Sometimes the internet is a teacher, albeit accidentally.
Elementary school dismissal is often a frantic but adorable daily event. Kids are saying goodbye to one another like it’s their last day on either or the end of summer when really they’re going to see one another again in less than 24 hours.
I remember as a kid how even a few hours felt like an eternity, so I understand the soldier leaving for war-level goodbyes.
My daughter and I walked to the car and a boy strolling behind us said “goodbye” and, without turning, she muttered a goodbye.
He did it again, and so did she, with an even softer inflection the second time.
Ever the people pleaser, I said, “is that the way we say goodbye to people?” and she turned around and said goodbye a third time and said his name.
I’m not sure why the first two farewells weren’t good enough for me. That’s my baggage to unpack.
The classmate was accompanied by his mother, so I’m guessing much of my issue focused on the mom thinking, “oh, she’s so polite.”
Again, my luggage to unload.
She remained mum for most of the walk to the car, finally opening up before climbing into the backseat.
The reason she didn’t give the young boy a rousing send-off the way she does other kids in her class is because she often works in groups with him and he’s not attentive or helpful to the group in any way.
“I’m trying to pay attention, and he’s messing around, and I’ve asked him to stop, and he doesn’t.”
And now, back to the internet.
That morning a quote popped up in my Instagram feed. It said something to the effect of “teach your daughters it’s OK not to be liked by everyone” and “tell them not to spend time trying to make it happen.”
She has her reasons for a half-hearted response. She even took the high road and acknowledged Mr. Distraction in some way.
It’s easy to forget my kids have their particular backstories and histories with people and if my daughter wants to blow off a goodbye, or completely ignore a person, I should just let her do her thing.
Thank you, internet.
If you’d like to subliminally teach me more about being a father to a daughter, I’m all eyes.
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