Just when you think you got the hang of parenting, the rules change. Like when you finally get your infant to sleep through the night and the very next night, they start teething and can't sleep because of the pain. Or when you think your big kid is finally making friends at school and they tell you that the kids say their hands are too big and they are ugly.
What do you say to that? "Honey, your hands are perfectly normal size," or "Maybe they are just jealous of what you have."
Seriously? Parenting sucks.
That moment when your kid starts to realize that they are the weird one, barely chokes the word out to you, and embarrassed by this confession, is the exact moment your heart breaks. Nothing you say next will make them feel better, you know this so you stay quiet, let them talk, and give them a hug.
If only a hug would take away the hurt or a magic wand will make them feel better.
Other kids suck. Their parents suck for raising such mean kids. And, I know that as people we all suck because when we don't understand someone or something we attack what we know will hurt the most. It's all part of growing up and it sucks.
Even though I can't address everything at once, I have a list of what I tell my kids, indirectly, in the hopes that if I say it enough, it will stick in their little brains to give them courage and strength to make it through a bad day.
5 things I tell my kids about growing up (every day)
1. Everyone feels weird and out of place.
You may feel like that out-of-place kid now but you will fit in, one day, just not today. Feeling like an outsider may never go away but there will come a time when you will be liked by those who will really matter to you. Besides, your mom and dad already adore you so who else do you already need?
There are mean kids who will seek you out to do deliberate harm just to make themselves feel better. I wish I could say that the behavior stops as they get older, but I know adults who still do this and they are very mean, very angry people.
3. You have nothing to prove to anyone, be you.
Sweet and sensitive is just begging to be picked on when it should embraced. Weird and outcast is the way kids treat the sensitive, misunderstood kids or the kids who don't quite fit in. One day, all the things that make you weird to others will be what others find brilliant and amazing.
4. You don't have to be friends with everybody.
It's okay not to be liked by everyone and don't try so hard to be friends with anyone because one day soon your world will expand far beyond the schoolyard, even your neighborhood. I pray that you will learn to pick the people in your life that will treat you with the same kindness and generosity that you show to others.
5. Home is where you belong.
I want to put you in a bubble and keep you close to me always, but I can't. What I can give you is a place to feel safe and secure in, our home. And, our home is anywhere we are all together.