It’s been awhile since I posted here. More on that in another post entitled ‘Summer Happened’. It’s been a nice hiatus but now it’s good to be back writing…
Up to now, in her brief 6 years on this planet, Maddie has cruised through life incident-free. Many minor “accidents” – a bruised elbow here, a bumped head there, but no real scary “oh my god” moments. We have been lucky.
And yes, many “mis-communications” – mostly with her parents. Frustrating times, these. Her little face will turn red and her feet will stomp all the way to her room, a loud slam as her door shakes in its frame.
Moments of sadness as well, tears welling up in her big, beautiful, brown eyes.
But none of this quite prepared me for what was about to happen.
Upon entering 1st grade Maddie quickly made a friend. They became best friends. They did everything together. Maddie followed her around like a puppy. Since she is one of the youngest in her class, she tends to defer to her older peers. She let her best friend take the driver’s seat in their adventures. Maddie was happy just to tag along. Soon, a playdate was set up. We met her parents and we all clicked. Everything was progressing swimmingly.
And then it happened.
Maddie and her friend were in line participating in a P.E. exercise. Maddie’s friend turned and told her that she smelled and that she should go to the back of the line. Maddie complied, and crumpled inside.
That night during bath time Maddie mentioned what had happened to me. It had taken her by surprise. I could tell she wasn’t sure what to feel. And I wasn’t sure what to feel, either.
Initially, I didn’t realize what a huge, traumatic event in Maddie’s life this really was. I thought, ‘Hmmm, P.E., they don’t really sweat much in 1st grade, do they? How could she smell? Something she ate?’ I failed to grasp the emotional impact.
Then, later that week, during our parent-teacher conference, it came up again. Maddie’s teacher had noticed a change in their relationship and she was sad. She thought it was wonderful that Maddie had confided in me and felt it was a testament to the strength of our bond, our father-daughter connection. I felt two very powerful emotions:
1. PRIDE – I was so elated that Maddie had shared her experience with me. There I was, on the bow of the Titanic, tears in my eyes, screaming, “I”M ON TOP OF THE WORLD!” This was the moment I had been waiting for, the moment that I had worked for these past 6 years, the whole reason I had become a stay-at-home dad in the first place.
2. ANGER – After the shock subsided, I was mad. I wanted to grab Maddie’s little “friend” by the shoulders and shake her: “What the hell is wrong with you, you…bully??!! Do you see what you did to my daughter?!!”
It became an awkward moment for me, every day before and after school, having to face the mother of the “bully”. She is the nicest mom in the world, a wonderful parent, and yet a small part of me was blaming her for what happened to Maddie.
We never found out what exactly happened. We put our collective parenting minds together and tossed around some theories. Maddie’s friend has an older sister…maybe she was transferring some anger or frustration…we don’t know.
Maddie is doing fine now and has made a new friend. All has been forgiven.
We eagerly await with trepidation the next “Incident”.
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Life goes on, yeah
La La, how the life goes on…