The bad thing that happened on the field trip

The bad thing that happened on the field trip

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When Violet walked in I could tell something was wrong.

"Are you feeling okay, honey?" I frowned and held my hand to her forehead. "Are you just tired from the field trip?" Her whole class had gone down to symphony hall that day to see the musicians.

"Yes, I'm just tired," she brushed me off.

She was with the fourth-grader we have hired as a mother's helper to come over for an hour after school twice a week. It kills a lot of birds with one stone: I need the extra work time, and Violet needs an older kid to help her smooth out her edges socially, tell her when she's acting uncool.

Later, after we'd walked the fourth grader to meet her mom, Violet told me what was really wrong. "Mama, there were 13 kids there today and that made all groups of 2 except one group of three, and that was me and" she named two other girls in her class "and they kept telling me to go away!"

Ugh. My heart sank. When I'd walked into her classroom that morning and counted the kids there, how did I know this would be a problem? Vi's teacher was out too; a sub took them on the trip, and I was worried just this kind of thing would happen. Of course my poor Violet was the odd one out. My poor odd one out. I reached out and took her hand.

"I think they didn't understand right that I was in their group, and the substitute didn't know to tell them right, and I don't know why they were rejecting me, Mom!" she's near tears now.

"Oh honey. I just think they didn't understand."

"Mom, some people have a million friends," she said sadly. "How come I have just a few?"

My heart is breaking into a million pieces. Somebody help me. But I have to not cry. I have to not cry for her.

"Violet, I think it was just an awkward situation today, and for whatever reason, things aren't working for you in your class this year. There is nothing about you this is unloveable. You are a delightful, lovely, charming, dear girl, and I love you with all my heart. And we're going to find her. We're going to find your BFF, we just have to wait a little while longer."

It's all true, what I said. She's gotten so much better at not having meltdowns at school and at home, she's working on being more open and friendly; she has gotten much better socially of late. She's not perfect, but things are improving and I no longer fear there's no friends for her out there in the world. She is a kind girl with a good heart and a terrific sense of humor, and there is a friend for her somewhere.

"We just have to find her," I put my arm around her and squeeze. She must be feeling awful, she actually lets me.

I want to cry, I want to die, I want to fly into a million pieces. I want someone else to have to solve this. I want someone to tell me how to fix it. I want some magic to happen, I want things to get better, I want the pain to stop. But I don't cry. I hold my daughter tight and I try to push confidence into her. We will find her, Violet. We will.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

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