Now, quality time with Megan is hard to come by. She is the quintessential middle child and she marches to the beat of her own drummer. She is also a ball of energy who rarely sits still. She is not one to just sit and snuggle or even sit and chat for more than a minute. So, on this evening, I was enjoying having a little one on one with her.
After we ate, we were finishing off with the restaurant's specialty - ice cream. One of Megan's friends, *Marisa, from school had also stopped in with her family and she came over to sit with us while she enjoyed some ice cream, too.
Eventually, the girls began to talk about another girl from their school. We'll call her *Anna. Here's a little history. Anna was new to the school this year and had some very visible special needs with regard to her mobility. One day, earlier this year, Megan had told me about Anna. Megan told me that lots of the other students didn't want to play with Anna on the playground because they didn't think she would be any fun. My sweet Megan, however, had invited her to play and was a little surprised herself by how well Anna was able to keep up. (Yes, I was one proud mama when she told me she had invited Ann to play with her.) After that, Megan and Anna continued to play together on the playground and became friends. In time, other children joined them, too, after seeing that Anna was just as much fun as anyone else. Then, after Christmas break, Megan told me that Anna had moved to a different school. Otherwise she didn't say much about it.
Now, fast forward back to that evening at the restaurant as Megan and her friend, Marisa, were talking. According to their conversation, Anna's mom had decided to move Anna to another school because kids at their school were making fun of her and Anna was upset. Now, I have no evidence if this was actually true or not, but my heart sank for Anna and her family at the thought that it could possibly be true. As I sat there trying to take it all in, I heard my Megan say:
Just as quickly as my heart had deflated for Anna, it swelled back up with pride and joy that my daughter had gleaned this bit of wisdom from the situation. Again, I don't know for sure if that is the reason Anna left, but, in my experience, kids have a way of knowing and telling the truth. My Megan is also . . . shall we say a little nosy? She loves school and seems, often, to know everything there is to know about the goings on there. So, my guess is that there is at least some truth to what the girls were saying about the situation.
There is definitely truth in Megan's statement.
Sometimes, we all forget how much impact our words can have on others. We spout gossip and quick retorts without considering the consequences. Then, as quickly as we quipped, we forget what we said. But, sometimes, others don't forget.
I have shared before about having psoriasis when I was growing up. I can remember so vividly four or five instances when someone said something so hurtful. Some of them didn't mean it to be hurtful, but it was nonetheless. Others were trying to make a joke, but I did not find it funny. I can remember the faces and the names of those who said these things. I can even picture the setting where it took place. I'm sure they, twenty years later, have absolutely no recollection of the exchanges. I do. I still remember and it still stings.
I am sad that Megan lost a friend but, if what Megan and Marisa said is true, I hope that Anna has found a happier, kinder place. And, I hope that Megan will always remember - I hope we will ALL remember - that little words can most definitely make a BIG difference.
*Anna and Marisa are not the actual names of the girls involved. I have changed names for confidentiality.