|My lovely daughter.|
There are those days as a mother when I am insanely proud of my children. I want to tell you about it today.
My oldest daughter had noticed the quiet suffering of a fellow student in one of her online classes. He was just struggling with lots of little things and they were building up and he just was feeling defeated. She took the opportunity to reach out to him because she wanted him to feel less alone. She told me that she wanted to find the right words to use in an email to him to let him know that she appreciated him and the contributions he makes. While she talked about it with me, I never read the email. Later, this young man's mother sent me a message to let me know what a difference it had made for him. She said he had smiled for the first time in many days. She wanted to let me know that Maria's tender little note had ultimately not only for her classmate but for his mother as well.
As mothers, our hearts are forever tied to our children.
Their happiness is our happiness and their grief
is the most profound grief we ever feel.
Maria reached out to this other student because of her own suffering. When we moved here to the farm, she was starting high school. We pulled her away from the only home she had ever known, and all her Colorado friends and family, and set her down her. That is a high challenge for a young teen aged girl. Moving to a small, rural, isolated place is just harder. Friendships here are generations old and grudges are carried around in corners of hearts for a lifetime. I mean that sincerely. I met a lovely mother in one of my children's activities and I think we could have been good friends but a relative of my husband's had been incredibly hurtful to this woman's mother-in-law almost sixty years ago when they were both reckless children. What happened had nothing to do with me but it hung over my head and we were not able to be friends. Friendly, but not really friends.
My children also had a hard time breaking into the inner circle here. We were very actively involved in a specific activity here and my kids were trying very hard to make friends. They were in fact encouraged by the directress, who is a very kind and lovely person. It wasn't going well but I wasn't sure if it was a matter of self-consciousness or a reality. We thought there was a push back from the other children. It turned out to be incredibly real. One of the parents in that group actually had the gall to send me an email telling me to ask my children to stop talking hers and to her child's friends because mine were intrusive. She wanted to let me know that they were long time friends and not interested in my children. To say I was incensed is to underestimate my feelings. To say that I wanted to throat punch somebody behind the Walmart is more accurate. To tell our children what happened was one of the worst moments of my life. I cried telling them and then I cried when they cried.
I can tell you that we have moved past this to the point at which I can pass this family in said Walmart without incident though I may never speak to her again. Ever. It is better this way. From a distance I can pity her children for the harm she causes them by encouraging them to so mean. In the end, it is their loss. Their children will never know the warmth and comfort that my children bring into friendship.
In the end, the incident left wounds on my children but rather than allowing these to fester and make them bitter, they have become very sensitive scars, ones which attune them to the needs of others. If nothing else, I should be grateful for the whole series of events because I have these incredibly kind and compassionate children now. If this other mother reads this, she should know that. Her cruelty has made my children more gentle. Her bitterness has made my children more sweet. The children they rejected are far finer people now than ever before despite her; really, because of her. The world is a better place for that.
Maria told me that because of what happened, she promised herself she would not only never do that to another person ever. Because of what happened to her, she would look for opportunities to reach out and show love and warmth to other people. Because of the horrible way we were treated, she sought out this fellow student and extended such warmth to him that it radiated out to his mother.
Somewhere out there is someone who is loved
better because someone else was hated more.
When I received that message from his mother, the relief and the comfort was palpable. My daughter may partially understand what she did for this student and his mother but she might never understand what it did for me. My hurt over my children's broken hearts melted in that warmth of her love for her fellow man. If I see that other mother in the store in the future, I might even smile. I know what she did but she never will see how far it extended. I know the love that radiates out from that point in space. I can feel it and I am not alone.