My heart just broke into pieces last night.
My little girl, who is now thirteen, came to me and asked why her cousin doesn't write to her anymore. I asked if she was writing. "Yes, but I don't write as much anymore because she never answers." I started to say something and she interrupted me, "Don't say it's because she doesn't get on the computer much, because I know that she's writing to my brother. I just don't understand why she doesn't like me anymore."
I hugged her and told her not to worry about it and assured her that her cousin does still like her but that maybe she's having one of those typical young girl crushes on him. It happens. Of course, my son overheard this and rolled his eyes and said, "Ewww." And my daughter wouldn't talk again until he left the room.
I told her that I have friends all around the world and that if she would like, I could ask one of them who has a daughter who is a little closer to her age (her cousin is 14 months younger) if she would like a "pen pal." Her lip started to quiver and she shook her head no. I asked her why not? And the tears fell as she whispered, "What if they don't like me either?"
OH GOD! My heart hurts for her. She said that out of the 40 girls in her class at school not one of them is her friend. She said that people are always friendly to her until they find out she's a foreigner, and then either snub her, or want to borrow money. The only time they want to be her friend is on exam days because she is very smart; on English exam days, she has more "best friends" than she could ever imagine. She knows they're using her. And I just want to hold her and kiss her and tell her it will be okay....that none of those girls deserves her friendship and then we'd braid each other's hair and bake cookies.
But I'm just her mom. And while she finds consolation in my hugs and words right now...I know that it won't be for that much longer. And I know that I'm never going to be the "girlfriend" that all of us think back on when we remember our middle school years. But I'll keep trying to carve out another chunk of time for just her and keep trying to hug and console and comfort her while poking all those girls with imaginary sticks in my mind for hurting my baby.