Before I got pregnant, I only thought about the "minor" parts of being a parent. I thought about what cute maternity clothes I would wear. Would I have a boy or girl? Will I puke as much as Steph did during pregnancy? I dreamed about the baby's nursery. I knew it would be tough waking up numerous times in the night. (Although, I had NO idea it would be every two hours for the first six months!) I understood that my life would change.
I never once thought about the "major" part of being a parent. I didn't think about what I would do if we were handed a diagnosis that will affect our child for the rest of her life. (even though I KNOW it could be so much worse) I never DREAMED they would know and understand cancer at the tender ages of 6 and 4. I never imagined I would watch them climb in the limo with my parents and the Phillips family to follow Steph's casket to her final resting place.
That was, hopefully, the hardest thing we will have to do for a while. But now, here I am, in the middle somewhere. The place where other kids don't see how their actions and words hurt others. A place where I know she will be fine...but wonder if I can take it myself.
Claire told me yesterday that a girl in her class (we will call her Gretchen) said to another girl, "Don't sit by her...I don't like her." And pointed to Claire.
I swallowed the giant lump in my throat and did some deep breathing techniques. I said something along the lines of, "Oh Claire, I am so sorry she said that. She obviously didn't listen very well when your teacher was talking about using only kind words. If you would like I will talk with your teacher and make her aware of this. I want YOU to know that you are amazing and it is her loss if she can't see that. By talking that way, it will probably make it hard for her to keep friends."
What I wanted to say....
"Well Gretchen is an idiot."
I want Claire to understand what I learned 2 years ago. They can't hurt you if you don't let them. You are stronger than that. You have already done the tough stuff. You are tougher than that. That behavior is ugly. You are beautiful inside and out.
And if that doesn't work, maybe we will take Cohen's advice that he offered as he listened to us talk. "Claire, you just need to tell Daddy which kid it is and he will go up to your school and whoop 'em."
I'm sure in a few days I will be able to step back and have sympathy for Gretchen. Maybe she doesn't have someone to love her and make her feel strong and confident. Maybe she has gone through tough stuff too and doesn't have people around her to build her back up. But for right now, the gloves are off and I'm fighting mad. For now....Gretchen is an idiot.