It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon, and we’re almost home. The twins are antsy to get out of the car, and are busying themselves with the usual repertoire of sibling squabbles. Two minutes until we’re home, and I’m ready to touch and roll, too. Off to my right, I see a big bounce house, balloons, and children playing merrily. A very familiar group of women stand in a tight circle, talking and laughing, apparently without a care in the world. A tight-knit group of six. The seventh is conspicuously absent… me.
“Please don’t notice. Please don’t notice. Please please please don’t notice,” I silently implore my children. But it was no use. “Nicky!” my son exclaimed. “Nicky’s party! I want to go to Nicky’s party!”
As we drove past the house where we used to spend so much time, their glee turned to wails of torment. “WHYYYYYY??? WHY, MOMMY?” In between their sobs, my sweet little sons started asking me questions that I didn’t quite know how to answer. Why, oh why are their best little buddies having fun without them? What had they done wrong?
Nothing. My children had done exactly nothing wrong. How could I possibly explain that my own group of besties had dumped me like yesterday’s garbage? That people who were once like sisters had turned on me, and that my innocent children were now also excommunicated from the group of kids that they’d always done EVERYTHING with?
As we pulled into our driveway, my mind began to reel at the injustice of it all. I silently balked about how pathetic adult mean girls can be … but I was pulled back to reality by a tiny hand on my shoulder. “Mommy? Why are you crying?” My sweet little boy looked at me, with compassion in his eyes. “Don’t cry, Mommy,” he said as he wiped away his own tears.
I wasn’t crying about my former friends. I had long since moved on and forgiven them (for my own peace of mind). I’ve since made new friends. In fact, there have been some wonderful silver linings to that unfortunate situation. As adults, we know that sometimes life happens. Friends come and go. We are mature enough to understand this. But kids are another story.
As I unbuckled, I turned and looked into my sons’ tear-filled eyes. My sweet, kind hearted little boys. They did nothing wrong. All they knew was that one day we had a solid social group, and the next we didn’t. How can I possibly explain this to them?
As parents, we all teach our kids to be kind. We teach inclusion. We teach them how to recognize bullying behavior, and what to do about it. My own mother once told me that high school doesn’t last forever, and that the bullies would be gone when you graduate. She was wrong. There are adult mean girls, and those are the worst kind.
Be mean to me all you want. Roll your eyes and whisper when I walk by. Go ahead. Tell my secrets. Spread lies about me until you’re blue in the face. Do your worst. I don’t care in the slightest. I chose my self respect over trying to win you back.
HOWEVER … keep the children out of it. Grow up, and think for a moment about what you’re doing to innocent children that you once professed to love.
And to anybody out there who has broken up with a friend whose kid(s) were close with yours, I implore you … think about the kids. Just for a moment, please consider their feelings.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my sons and I are going to drown our sorrows in a pint of mint chocolate chip … and we need to have a little talk.