It doesn't always happen this way, but every now and then, Brady and I actually live what we preach. A couple of weeks ago on a Thursday, Brailey hopped into Estelle after school, and I asked her the same thing I ask both of my B's every school day. "How was your day?" Usually they will tell me it was "good" or "great" or "okay." On this Thursday, however, Brailey said, "HORRIBLE!" And she promptly burst into tears, great sobbing gulps and wailing, which lasted the entire twenty minute drive home and then off-and-on until bedtime... She was UPSET!
The drama revolved around a "competition" at school. The problem is that the kids are encouraged to form their own teams for the competition of either four or five kids. I have stayed out the formation of Brailey's team from Day 1, and I am proud to report even through all the drama, I stayed out of it until the end. But you can imagine how it is for kids to form their own teams... A challenge, to say the least.
So Brailey was upset because the other members of her team let another member join whom she did not want on their team. She has always been afraid of this kid. I think she was afraid, too, that this newest member would get them all in trouble. However, the other members of the team weren't afraid, and they all agreed it would be fine.
Lesson One: I asked Brailey if she spoke up and voiced her feelings. She said "no." Now what you need to know about this situation is that Brailey, bless her sweet heart, has always had trouble sticking up for herself. Since she was in preschool! In fact, she was bullied for most of her Kindergarten year before we realized it, and she is naturally a very kind-hearted person, very non-aggressive. And while Brady and I are so proud of her for being such a good girl, it also causes her problems. Like this team formation... And so we talked about it actually being part of her fault for not saying how she felt and how that was a natural consequence. However, I do understand that she was afraid of this kid and terrified there would be even worse repercussions if she spoke up. We all know kids can be mean... So really, I understand why she didn't speak up, and it was actually quite astute of her, really. But I had to at least make the point that if you don't like something, you need to speak up about it, and if you don't speak up, then you have to accept it the way it is.
Lesson Two: So along goes our afternoon of crying, and Brailey says she is going to quit the team. That's it, she's done! Despite the fact that she's been doing the necessary work to be on this team since the beginning of the school year. I said no way - you have to be on the team. Period. This set off another round of tears... Yes! It did break my heart, and yes! I did want to let her quit! And YES! I really wanted to fix all of this for her. I even called my mother for advice on how to handle it, and she told me to do all the things I had already done... And you know it would have been really easy for me to "take care" of the mess for Brailey and to get involved, but I learned my own lesson during Britt's football season, and sometimes you just have to sit back and let things play out how they will.
Lesson Three: Enter Brady's part of the story... Brady and I were both on the same page and told Brailey she couldn't quit, and it might actually turn out to be better than she thought it would. Basically, the whole "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" spiel. We told her she just had to ACCEPT the situation, because there was nothing to be done about it, now. "You have to work acceptance," we said. Ironically, acceptance is one of the things we as adults struggle with on a daily basis, yet there we were, spouting off this wisdom to our darling girl.
Well the next day, lo and behold, Brady literally had to practice what we preached. He came home from work and said to Brailey, "Guess what? I have to work with someone I can barely tolerate on Monday. I'm in the same boat as you, Brailey! So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I'm going to do what I told you to do, and just accept it and try to make the best of it."
In the meantime, in a strange twist of fate, Brailey came home from school the next day, the very day after all the tears and fears and worry, happy as a lark! She said "I think I may have been wrong about" blank. I said, "REALLY? So you're not scared, anymore?" And she said, no, she wasn't and went on to explain that she felt perfectly fine with everything, now, and she thought they had a good team and la-la-la-di-da... And the next week proved to be even more promising - a new friendship was forged and all the heartache has been forgotten and life is going on! And Brady came home from work and said to Brailey, "Well Cakes, I did what I told you to do, and I had a good day. I just accepted this person and it really helped me get through the day with him."
So there you have it, the story of a life lesson, lived and learned!
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