Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beneath the Kitchen Table

She crawled under the table lying next to the dog. Or, maybe the dog feeling her stress was there for her.

For the last week, Sydney has been working on a report for school. I've been teaching her how to use Power Point and the creative tools of the computer. She is a quick to learn and a sponge soaking it all up and using it.

While all of this is going on, I try to keep involved with Gabby. We have been painting ornaments. We do homework together. She keeps a steady run of conversation going. But.....this report is getting old to her.

"Gabby, please don't run," I ask for the umpteenth time as she and the dog barrel through the house. "I don't want to tell you again."

"She doesn't listen," Sydney pipes in not helping the situation. I explain to Syd that Gabby is just fine. She just has a lot of energy and is bored. Argh!

We continue on with the report on Switzerland. Basically, I sit on the sofa next to Sydney in case she has a question. The room is quiet....way too quiet.

"What's up?" I ask Gabby lying next to her beneath the table. She turns her head away.

"Everyone yells at me," she said.

"Honey, I didn't yell. I just need for you to listen, so I don't need to remind you each time," I explained.

"Everyone tells me what to do," the words begin to roll out. "Addie tells me what to do at school. She yells at me and makes me feel bad. She apologizes and says she won't do it again, then she does."

Now I understand. My young granddaughter is feeling alone. She is extremely sad. This bundle of pure energy and delight doesn't understand how someone can hurt her. It shakes her confidence.

"Sweetheart, if a friend is making you unhappy, play with someone else. You don't need to allow someone talk that way to you. Honey, you are such a wonderful person," I tell her.

This isn't the first time this has surfaced. This same 'friend' came to her birthday party showing the same behavior. Gabby is too kind-hearted to stand up to the girl. She wouldn't hurt anyone purposely. So how can a friend be so bossy and mean?

The report will be finished today. I will be on call for Syd, but Gabby is my focus. I think maybe we will dance and get rid of some of that energy. Maybe we will cuddle up in front of the fire and talk about wonderful plans for the holidays. Her mom is going to give her a play date tomorrow with another good friend. It is only when we are aware that we can lift up the hurting child. It is only when we observe leaving a door open that the child will come to us.

I am very protective of my grandchildren. I will protect them at all costs. My first instinct is to pin Addie's ears to the wall, but that would not teach my granddaughter how to resolve her problems. I want to give this child the confidence and knowledge she needs to keep her strong and healthy. Divorce, a sister going off to a different school, a move to a new house with a grandma in residence. So many changes have happened quickly. Sweet Gabby tries to find herself in the mix.

Switzerland will get finished off. A grandma will spend time listening, watching, protecting and, most of all, reassuring her girls that they are perfect just the way they are. Lessons a grandma learns beneath the kitchen table.

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