Sunday, November 14, 2010

Communing with the enemy

I have written extensively about my daughter, Emma's struggles with her BFF Charity. We have experienced many bullying instances and mean spirited encounters with Charity over the years. My relationship with Charity's mom hasn't been much different. I often feel manipulated by her and deal with negative feedback all the time. The responses I get from my blog entries are all the same. . .dump them!!

We did dump them over the summer. It was after a particularly horrible instance at the beach where my daughter's ultimate safety was at risk. All the years of mistreatment piled up into one moment and we stopped communication entirely. Then school started again and Charity and Emma, although not in the same class have the same special and Spanish schedules therefore being together 2 hours a day. Charity has been nothing but kind and friendly to Emma.

I have also written about popularity. Fifth grade seems to be the grade where the popular girls start to really take center stage. Emma has very comfotably settled into the role of "regular." She has formed some excellent friendships with other "regular" and nice girls. They have a group of four that do everything together. Charity hasn't found her spot yet. She travels from group to group, sometimes playing with Emma and friends, sometimes playing with her closest friends, sometimes following the popular girls around. Emma sees her as a "wannabe" (from "Queen Bees and Wannabes"). She wants a cell phone - like all those girls have. She wants a boyfriend - like those girls. She wants to be invited to their parties and out to the movies with them (hasn't been yet). She wants to invite them shopping with her (no one has gone yet) and she wants to dress like them.

Thankfully Emma and her group don't care about that stuff and none of them is even close to boyfriends or cell phones yet (they still play American Girl Dolls and Barbies when they get together). You show Charity a Barbie and she rolls her eyes and runs the other direction. She is going to the Justin Beiber concert this week and missing school the next day. . .who has time for Barbies??

Yesterday we had our first outing with Charity and Patty since the whole summer incident. They and another family met us at a festival and the three 10 year old girls were together laughing, hanging out and just had fun together the entire time. There was not one insult or negative comment from Charity's mouth. When my daughter was nervous about going on one of the rides, Charity even stood up for her and said, "It's ok, you don't have to. Sometimes I get nervous too."

Patty and I talked a lot. It was like old times. Obviously she knows that there are reasons we cut off communication, but neither of us went there. She treated me with respect and kindness. But when she started to go down the negativity path (Why would you want to hold a birthday party there?? In response to my birthday plans for my youngest daughter), I just responded with short answers and steered the conversation in another direction. She can be a snob. She can be negative. But she doesn't treat anyone else this way except for me that I can see. Just like her daughter doesn't treat anyone else the way she has treated Emma. Is it because we have been so close that she feels she can be truly herself and honest? Is it that she and her daughter feel like they can treat us like sisters and be mean at times even though they love us?

Doesn't matter why. We will continue to keep them at arms' length. We will do things with them on occasion, but focus on our more positive friendships. But they are deep down, good, caring, honest people. And I am a kind person who forgives other's faults. I forgive her. I forgive Charity.

Life is so much sweeter when you are surrounded by friends, not dodging from your enemies.