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I told myself I would always remember. I promised I would never forget.

I am learning I was wrong.

My daughter comes home from school some days and is upset, upset because of something someone said, a misunderstanding, a disagreement that only those who were involved could even remotely begin to understand. Someone wanted to play something and someone else didn’t. Someone whispered something and said it was nothing but no one believed them. A look was misinterpreted, a joke wasn’t funny.

Each day it is something different and yet very much the same.

I see her sitting there, upset, and I hear myself saying the words that I think will help. I talk about friendships, how to treat people, how to ensure people treat us the way we want to be treated.

On and on I go.

I hear myself saying the words that my mother probably said to me and I hear myself breaking the promise I made to myself so many years ago.

I promised myself I wouldn’t forget what it was like to be young.

I promised that when I was a “grown up” I would remember how hard it is to be a kid.

I know there was a time when I went through all of the exact same things. I have blurry memories of school yards and scraped knees and bruised feelings. Vague remembrances of choosing friends and not being chosen myself. I know it happened to me, you’d be hard pressed to find someone it didn’t happen to.

But I don’t remember the feelings. I don’t remember the raw pain of being left out, the inherent lack of perspective that comes with that time in a person’s life. I find myself advocating for a long-range view, knowing from where I sit now that all of this will come to be but a small chapter, a set of lessons learned and filed away. But she can’t see it from where she sits, just as I couldn’t at that age.

I want to teach her the things that will help get her through this. But quite honestly I don’t know what those things are, and even more honestly, I’m beginning to realize that she doesn’t want to be taught.

She wants to be understood. She wants me to wipe away the tears and tell her that I know what she’s going through. She wants to hear that I realize things are hard, today, right in this moment, not to be told that they will all get better years from now.

And maybe that’s the solution for now.

Less teaching and more understanding. Less talking and more listening. Less words and more hugs.

Less forgetting and more remembering.

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