Watch What You Say PSA

This is directed to all women, mothers or not, who, wittingly or no, say things about a child within earshot of that child’s friend. Or worse, say something disparaging about one child to another child. Because that child will tell the other. And the fallout won’t be pretty. Children can be cruel, but adults can be stupid. And yes, I am engaging in a completely banal discussion of she said, she said. Fifth grade politics. Who can resist?

One of my eldest daughter’s friend’s mother called my child fake. The friend told my daughter. I’m glad my child’s back was to me when she recounted this nonsense because the rolling of the eyes this got was sure to elicit innumerable questions. All I could think was really? Really, lady? Fake? I used this term 20 years ago. In high school. To describe nearly every girl who was not my friend. Because you were fake if you weren’t my friend. You were fake if you didn’t speak to me. You were fake if you spoke to me on Tuesday but not on Wednesday. You were fake if I wasn’t invited to your party and you were certainly fake if your name was Melissa and you were dating Eric. I friggin’ loved him, you boy stealing heifer. You see where I’m going with this, all the way down stupid teenagerism lane. Apparently this mother still resides there.

I am assuming that the word fake when dealing with girls has not changed in the past 20 years so apparently my daughter has committed one of the above, or similar, offenses. I ask her which. She is still friends with another girl who is, in plain terms, a follower. The reigning bully sees to it that this follower stays on her side at all times. But, minus the bully, the follower girl is actually rather sweet. But. According to the fake labelling mother, because my daughter is not a grudge-having, mean because you were mean to me kind of girl, she is fake.

Bite me. Please. I like that my daughter befriends girls other people shun. I’m glad that she doesn’t hold grudges against girls who have been mean, and that she knows who is a genuine friend and who isn’t but doesn’t let that dictate who she speaks to. This name-calling nonsense has her concerned about the sleepover she wants to have for graduation. One of the girls she genuinely wants to invite is the daughter of the woman who called her fake. I’ve spoken to this parent before and know that she has issues with her daughter attending sleepovers (my daughter has only slept away from home (outside of with family) a handful of times so I understand the concern). Yet. We’ve spoken. She knows my husband and me. I welcome the opportunity to have her visit before the sleepover to show that while at times unkempt, our home is safe. We have no druggie friends who might need to re-up that weekend. No just released relatives. Ray-Ray and them aren’t coming to bust anyone’s kneecaps because of monies owed. My concern is that she will let whatever led her to call my daughter fake cloud her judgment in letting her daughter stay over. She probably hasn’t even considered that we might have neighbors off their meds. Or that tequila makes me way more fun.

This is all silly and immature, I know. Either she can stay or she can’t, regardless of the reason. But this is their last year together. The girl will attend middle school in Maryland and my daughter will still be in the city. They won’t see each other unless the girl’s mother and I make a concerted effort to help them remain in touch. I still have a friend from my first day of kindergarten. She is one of my dearest friends. I want to help my daughter maintain this friendship. But, if the girl’s mother believes my daughter is not “worthy” of hers, then what am I to do? Talking to the mother about this specific incident might not be in the best interests of our daughters maintaining a friendship. I get the distinct impression that it wouldn’t go well. Starting a conversation with “Looka here, bitch” usually winds up ungood.

Regardless, I’ll call her in the next week to speak prior to giving her daughter an invitation. Invitations to the sleepover will go out soon and I want her to be comfortable with her daughter staying here. I also want, I guess, to change her opinion of my daughter because I don’t want anyone thinking something about her that’s absolutely untrue. At the same time, though, I guess I realize I have no control over who thinks what. As she continues to grow up, she’ll come into contact with other girls and women alike who will dislike her for no reason whatsoever (except whatever stupid reason they’ve convinced themselves is legitimate, aka she thinks she’s cute). In my best valley girl voice: gag me with a spoon!

Some say they’d love to go back and redo some years. I suppose I would too, but fifth grade would not be my choice.

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