashed out at her baby brother (I was not so kind to my little sister - just ask her). Even when he pulls her hair and swats at her face, she says, "Oh, Sam, that hurts!" Then she gently pulls his hands off of her.

As a baby, she never once hurt our cats. I was expecting that phase where she pulled their tails or picked them up or what have you, but it never came. She petted them gently, kissing them and snuggling with them occasionally. But never did she hurt them.

On the playground, she's the kid who waits patiently at the top of the slide while the toddlers goof off on the bottom. She's waited so long that I've implored her to just go ahead and slide. I tell her the little guys will move when they see her coming. But she will have none of that.

Last year, she was bullied by another kid in her class. Yes, her preschool class. This kid got two other kids to refuse to play with her, to make fun of her, to treat her like absolute crap. Being the hot-headed Southerner I am, I went off in the car one day, saying something to the effect of, "You need to tell that little brat that you don't want to play with her - that you only play with nice girls!" Stella's eyes welled up with tears and she said, "But Mommy, that would hurt her feelings!"

Stella is a special kid. With that type of overwhelming empathy and love for her fellow humans, I wouldn't be surprised if she moved mountains one day. But for right now, my heart breaks. It breaks to see her refuse to stand up for herself, to lose out on fun things, to stand at the fringe while the other kids have so much fun.

I always swore I'd accept my kids just as they are. I've planned out the loving speech I'll give them should either come out as gay. Or Republican. I swore never to be a stage mother, never to get too involved in grades, never to push my kids to go to Centre College (although that's going to be a tough one for me).

But I didn't expect to have to accept my kid for being reserved. And quiet. And amazingly passive when it comes to standing up for herself. She's a happy kid. She enjoys her life. Me butting in will solve nothing. But it hurts to see this mini-human whom I love more than I can even stand let herself get treated worse than she'd ever treat someone else. When I figure out how to reconcile all these conflicting emotions - I'll let you know. As for today, I plan to hug her extra tight and pop her her own bag of popcorn.

1 comment:

judy skaggs said...

To her Mamaw she is truly "The Best"...I could go on & on about it but I have to say...why didn't someone notice she didn't have any popcorn? I want to cry about that & how hungry she must have been...