The Last Day Is Never Really The Last Day

No more pencils, no more books . . .

It’s the last day of school today. Baby Girl is taking a small stack of 1 X 1 cards I made for her with her address and her parents’ phone numbers and email addresses. She wants to give these to her friends to play over the summer. I’m like her agent.

There is also last day drama surrounding one of her friends whom several other of her friends feel does not treat them well and for whom a letter is being prepared, to deliver at the final bell, which states, “We don’t want to be your friend anymore because you don’t treat us very well.”

Hours have been spent on this matter at home the past three days–the recitations of the friend’s offenses is specific and narrated with great flair–with Baby Girl’s mother and I asking her to consider how that letter would make her feel if she received it and also affirming that she doesn’t have to remain friends with people who treat her badly. We’re asking questions, trying not to give orders but trying to make the case for permanence; the last day isn’t really the last day. There’s next year, maybe even a surprise summer encounter. Among ourselves, my wife and I are dreading a conversation with the mother, who we both like a lot, when her daughter comes home with some tear-stained Wide Ruled with our kids’ name on it. This is a test case in decision making for a nine year-old. It is as fraught as anything her parents will decide today.

Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “The Last Day Is Never Really The Last Day

  1. Consider very carefully what is put in print isn’t easily forgotten, and the notion that they are codifying it is extremely hurtful.

    My daughter had a friend around this age that decided she didn’t want to be friends and wanted strength in numbers to justify her feelings. As it turns out, she and my daughter reconciled a couple of years later, and are very good friends, but just recently as they were graduating high school she told my daughter that even though she had a list of grievances, the truth was she didn’t like it that my daughter read Sarah Dessen books.

    Anyway, the child put a letter in my daughter’s locker signed by other friends, and the Mom thankfully made the daughter retrieve it before my daughter saw it, but a busybody friend let my daughter know about it. At least she never saw the letter. It was still an awful period of time. ANYWAY, being stuck at school with people all day is hard and I have no idea of the grievances no matter how righteous, but a letter sounds like the winner in bad idea Olympics.

    I would most definitely tell your daughter not to do something so permanently hurtful and take a breath over the summer. I honestly don’t think 9 years old need that much room to make such a hurtful and surprisingly lasting decision. She doesn’t have to be friends with anyone who is unkind to her, but this sounds really cruel.

  2. It is a hard thing being a parent, and offering guidance and discipline while also letting your kid grow into making their own decisions. But I tend to think such a confrontation is appropriate, but putting it in writing is generally not the strong, honest, and courageous way of doing it. But, I learned that the hard way too.

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