11 December 2008

Unexpected lesson

Since I'm having no luck finding the words to start this entry, I'll use TJ's. At the moment she said this, it felt like her soul was speaking to my heart.

My worries wake up with me
and yawn
and eat breakfast with me.

In retrospect, I, too, could have said good morning to those worries over a bowl of cereal. They have been present in our lives for the last year and a half (except for that too brief hiatus over the summer). What makes it worse is that I know the names of the worries, and that I let them trick me into thinking they were friends.

I hesitate to name the source of the worries. The blame doesn't belong to the organization we were in, nor to the girls in the group we were part of, nor to their leaders (who truly did try to help my TJ fit in), nor to the parents. Friendship: you just can't force it.

TJ and I have had a number of discussions about friendship since her revelatory words on Friday night. The best analogy we came up with to help her understand the situation was that finding a friend is like finding a piece of a puzzle that fits with your piece. The girls we had been meeting with -- twice a month! since September 2007! -- their puzzle doesn't have a place for TJ's piece.

TJ has lots of true friends, but they don't all know each other. I thought that this activity would provide her with a community of friends based on common experiences (what we did during our meetings). The five other little girls in the group all attend school together, leaving my dear one the odd one out of virtually every conversation. "Mommy, why isn't anyone speaking to me?" Also to be read as, Mommy, can you get me out of this situation?

It is obvious ... now.

So, whose lesson is this, anyway? Required reading: Little Big Minds by Marietta McCarty, a book on sharing philosophy with kids. Chapter 2, Friendship.

One bright spark from this misery, TJ came up with the solution. She just had to come down to my level and speak in a way I could understand. I guess I have the topic for my next blog entry.


Louisa said...

I guess I'm dancing around the subject an awful lot. It shows how much I have yet to process about my part in making her continue an activity that made her miserable.

Anonymous said...

A hard life lesson to learn so young...but valuable nonetheless...don't be so hard on yourself.
You have a wise little girl..remember, some discomfort in life is ok!