Last night Thalia came home from school, not her usual happy self.
“What happened in school today?” I asked.
“Well, today we made friendship bracelets. But no one made me one.”
Evidently the kids all created bracelets for anyone they wanted – a kid in the class, a sibling, a parent. But while many bracelets were exchanged, she was left bare-wristed.
After she explained the situation, she stuck out her bottom lip as far is it would go, lowered her lids beneath her long lashes, stared at the ground.
And promptly broke my heart.
I don’t want to be the parent who insists that every kid on the field gets a trophy “just for playing.” I believe in rewards for accomplishment and that life is sometimes unfair. But I understand why Valentine’s cards are expected to be handed out to everyone, the same as cupcakes and birthday invitations. I understand that social alienation in preschool is a whole different ballgame. I understand that the rule “You can’t say you can’t play” which my mom always talks about, makes a whole lot of sense.
And I understand that Thalia, my sweet, sensitive, social little girl didn’t come home beaming like she imagined the other kids did, extending her arm and squealing that someone had made her a friendship bracelet.