lunes, 15 de febrero de 2016

Wearing Her Heart On Her Sleeve

I have a seven-year-old daughter.  She is old enough to express herself well, and young enough that she doesn´t censor herself.

For example, early in the school year, she was supposed to write down a goal for the school year and share it with the entire class.

Clara´s goal:  I am going to be better than everyone else.

My response:  Ummm . . . wanting to be your best is, indeed, a great goal.  However, you don´t think that maybe your friends might get offended about you wanting to be better than them?

Nah.  This thought never occured to her.  After I explained it, it still didn´t seem to make much sense.  But I did get her to tone down her goal.  (At least she´s socially saavy enough to try to appease me.)

Then, about two months ago, I found this scrawled across our message board:

Quiero que todos me quieren.
I want everyone to like me. 

How heart-wrenchingly honest.  

Do we all go through this phase when we wear our heart on our sleeve?  How long does it last before reality intervenes?  (Usually in the form of mean kids.)  How many heartbreaks does it take for us to bury our desire to express our need to be loved?  

For Clara, I sure hope it isn´t any time soon.  

Would that this innocence could last forever.

I was afraid that Valentine´s Day might shatter some of her heart-strewn reality.  Unlike in the US, where all the kids in the class buy a pack of Valentines to give to every single child in the class, Clara´s assignment on Thursday was to write one card, to a specific friend, to give to that child on Friday.  

Oh, this assignment was fraught with danger.  What if Clara gave her Valentine to her friend, and her friend didn´t give her a card in return?  What if everybody wanted to give a card to one girl and then all the other girls were left without cards?  Furthermore, Clara went another step, and after she wrote "Happy Valentine´s Day" on the card, she added, "Zoe--you´re my best friend."  

Oh, dear.  Best friend declarations.  This might be more dangerous territory than boyfriends could be in a few years.  Because what happens if Zoe isn´t actually all that attached to Clara?    

Fortunately, none of these thoughts ever crossed Clara´s mind.  And, apparently it won´t occur to her for awhile longer.  Friday´s Valentine exchange must have gone off without a hitch.   

As further confirmation that the world is still a nice place, Zoe came over to spend the afternoon with Clara.  

Whew.  They may just be best friends after all.

May these two, sweet, little girls get to live a few more months in perfect oblivion to the meanness that surrounds them.