Man, I would have thought we’d have gotten farther out than the first day of school before this.
Not even eight hours into the new school year and already it’s the first episode of Kids Being Mean.
For the record, you have a perfectly lovely nose, and I’m not just saying that because we’re related and “that’s just the kind of stuff that moms say to make their kids feel better.” I wish I could’ve told Jennifer Grey back in the day that she too had a perfectly lovely nose, but I digress.
As previously mentioned, you don’t even need any feel better pep talks because you, unlike me, who can still remember the sting of when someone nicknamed me “Rebutta” in my own junior high hell, somehow can let it roll off your back like water off a duck.
And just so we’re clear, I’ve always loathed that phrase. Um, I am not a duck – I am a tween trying to fit in and be true to myself and balance all of the things without letting anybody see me sweat so your whole que sera waterfowl analogy makes no sense to my angsty twelve-year-old heart!
If by some chance, you have your dad and me fooled and the words of two hurt people have achieved their intended effect and in fact hurt you, then please know this.
Hurt people hurt people.
That may sound platitude-ish, but almost 45 years of time spent with other humans on earth have proven its undeniable truth in my own life.
It’s probably better that I don’t know the two individuals who have made degrading remarks about your nose, but I would bet my bottom dollar (and it gives me no joy being right about this) that someone has spoken cruelly to them.
I’d love to tell you that this is the last time you’ll be blindsided by such inexcusable meanness, but that would be a bald-faced lie. Don’t let the hatefulness from hurt people hurt you, Baby Girl.
As you grow older, and perhaps bolder, you’ll understand that in the moment, it can seem wholly unsatisfying to take the high road. Culture teaches us that it’s completely justifiable to respond to the haters with a razor-sharp verbal zinger that will just bring them to their knees.
But that just piles on the pain and insult, and then things can escalate quickly. I’m still reeling about a shooting from the other day that happened not too far from us, outside a youth football practice of all things.
You are already such a bright light at the tender age of thirteen, deflecting people who are just looking for someone to fight with, and diffusing verbal insults with a sincerity that makes the bullies ask “Gosh, why am I even acting like this?” I am in awe of you.
And that, my child, is exactly the kind of response that hurt people need to receive, over and over again, until they eventually realize there’s a better way to treat people.
So when you look in the mirror, with that beautiful, God-designed nose reflecting back at you, I want you to see what I see:
She who shares a smile with everyone she sees,
The one who friends confide in when they have worries or fears because they know there is no judgment,
A creator by nature who conceives ideas like leaving notes of encouragement on lockers at school,
She who comes up with special cupcake frosting recipes inspired by my hobbies and henceforth names them things like, “The Book Club”,
A thoughtful child who has been known to leave little Words of Affirmation on the front doorsteps of neighbors,
A loving soul who makes everything more fun, usually with a Broadway song accompaniment and dance moves way better than she got from her mama.
Keep being one of the good ones, my love. God’s got you, and I do too.