Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Being Different

Today was a big day, it was picture day at school. Mary was very excited about going to school all dressed up. Up until dismissal, Mary had a wonderful day. When I picked her up in the car line, she told me some girls made fun of her. We have been down this road before, sometimes it bothers her, sometimes it doesn't. This time, it really bothered her. Between the tears and the "I'm so ugly" comments, she told me what happened. While in the car line two little girls said her zits made her look ugly. Mary didn't even know these girls, but I suspect she tried to strike up a conversation with them which they were not interested in having. We couldn't get home fast enough. All I wanted to do was hold her tight, and yes, cry with her.

Once I got home and sat down, with this child as big as I am in my lap, I told her to just cry. I did not want to just tell her to brush it off, to ignore it. That's what I always say. This time, I felt like I needed a different approach. Especially when she started saying she wanted to leave that school, everybody is mean, etc, etc. I wish it was that easy. Unfortunately, I told her no matter where she goes, there will always be mean people. I have always tried to beat around the bush with Mary in regards to her differences. I'm done, before I knew it, I told her, "Mary, you are different than other kids". I used her friend in her class as an example. This girl is very different, she actually walks, talks, and looks different. I told Mary that even though she looks like everybody else, she is different. I hate to have to tell my child to stick with her own kind, but what else can I say? If every child was as loving and accepting of other kids as Mary is, then I wouldn't have to. I reminded her of all the people we do know that love and accept her for who she is and how she looks. We know a lot of beautiful people. Friends and family who are beautiful on the inside, which is the most important. I again, explained that people who use ugly words, are ugly inside and out. You know, the usual pep talk.

I never wanted Mary to feel different, and I knew at some point I would have to have a talk with her about her differences. Mary did acknowledge that she understood she is different, and agreed to try to stay with her friends and talk to other kids when she is approached in a friendly way. I think we are still too far off on learning to read social cues for her to be just striking up conversations with random kids. It makes me so sad, and it seems so contradictory to what I have tried to teach all my children. Be nice, have a good heart, treat others how you would like to be treated. We know so many kids that are taught the same things, and are accepting of other kids. Honestly, when I think about it, Mary is not the different one. Mean is different.


Sandy Nawrot said...

It is SO HARD. For Mary, there is the regular stuff and then on top of that there is the acne. Remember when Emma was having all those acne problems? People were saying shit to her too, and it got the point that she didn't even want to go to school. It is just harder for Mary to understand sometimes. These are such hard lessons to learn. And no matter WHAT you say to them to make them feel better (like we need to feel bad and pray for mean people, or about beauty being on the inside, or Karma is a bitch!), it still just hurts them.

Zibilee said...

Ugh! This makes me so mad! I really have a strong dislike for mean people, be it kids, or adults, but how hard it must be for a parent to have to hold a crying child because of someone else's thoughtless and cruel words. Mary is different, and in the most beautiful ways she is loving, compassionate, and emotionally exuberant. I have had this problem with my daughter as well, and usually it has to do with her weight. At one point, she was trying to starve herself to be thin and fit in with the girls who were making fun of her. It's just so heartbreaking that people are so mean to those who are different. I hope that over time, it gets easier for Mary to ignore those types of people, and to focus instead on those people who are loving and kind. Your daughter is such a blessing, and if the world can't see that, then they are the ones with the problem.