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September 27, 2007

No violence, no lies, and no secrets.

Moving to a place where you don't know anyone is a very difficult experience, even if it's just you.

If you have kids, it's about 100 times more difficult.

Honestly, I can handle not having friends for a time. I know that I have a ton of people who love me. And I'm pretty confident that I can make friends too.

But when your daughter says that the only friends she has are "a lizard and a hummingbird," well, that's hard to hear. And when you have to walk your son and daughter into a brand new school, with brand new kids, and see them warily eye a bunch of little strangers... borderline unbearable.

Lyric does not "go with the flow," she's like Darby in that regard. While Ollie and I both enjoy transition, they dread it. Going to a new schooling situation is traumatic for her. It's unfair, because so far in her life she's 8 and she's had 4 different schooling situations already. That's a lot to deal with. I went to the same school from Kindergarten to graduation, so I can't even relate.

But I am getting a taste of what it's like to hope people like you, to not always have a "default" person you can sit with and be comfortable with. And if it's even a little bit upsetting for me, for a girl with Lyric's temperament, it must be a tragedy.

So Lyric goes to school, and on her first day a little girl says "I'm so glad you're here, I want to be your friend." It was kind of a miracle, and very nice! But then when she comes home, she gets nervous again about the next day, and gets so panicked about it that by the next morning she's dreading going at all. Darby picks up on and perhaps even magnifies this fear in her, so I volunteer to walk her to school.

(By the way, being able to walk to school is so Little House on the Prairie, and really kind of awesome)

I tell Lyric I'll sit in her class with her for a little bit. She's asking for all day. She's teary. This is hard. She just doesn't feel comfortable with anyone yet, she says. Look, I say... these girls really like you... they are your friends. Yes, I'm their friend, she says... but they're not MY friends.

We go to PE. She's working hard not to cry. Crying for Lyric in front of people is a nightmare, she grows so ashamed of it. I don't really know why, but it makes her angry at herself, because she says she's too old to cry. We tell her that you're never too old to cry. She says we're wrong.

And now the tears are there. Poor girl. I give her a hug, tell her she's strong, she'll be alright. This is so difficult.

Her friends are at the front of the assigned position line. She's the last one because she was added to the class last. At the end of her line, trying not to cry, hoping no one sees, just wanting to go home, real home on the east coast. Fly back, be with the people where she's their friend and they're her friends.

Like little angels, her friends see her, get out of the place in line and join her. One of them says, "It's ok Lyric, I was the same way my first days. I cried everyday. It gets better. it really does. Can we help you."

It was kind of amazing. By the time PE is over, Lyric is still not completely comfortable, but she's also not gutted by the thought of me leaving.

Crisis averted? Not quite!

Nobody is perfect, and actually one of the little girls who had befriended her turns out to have some little 2nd grade issues. She's possessive. She tells crazy stories and insists they are true. She scares Lyric, and won't let her play with anyone else. She yells at Lyric for not showing up to play Uno, even though she never said anything about playing Uno at recess. She insists she did.

Everyone in the class seems to like this girl, and Lyric is afraid if she stands up for herself that she'll be a pariah (not her word, she's precocious but not that much), that everyone will turn against her.

It all comes to a disheartening, too-much-drama-for-second-grade crescendo when Lyric tries to run and play with some of the other girls and her friend grabs her too tight. Her nails draw blood. Darby once fainted donated blood, and nearly faints today if we talk about it. Lyric is definitely her daughter. This is too much.

We talk to Lyric about boundaries, about telling people what they can and can't do, about healthy relationships, and being strong enough to tell people how they should treat you. All the while we wonder why in the world someone in the second grade would have to deal with! I try to suggest that perhaps it will really build character. Oh, me, the optimist.

Darby rallies the troops, and informs Lyric that over 50 people are praying for her. She names them all, one by one. It wasn't an exaggeration. No word on whether the hummingbird and lizards were among the faithful. Lyric likes that over 50 people are praying for her.

We keep trying to tell Lyric what to say to her friend. She doesn't like any of our options, shaking her head at each one, saying no that won't work.

She wants to use her words.

So she goes to school. And we wait. She's in school from 8.15 to 3. That's a long time to wait. It's not like we can check online how things are going. Instead we hope things are going well while fearing they're going badly.

She gets home. Today actually we've invited a non-bullying friend over for a playdate. They have a fantastic time, and Lyric seems to be in good spirits. They dance and sing karaoke on the Wii. They bake cookies. Lots of laughter and smiles.

Because of the friend's presence, Darby and I still can't ask how things went until 6.30!

And Lyric tells us.

"When we were going out to recess, I said. 'Can I tell you something? I need to have a friendship with no violence, no lies, and no secrets. Let's start doing that.'"

And the girl said, ok. And Lyric said from then on things were fine. And she's not scared of her anymore.


Posted by jason on September 27, 2007 02:26 PM


wow, that's amazing.

*adding lyric to list of my heroes, in between tom sawyer and tarzan*

Posted by: paul Odders on September 27, 2007 05:34 PM

What, Tony Romo???

Where's TO on that list?

Posted by: jason on September 27, 2007 05:55 PM

that's awesome!

Posted by: ian on September 28, 2007 12:42 AM


Posted by: bsweber on September 28, 2007 04:26 AM

Your daughter is inspiring- I would be honored if she would be a role model for my daughter. Also, you can add my name to the list of people who are praying for Lyric!

Posted by: Susan on September 28, 2007 09:47 AM

When I talked to lyric about this friend she said "well, the first time we had a play date, she wore her shoes on the wrong feet. I could tell right away, but I didn't want to make her feel dumb so I didn't say anything about it."

LOL!!! I love lyric.

Posted by: Collin-Band Member on September 28, 2007 10:56 AM

Good for Lyric! If she can continue to set boundaries now, she will be far ahead of many adult women! Go, Girl!

Posted by: lynn latshaw on September 28, 2007 02:28 PM

tony is low on the list, but has great potential. TO is not on it at all.

Posted by: paul Odders on September 29, 2007 01:01 AM

Accualy that day didn't change it I was still scared of her but not as scary when I came back from home in the winter I wasn't scared of her at all

Posted by: Lyric on May 4, 2008 12:47 PM

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