My daughter learned a life lesson the other day.
At her first opportunity she came to me and said "I have a problem. It's the most serious problem I have ever had. It's big".
Turns out she had borrowed something from a friend a couple of months ago. They actually traded items. Items worth between $20-$40 each. Today the friend wanted their item back.
Turns out she has lost that item.
"So what did you tell your friend?"
"I said I would bring it back tomorrow".
"Do you know where it is?"
"So how are you going to take it back tomorrow?"
"Well...can't we just buy a new one?"
I had her look for the lost item. Being 6, this lasted all of 5 minutes. She looked in the silverware drawer, the baking cupboard, the crack of space between our fridge and the wall.
Each time I said "Did you ever play with it there?"
"Then it's likely not there".
She was satisfied that we would just go buy a new one and the friend would be none the wiser.
And by "we" she meant "I".
"Did I lose it?"
"Then why should I have to buy a new one? Do you have any money?"
"No"...No, of course not, she's 6.
"Well, you are going to have to tell your friend what happened.
All hell broke loose.
"But I can't! I just can't! They will hate me! They will never talk to me again! No, Mom I can't...will you tell them?"
"Um....no. This is what happens when you get older...this is your thing, not mine...if you are going to borrow other's people's things, you have to be responsible for what happens to those things".
The tears are flowing fast and furious now. Knowing this family well, I try to reassure her that her friend will be okay, will understand that it was an accident. She does not believe me. I ask her if she would rather tell the mom instead and she just cries harder...worried more I think about disappointing the mom, than her friend.
"What are you going to tell this friend when they are expecting it and you don't have it?"
"That I forgot".
"No honey, it doesn't work like that".
I break it to her that her friend will be keeping she item she traded and that there will be no more borrowing between them.
She cries harder now.
I pick up the phone to call the mom and my daughter tries desperately to escape. When I get the mom on the phone she can barely hear me talking, Makenna is crying so loudly. The mom wonders What on Earth is going on at my end of the phone. Makenna'a eyes are red and swollen she is crying so hard.
I explain the situation and as I knew she would, the mom tries not to laugh and downplays the whole thing. After violently resisting me for a few seconds, I give Makenna the phone.
She whispers "Hello?"
The mom tells her to take a deep breath. She reassures her that her child will be fine and will understand and that this is not a big deal. Makenna sits there nodding, squeezing her eyes shut every few seconds, trying not to cry into the phone. She whispers "I'm sorry". Again, the mom reassures her everything is fine. Makenna hands the phone to me and retreats to the next room.
Five minutes after I hang up the mom calls me back saying her child would like to speak to my child.
This wonderful child, with grace and class well beyond their years, reassures Makenna that there is no reason to be upset, that things get lost and turn up all the time, and not to give it a second thought. This child calms her down like an older sbling would. Only then, after hearing it straight from her friend's mouth, does she sit up straighter, brighten, and smile. She hands the phone back to me, assuring me in a clear and confident voice, that everything is just fine.
My daughter, if you haven't guessed by now, takes things to heart. She internalizes, broods, and feels things very very deeply. She makes herself physically ill over things like the first day of school or a role in the school play. This seemingly trivial thing was a huge event for her. I have no doubt if she had kept this inside and not told me, she would have stewed about it all night and been physically sick about it, forcing me to take the day off work tomorrow without knowing why. I can only imagine what had been going through her panicked little mind since the initial conversation when her friend asked for the item back.
Those tears, and that raw emotion that came out of her, that was something else. Having to own up and admit that she lost the item and face her friend, really left an impression on her. I don't think she will forget all those intense feelings anytime soon. It also taught her that she has to be responsible for what she does, that I am not going to hide or clean up her mistakes, and most importantly...that even if she does mess up, her mommy and those that love her...will still love her.
This taught me that my daughter cannot hold things in. She sang like a bird about it, felt horrible, just sick about it, and cried more in 10 minutes than I have seen her cry in months. I'm thinking that this actually might be a good thing in the future.
I was again reminded that some moms, like the mom of this child, really know what they are doing. That child was so sweet with mine, it brought tears to my eyes. In 5 seconds that child made it all better, even though it was their item that was lost.
Thank you, for raising such a great kid.
- I grew up in a village of 500 people and now live in a beach town of 10 000. Wife to Jeff, Mama to Makenna and Jack. This is my place to share what's up with us, and the place where I sometimes need to pour my heart out about the not so sunshiney moments. This is my happy place. Thanks for stopping by :) Copyright 2012 by Melissa Wormington, that no part of this blog may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, without permission from the publisher.