After chatting, and praying the day before at school, Andrew and I went together today to pick up Maria with both boys.
We walked in the door, all the kids eagerly greeting us, waving and flapping, this school has the opposite of the helicopter parent problem. As we said hi, I zeroed in on one little girl, two days in a row she has been hurtful, and walked up to her.
“Hi guys!” I greeted, but still looking at the girl, “Were we nice today?” I asked in a lowered voice.
“YES!” she said beaming at me, who was this child, who days before was bullying and frowning, the one who was always grumpy, now smiling.
“Yes!” she stood up, still waving excitedly. While the other kids normally do this, she normally doesn’t.
“I apologized to Maria!” she told me, beaming.
“Good,” I looked at her, “I am very proud of you,” and the frustration I was holding back was truly gone, and I was actually proud of this little girl. And she smiled and sat back down to do her work. “Yeah, I said I was sorry!” You could tell it made her happy. I walked by her to a tiny little girl, who didn’t greet us, who stared blankly at a computer screen.
I put my hand on her head, “And how about you, were you kind today?”
She nodded, without looking up.
I waved a special hi across the whole room to Emily, “Hi Emily!” I called her by name and she waved back proud, as Maria bounded to us.
Yesterday, when I picked Maria up from school, I had a special lollipop bouquet for Emily, and a note that I wrote her telling her how proud I was of her for standing up for Maria.
Yesterday, it was a warm afternoon, and when I walked in the door and held it out to sweet Emily, the one brave girl, every child got up and crowded her, instantly ooo-ing and ahhh-ing.
“This,” I told her after hugging her, “Is because I am so proud of you for standing up for Maria,” and she smiled back proud, while each of the other kids watched, two girls staring at their feet. She ran out to put it in her back pack while all the kids said, “ahhh, I wan’ some!”
As we walked to the car, “Mama, today a good day. Everybody nice to me. Even C and J, they all sit with me at lunch, and they say, they sorry they mean to me, and they play with me. And they say tell your mom I apologize to you, ok?” I was so glad, so happy. So thankful for wisdom that wasn’t our own in this situation that was so foreign with so many emotions, because the truth of the matter is for Andrew and I, it’s not just about our kid.
We drove right from school to Soup Plantation, a special treat for a special brave girl, who showed so much humility, kindness and bravery in a tough situation. She forgave without hesitation, sprouting self confidence along the way.
As we drove, we realized the more she shared about her day, that this was a very defining moment for Maria. She told how people shared their hearts with her, offered her a reflection of herself, conveying it in awed surprise.
“And Miss. G (another teacher) she tell me she no want anyone be mean to me, cause I so sweet!” she told me in awe, happiness. For the most part, Maria is pretty quiet at school, doesn’t demand attention, so to hear so many thoughts from others was bolstering. “And what’s sweet, like food?”
“Sweet means you,” I smiled, “kind and nice, and caring about others”
“Yeah, and they eat lunch with me, and they tell me they so sorry!”
I was so happy for Maria to feel such support, and I was honestly so proud of these girls to rise up, to offer apologies, and then see them accepted even. What a different world we would live in if more people offered those.