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I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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growing up is hard to do

My second grader bursts through the door after getting off the bus, wrestling to break free of her backpack, coat, boots, gloves, etc. before she runs inside.  I’m sure she desperately needs to use the bathroom, so I step aside to make way.  Instead, she rushes straight to the phone, frantically scrolling through the caller id to find a friend’s number. 

“What on earth are you doing?” I ask.

“I have to call Courtney,” she says, “quickly!” 

I finally realize she’s trying to call this friend before she makes arrangements with someone else.  It’s been coming up more often lately.  A gaggle of second grade girls in our neighborhood are competing–in the ways girls do best–for playdates, bus seats, recess time, and other little ways.  Sigh.

This is her only “free” day this week, so I forego my usual after school requirements of homework, piano practice, and chores to let her finish the call.

“Hi, this is K.  Can Courtney play? . . . Oh, ok.  Maybe next time.”

“What happened?” I ask.

“She’s already playing with Lora.”

Oh.  Wow.  I can feel her disappointment.  We talk about other friends she can call, which she tries without success.  I make her a snack, talk about the day, and try to make light of it.  I suggest she try organizing a play date for tomorrow, so it won’t be such a rush.  It doesn’t take. 

My heart aches.  How can this be starting so early?  I want her to be carefree, to not let her happiness depend on the availability of others, to not care so much about nailing a playdate with this one girl, today.  I’m really not too concerned about K’s ability to make friends, and these are friendly, compassionate girls, but I can just see the cliques and social dynamics, the intense desire to belong, already.   Yikes.  Junior high all over again.  At seven. 

What should I have said to help her understand that she can have fun without competing for friends?  What should I have done?  Make it an issue, or let it go?

She seems to be over it, so I let it go.  I take advantage of the moment to rush to my laptop.  I need to write a post to submit to that weekly carnival.  I want to post it right when ”Mr. Linky” goes up so I can be listed early and not be forgotten in the crowd.  If I do, more people will click on my link, and more people will visit my blog, and maybe they’ll write a comment or two.  Because it’s really important to build up your readership if you’re going to be a “real” blogger, or journalist, or writer, or wherever this path is taking me.  Right? 

Then is hits me.  Oh.  Wow.  Like daughter, like mother. 

Maybe we all have a bit of growing up to do.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mms0131

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13 comments to growing up is hard to do

  • Oh, this is SO true. Great post. I love it. We do this at different levels all throughout life. It’s so hard to know how to teach our kids to not be so concerned about the approval of others…YIKES :)

    You are just such a good writer. I love how you think.

  • OOhhh- I could feel the old hurts resurfacing when I read this — my own, as well as those of my son when he was growing up. As the parent of an only child (and an “only” myself), I had to work harder to help my son learn how to make friends. It was heartbreaking at times. Rejection is never easy, but everyone has to go through it and learn how to cope. My son’s really a social guy now — and a good, loyal friend. So things do get better — hang in there!

  • What a meaningful post. I can soooo relate. I found you this morning through High Calling Blogs. Welcome to our faith community. It’s a great place to connect with others. I’ll be dropping by again! Blessings to you …

  • I love how kids help us to see ourselves better. It’s a grace.

  • kid lessons are the best.

  • My daughter is 7 and in second grade and I have seen this very scenario, down to the blog post! =) , played in out in my own home- do you a have a fly on the wall? =)
    Thank you for your insight!

  • Great post. My 4th grader came home the other day talking about the “popular” kids. I was like, in FOURTH grade?!? Does it really have to start already?

    And yes…I look for comments on my blog as well. Popularity…hmmmm…

  • Forgot to say…thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • Ouch! You’re right, it does seem like these issues are starting earlier and earlier. It’s painful to watch your kids go through that…especially when they’re so young. And the blog posts…guilty here, too. Wonderfully written, and that photo is great. It’s so good to find your blog!

  • Diana Cottle

    Pam, I’ve been meaning to write to tell you I’ve so enjoyed your blog and the things you have been sending out to WOW Moms. Even though I’m not there, I always read the emails. I’m learning a lot at this bible study, but still miss you all. You are a very talented writer and I never fail to be comforted when I read your thoughts. Take care and God Bless.

  • OH OUCH! I have six kids – five girls…it doesn’t matter though because its the same “thing” for each one of them. I know I tell my kids one thing and then do another (like incessantly check my “counter” on my blog for days after I post…); when I catch myself playing “the game” I try to remind myself who I am in Christ.

    Thanks for your post.

  • [...] trouble ahead; I’m sure of it.  The posturing and friendship dramas already flare upon occasion, and I have no doubt there will be more to come.   But there’s [...]

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