“I am so irritated right now. None of my friends answered my texts to come over today.”
As I sat there, someone I thought was her friend, and someone who did answer her text, I wondered: Did she know what she just said?
So, I pause, and say slowly: “NONE of your friends?” (big smile on my face for a clue)
“Nope. Not one.”
This isn’t the first time I felt small around her. It was not going to be the last.
I could have said a million things at that point. I said none. I chose to just suck it up and be kind.
I chose not to make it about me.
However, a year later, it still pops into my head like an ugly enemy, eating away at my confidence.
This came on the heels of a different conversation I had with someone I help a lot at a school. I had just finished doing a ton of work for her. She walked up to me and said she was grateful for some newer volunteers because they had done all that work.
So, confused, I said, “Oh, no… I did all that.”
She responded: “Oh, get over yourself!”
I was shut down. I said nothing. Was I too full of myself?
I just continued helping her.
The memory of that will whack me in the gut from time to time and remind me how small some think I am.
Since each of these conversations, the relationships have continued as is… and I have not mentioned the way I feel. I know that part is on me.
Something happened recently that is making me rethink my choices.
My daughter was the only girl out of a group that wasn’t invited to a girl’s birthday celebration a couple of weeks ago. Every single girl in the group was invited… but mine. I got to see that reality on social media.
Now, this is bound to happen, they are new teenagers. However, this particular group is different. I have decided the past two years not to have birthday parties for our oldest because one of the girls was fighting with our daughter. We didn’t want to exclude anyone in that group. (We still celebrated, just not with that group, because it felt mean to invite all but one.)
So, here I am looking at a picture on social media of the entire group… but one… my girl. My mom heart breaks, but I start to have flashbacks of her friendship with the birthday girl.
For a year and a half, the birthday girl has been using my daughter’s supply needed for a class. I’ve had to buy more, while this girl’s supply is still full. For the past 7 months, this girl has been insisting, begging, she use something of my daughter’s, because she doesn’t like hers. My daughter has willingly handed it over. She didn’t mind at all. They were friends, right?
I recently went out of my way to make sure her mom didn’t worry when we were on an out-of-town trip…. texting pictures of her daughter, alive and well. While I had less confidence of if we were friends, I didn’t mind… the girls are friends, right?
And, here I am staring at a celebration this mom had for that daughter… and my kid was not in it.
Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention…. the mom is the same woman who said the first quote of this blog.
You would say this was a teachable moment for my kid. It was also one for me.
Is it possible to be too kind?
I cannot stand that thought. I was raised differently. My mom is extremely empathetic, and it all rubbed off on me. Here is a typical conversation I have had with mom my entire life:
“So and so called me a —–.” OR “You will not believe the sexist comment my boss said to me today.”
“Oh no! Is she/he mad at you? Did you do something to him/her? Hurt his/her feelings?”
“Ummmm…. I don’t know, but they hurt mine.”
Now that I’m an adult, I can appreciate what she taught me. She gave me an easy ability to be empathetic.
However, I wonder…. where is that line between kindness and being used/walked on? When do you decide that your feelings matter just as much as the person’s who is hurting you?
I really have no answer. I am sure many of you think I sound like a doormat. Sometimes, I wonder if that is true. However, I want to lay my head down at night and know I wasn’t ugly… know I didn’t treat someone the way they did me.
So, at a school event when that first person in this blog, mom of the birthday girl, walked up to me as if no birthday party, leaving my girl out, had just happened days earlier… I offered her seats by us. (Place was filling up, we were close to the action.)
Again… I wonder… you know, like I said above here… where is that line?
It is important for me to find an answer, because, now, our girl has been hurt tremendously, by the same people, by being left out. She brought up that we avoided birthday parties to spare feelings…. wondering why she was left out of this one… why weren’t her feelings spared… what did she do wrong?
So, help me. Where is that line? How do I stay on the correct side of it, without being ugly?
I know I have to figure it out fast, or I’m going to teach my daughters to lie down and be the doormat.