And just as a parent of singletons experiences, it is a wonder to see different physical characteristics that have been inherited from their paternal or maternal genes. R got his Daddy's dimples and eyelashes. P got his hair and face shape. K got his curls and apparently his vision problems. (She got so many of his strengths, I guess it is only fair that a weakness or two would come through.)
She was diagnosed with myopia during Thanksgiving Break, and like her brother two years ago, K got her first pair of glasses today.
It has been interesting to watch my normally confident and unruffled girl be a bit anxious. Apparently a couple of kids told her she was going to look "weird and strange." And so begins the maternal struggle to equip my child for mean-spiritedness.
My first instinct was to call their Mamas or to tattle to the teacher. But, honestly, it is not even remotely at that point. She's not being socially maligned. There haven't been any tears shed. She is not in danger. She's just feeling a little insecure (for the first time that I have noticed.)
It is real life. People say things--especially kids. I can't (and won't) be on every playground to fight every battle for my children. Sure, it would have made me feel like a crusader for a moment, but it wouldn't have changed anything. My job is not to bubble wrap my children so they can float through this world detached but unscathed. No, my role is to train them up in how to make their way in this world. In it, but not of it.
So even though it stung my heart (probably more than hers if I am honest.) I equipped her instead. We talked about how to handle it. We lamented that people say silly/teasing things sometimes because they have no idea what to say (especially 8 year olds). We reflected on how important it was for us to remember that even teasing words can sting. We committed to learn from this experience not to treat others the same way.
It brought back memories of my own elementary school experience...different decade, same experiences. I was 'wise owl' for being intelligent, 'wicked witch' because of my coal black hair, 'olive oyl' because of my skinny frame. I was a very late bloomer, extremely petite (4 ft tall and 48 pounds in 6th grade) so out of necessity I dressed in clothes intended for children much younger than me. I will never forget, my sweet Mama back in 1985 drying my tears, turning on MTV for inspiration (seriously, a ZZ Top video) and helping me emulate a foldover ruffled sock and tennis shoe combo to bring a bit more relevance to my wardrobe.
Our incident hasn't required MTV, but we did find some fun (bright blue on the inside) glasses K could get excited about. When I got the call it was time to pick them up today, I drove over to check her out of school with butterflies in MY stomach. I called a friend and confessed that perhaps I was more anxious than my girl. I asked her to join me in praying that I would CALM DOWN and not become the source of the very anxiety I was trying to help her avoid. I had to lay down MY stuff in order to love my girl appropriately.
And, again, I was the one who was nervous on the inside. Her class was at PE, so as we swung open the door to the gym I inhaled deeply. A precious friend shouted, "K! I love them!!" The other girls in her class dropped their basketballs and formed a circle around her, smiling and offering complimentary words. My heart practically burst open with thanksgiving for the kindness of those children.
These little hearts...this big world...a mother's vulnerability in her love...God has ALL of it in His plans and in His Hands.