Thursday, April 17, 2008

An Update.

Basically, it's pretty much over.

The police have talked to both Frances and Marilyn, and to their parents. Yesterday the school counselor called me to see how Beebie was doing, and she's really doing great. Both girls have apologized to her, and she's forgiven them, and it's in the past.

Beeb never heard how bad the messages really were, and I'd like to claim that I did that out of some sort of supreme parental wisdom, but it was really out of laziness. After I heard a few of the messages, I just figured the rest were going to be basically the same and I quit listening to them.

It was beyond excruciatingly painful for me to see her being picked on. I myself was picked on quite a bit when I was her age, and there's still a part of me that will never, ever fully trust another woman because of how I've been bullied and backstabbed by other girls for the better part of my life.

I've been burned and betrayed by women more times than I even want to recall. I guess I kinda expect a guy to treat me like shit and screw me over, but when a woman does it, it hurts and scars me so much more deeply because no matter how guarded I am, it surprises me every single time - girls just aren't supposed to treat each other like that.

I saw my daughter handling the situation in a far more mature way than I did when I was ten. On the one hand, it made me think of what a jackass I would have been to those Mean Girls in retaliation. Ok, probably wouldn't have done anything back, but would have wanted to reeeeeeeally, reeeeeeally bad, and would certainly have cried myself to sleep a couple of nights a week. Really, I would have handled it like a complete pussy, who am I kidding?

On the other hand, however, it made me feel really good, like I've somehow actually managed to raise a well-adjusted kid. A kid more mature than I am, sometimes. How is that possible? The child is cursed with my neurotic DNA, including but not limited to my deep-rooted self-loathing, my OCD/antisocial tendencies and my constant sense of worthlessness and inadequacy.

Where did I go right with her?

I've tried to help her get involved with different activities at school so she can develop her interests and meet other kids who share them. Both of the Mean Girls are in the school's Special Chorus, along with Beebie. She hasn't asked to drop out; in fact she said that she really enjoys the Special Chorus and she's not going to let any Mean Girls ruin it for her. Wow. Here I am thinking I'm protecting her by trying to shield her from conflict, and here she's saying Mom, it's really okay. She's so much wiser than I am. It's enough for her to know that I've got her back.

It's really been rather uplifting to look back and see some of the choices I've made with regards to her over the last several years and how they've impacted her in a positive way. The one incident that stands out in my mind most prominently is when her best friend died three years ago, when he was eight. I wrote about it back in March of 2006, if you want to look at it.

I had the responsibility of calling the parents of the other kids in Jack and Beeb's class to tell them about Jack and the visitation and funeral arrangements. I remember other parents asking me if I was going to let Beeb attend the service. How I could let my daughter attend the visitation and funeral, knowing it would be so difficult and sad? I couldn't believe they were asking me, because to me, there was never a question.

How could I possibly deny her the chance to say goodbye to her best friend? How could I tell her No, I just don't think you're old enough to handle it? I couldn't fathom that. I didn't want her to resent me years later for not letting her go. And I thought it was important for us to let Jack's family know how thankful we were for the chance to have known him, even for what was really a very short time.

That was a call I made that others questioned - including my own parents and my husband's - that I have never regretted for a single moment. Yes, it was sadder by far than anything I've ever experienced. Yes, she and I held each other and cried the entire time, but I can't imagine not having the opportunity to remember Jack with so many other people who loved him as much as we did. I've never, ever regretted taking her with me to the visitation, the funeral and even the cemetery part. Beeb handled ALL of that shit with a maturity beyond her years. I was a snivelling wreck, of course, but she was amazing.

And I think that her friendship with Jack also helped her see how a real friend should treat you. I trust her ability to judge character and know who's a good friend and who's not. I've always believed that was Jack's enduring gift to her; a gold standard of what to expect from a true friend. And I love Jack for that.

The Jack experience was the closest I've ever been to questioning the existence of God. And sometimes I still can't believe that God would let this amazing kid live for eight years and then take him away. He never got to learn to drive a car, never went on a date or a college visit, never did all the things that parents look forward to their kids doing. And yet, the life he had was full, and the fact that we got to meet Jack at all is truly miraculous.

But enough about that. My point is just that I got some stuff right. A big thing. I made a choice in the moment and I've never doubted that it was the right one, and Beeb is the mature, well-grounded, self-confident kid that she is partially because I gave her a chance to experience something difficult. There is wisdom in pain. Nobody wants to see their child hurting, but it's important to keep in mind that This Too Shall Pass, and when it does, wisdom will remain.

It's our parental instinct to cover our babies with our wings until the storm passes, but shielding our children (and, for that matter, ourselves) from pain and suffering denies them the opportunity to learn and grow and gain from the experience. It denies them wisdom. What parent would deny their kid wisdom, no matter how they acquire it?

Flashlight TO THE HEAD. I still can't get over it.

I know I did the right thing, I mean, I guess I did. I feel good about it, and I'm so proud of Beebie. She hasn't let the whole experience make her feel bad about herself or about the other girls. She's moved on. I, on the other hand, hold grudges forever. FOREVER. It's awful.

I should let shit go and make room for more important and edifying stuff in my heart, brain, memory and soul, but I never do. I totally have to figure out why I'm like that.

Why can't I just grow up and act like my ten-year-old?

18 comments:

Amanda said...

Cheers to YOU - for getting it RIGHT with Beebie. You clearly have raised a great, kid. Be proud - don't question it!!

SiressYorkie said...

I think you're being too hard on yourself there, PK. Beebie is a completely different person from you, and as such handles things waaaaay differently too.

Part of the reason I wasn't sure I wanted to have kids was because of all the stuff you mentioned: the genetic hard-wiring of neuroses, anxiety, etc. and the fact that one day he'd have to go to middle school. It also sounds like you went to school with a lot of the same types of girls I did which is why I also have a hard time with female relationships. I always said I could never be a lesbian because I hate women.

But on the plus side, all YOUR experience can help you spot trouble further out, and you know what to do when someone threatens your kid. You knew instinctively what to do this time, didn't you? Give yourself some credit that all the crap you've been through can have a positive upshot. It has to, or else you'd be crumpled in a heap on the floor.

Which you may well be tomorrow, but today, you got it right. Let tomorrow take care of itself.

ZantiMissKnit said...

((((BIG HUGS))))

You're doing such a good job. You know what I think is a major thing? Letting your kids see you cry. I've never seen my parents cry, and it took years for me to be able to cry in front of ANYONE. It still feels shameful sometimes. Your kids know that its okay to cry; they've seen Mom do it.

BTW, I'd never stab you in the back, but that's just not how I roll.

Jo said...

Oh, you made me cry! Three cheers for you and three cheers for Beebe!

C'tina said...

Why do 10 year old have cell phones if they are going to abuse the privilege? Speaking of privilege, it is one to read about the sacred friendship between Beebie and Jack.

Bezzie said...

I'll be honest, the crap you've been thru the past week is part of the reason I'm kind of glad Chunky's a boy. I know he'll have his own trials and tribulations, but sometimes its easier for a parent not to be able to directly relate and re-live those trials and tribulations. (Wow, how lazy am I?)

But you got thru it. And onto the next part of the story.

Miss Darla said...

I'm so glad that Beebe is handling this whole thing so well. I hope that the girls involved have learned an important lesson.

I just couldn't go back and read about Jack. I read it a long time ago and just cried my eyes out. Just your mention of him made me cry all over again.

P.S. I'd hold a grudge forever if someone hurt one of my kids too.

Poops said...

You know, when they tell us that being a mother is the hardest job in the world, they're not kidding. And aren't we all our own worst critics?

Beeb is turning out to be an extraordinary young woman and you've got every reason to be proud. It's hard to know when, as a mother, you get something "right" but it seems you're doing it.

And it doesn't sound weird to me at all to say that you're learning from her. I learn from my girls all the time.

In the end, I'm glad it's resolved. Sometimes the problem with kids is that they just need the boundaries outlined more clearly as to what is and isn't appropriate behavior. I don't know about Evillina, but I think the other two have learned their lesson about how far is too far and what being mean can do.

Shoot, many years from now their kids will all probably have playdates together...

Cindy in Happy Valley said...

I suspect that your memories of yourself at that age (and your perspective of yourself now) is selling yourself way short.

Dkswife said...

Girls/women are overall just plain nasty to each other. I do not typically like women, and prefer to hang out with guys. There are a few exceptions of course.

Glad it all worked out.

BammerKT said...

Oh I know the answer to this one. Crazy skips a generation. My mom is the crazy one ;).

My hub and I both read your blog and he was like "Woo hoo way to go Beeb" when she said leaving that school would just be running away from her problems.

I suspect you are a much more well adjusted person than you think. See the rest of are equally, if not MORE effed up than you.

Hugs to you and Beeb and R.

Penny Karma said...

On the contrary, Yorkie, I think you'd make a magnificent lesbian.

Ferris Family said...

You rock as a mom and a friend to your daughter!!!!! You are amazing. Kudos over and over to you for the way you handled this whole situation.
Beebs and the boys are so lucky and blessed to have you.
Throw on your power panties and rock on with yourself!

Libi said...

You are an awesome mom, as many have told you. Concerning the Jack incident, you did the right thing. When my husband died, many questioned my letting his 2 children (my stepchildren), there for the funeral. It was a closed casket, but still. Death is a part of life. Learning about it while surrounded by those who love you is the best way to do it. You did well. Now hike those power panties up and face the world with confidence.

buttercup said...

I'm a lot like you. I was always picked on and teased and generally treated badly by other girls in Middle School. Even my best friend from elementary school turned on me. The results was that I have no friends from my school days I'm sure my horrible self image, depression, anxiety, yadda, yadda, etc is rooted back to those experiences too.

The relationships I've formed with other women, as an adult (30s till now) have, for the most part, been genuine, kind and giving. The ones who weren't(two)hurt me to the bone.

I applaud you for learning from your past and doing in your heart what you know is right for your children. Not many parents can do that.

Beebe will grow up to be a strong, independant woman who loves her family and stands firmly planted. I can't wait to see how your boys turn out. Don't stop blogging OK?

Oh and unless you've been wearing the power panties all week (ewwwww!), I don't think you need them any more. ;-)

Eryn said...

Oh my f*cking god. I fell off the internets for a while and look what I missed.

Beebie ROCKS!

You ROCK!

I'm just sorry I couldn't offer hugs during the middle of all this. How about a serenade of "You are the Champion" ala Chicken Little?

Ed said...

"on the shoulders of giants"

you're great.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton

Batty said...

You're an amazing mother. You handled the whole situation with such grace and good judgment. If I have kids and they get into a bad situation, I hope I can act with even a fraction of the sense and wisdom you have shown.