Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dear Lily

This has been a rough few months for you and I want to write here not to dwell on the negativity, but to celebrate your positive attitude and beautiful spirit in spite of the hard times. We've had many frank discussions, tearful talks and heart to hearts. They break my mama heart, yet I'm thankful you're confiding in me. While I would love nothing more than to spare you the pain that comes from mean girls and bullying (and let's be frank that's exactly what this is), I cannot. I can only help you navigate and try to make sense of (even when it is all nonsense) the often unfriendly middle school waters, lift you up as you lift others, and be that safe place for you to fall when you need to. I will keep telling you that you are learning valuable lessons about friendship and loyalty and kindness and courage. You are. I will keep reminding you that you are a caring friend and that you deserve to be treated with the same respect and goodness you bestow on others. You do. I will keep encouraging you to forge bonds with like-minded, like-hearted young ladies. You have. Unfortunately I cannot tell you why this is happening. It doesn't make much sense to me either and I'm 47. I cannot explain why someone you really cared for and confided in for years suddenly decided seemingly overnight that you should be excluded, rebuked, and mistreated. I have my suspicions, but they are the things that cannot make sense to your twelve year old self...the girl who simply wants to have fun, be included and be nice. You keep wondering what you did or did not do. I keep telling you that this isn't at all about you. And it isn't. 

What I haven't told you because how could I is that friends, even best friends, will hurt you, disregard and disappoint you all your life. People make mistakes. People miscommunicate and disagree even when they are communicating. People change and not always for the better. Friendships change too, and that can be hard. I've walked away from relationships for all of these reasons. There have been a time or two when that may have been a rash mistake, but I've never regretted ending a relationship with a toxic person no matter our history or how much fun we have together. Toxic people manipulate, fail to own their part or apologize, continually force you to prove yourself to them, set the terms of the relationship, need you (use you) when they are down and then drop you again when things look up, disregard your feelings, and they tell you how to feel and act. All of these characteristics can be attributed to this friend in the last 6 months like clockwork. Textbook. Like I said people change, and yet I'm not telling you to do anything, anything but protect yourself . 

Here's the thing...I don't want you to change. I don't want your soft heart or your sweetness to harden or sour. I still want you to be forgiving and non-judgmental. How many times have you pondered with worry what must be going on in this friend's life to cause her to treat you so hurtfully? You lit a candle for her in church this week. All along I've been praying for you. You pray for her. You are pure benevolence and that is such a gift in this dog eat dog, queen bee, every girl for herself world. Please don't take my gushing words to mean that I think you are perfect or without fault. Just take them to mean that I believe you have far fewer than most, myself included.  

So please keep being true to yourself. You know your worth and what is right. And please remember that you teach people how to treat you. Do not stand for unkindness or intimidation. Stay strong. Keep laughing and smiling and surround yourself with people who accept and love you for who you are everyday, who lift you up not bring you down, who deserve your gift of true and constant friendship. And keep praying for the rest of them!

You, Lily are one of the best people I know and I'm beyond proud of your heart and soul.

I love you Bit! To the moon and back!


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