Friday, May 18, 2012

Metaphorical Dust Bunnies

My kid was not invited to a party last week and I emotionally imploded.  It turns out I am still 8 years old. In grade school. And miserable. Ok demons.. let's confront you.

When I was  kid I was very smart  and pudgy. I wasn't type II diabetes American obesity epidemic fat, I was 70s, boobies too early and chubby cheeked fat. I had a pair of jeans called Husky. I hate the word husky. There was this girl. She was a mean girl. I was her target for two years. I used to hide in the back of the library with Judy Blume so that I wouldn't have to deal with it, but she usually found me somewhere everyday and made my cry. I read a lot.

Years later I was working at my local pool and this girl, now an adult, showed up to swim. She recognized me instantly and her whole face transformed. She looked upset and remorseful and began to apologize. She told me it had haunted her, the way she treated me. Her parents were going through a nasty divorce and both her and her brother were assholes at the time. I told her it was all fine. I was fine. I had survived and it had honed my razor sharp wit and deep love of teenage novels. It did not kill me or scar me. At least not as badly as it seemed to scar her. That's what I thought at the time.

My daughter is in grade 2. She asked me if we could invite a friend swimming, so I called her mother. The mother said, oh. she is going to a birthday party. My kid overheard and her face crumpled. Everyone is going to x's party but me. X is one of my kid's closest friends. My heart stopped. What? Why weren't you invited? I felt tears burning, heart pounding, and I was instantly transported. I called this girl's mother. I couldn't stop myself. Why isn't she invited? The answer is simple. Because they are 8 year old girls and they use birthday parties as the end she was invited and had a great time. This is not the point of my story.

The point of my story happened in my head as I tossed and turned in my bed that night. I imagined the next two years of my daughters life, feeling rejected and humiliated. I put my childhood on her and it broke my heart harder than I felt when it happened to me. I realized she was going to have to go through shit. Not exactly the same shit, but shit none the less. There was nothing I could do about it. There was nothing I should do about it.  It is an inevitable right of passage.

I could go off an a rant here about today's parenting and their hamster-ball like over protection of their future anxiety disordered children, but I wont. Mostly because I fell prey, prey to trying to smooth my daughter's road. Of trying to screw with the hurdles she should have to leap. Of using terrible metaphors. The thing is, my childhood made me who I am, resilient, funny, adaptable and a reader and writer. Would I wish it on her? There are scars that make you beautiful. Not all do though.

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