First, an update on Girl Guides: things are settling down a bit, but it continues to be a huge time suck. I go back and forth between feeling like I am getting the hang of things, and feeling like I am thisclose to throwing in the towel because the whole thing is impossible. It’s funny how I used to shake my head at teachers, and wonder how they could possibly do what they do – hardest job on Earth, I’d say – and now I am kind of among their ranks, planning lessons and activities and trying to organize a gaggle of girls, which is much harder than you’d think. At least Sir Monkeypants has stepped in to be my full support staff – making phone calls, dropping stuff off, picking stuff up, craft prep, not to mention taking on a huge share of the housework. And my co-leader Jen is the Bomb Diggity. So there’s that, but I’m not sure I would return for a second year.
Second, we are having an awkward situation with one of the children – I will try to keep this anonymous, but it’s one of the girls. She has another girl in her class this year that she just can’t seem to “click” with. My daughter wants very, very much to be this girl’s friend, and this girl is not receptive. And that is okay! A girl should be allowed to choose her own friends! We are long past the age where everyone is expected to play nicely with everyone else.
Some mothers go a little Mama Bear when they feel that their child’s feelings have been hurt, but I tend to do the exact opposite – assume it’s all my kid’s fault and apologize profusely. It comes from years of assuming everything is my own personal fault, I suppose, and the struggle to try to fix every thing that goes wrong ever. When my kid comes home with a conflict, it’s less of, “Tell that other kid to suck it!” and more of, “Take a hard look at yourself and figure out what you did wrong, and what you could do differently in the future.”
But my daughter here isn’t really doing anything wrong. It’s just a mismatch. For example, she got this girl’s number so she could call and invite her over on the weekend. But when she calls, the other girl is always busy – just running out the door! just sitting down for a mid-afternoon snack! Her parents aren’t home, and she isn’t supposed to be talking on the phone! And then she says she’ll call back later, but of course, she never does.
If my daughter tries to pin her down to a time to get together – “How about next Saturday afternoon?” – it’s always, “My parents won’t let me, they don’t know your parents.” I even, at my daughter’s insistence, wrote a long letter to this girl’s parents, introducing myself and giving them every possible way to contact me and inviting them to stop by and say hello, and suggesting we work via email to get the girls together. Crickets.
And that’s okay! Because a girl should be allowed to choose her own friends!
But this is what comes of generations of girls who are afraid to hurt feelings. Who couch the truth and make excuses and hope others will just get the hint. I know, I have been one of those girls, I still am one of those girls. I’m someone who doesn’t know how to say no in a polite but firm manner.
So I get it.
But now I’m left with the mess on our side. I have already had gentle conversations with my daughter along the lines of What A Good Friend Acts Like, and How Much Effort A New Friend Is Worth, and How Sometimes A No Doesn’t Quite Look Like A No. But she is determined – more than that, she believes she and this girl are best buddies! and are just having some scheduling issues. It’s time for a talk on the subject of She’s Just Not That Into You, I suppose.
Sigh. Kid politics are rough sometimes.