“Love Everyone For Who They Are.”

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Over the past few months – my 8 year old daughter has been finding any chance she can to write things like “Love Everyone For Who They Are” or “Believe in yourself” or “Love everyone on Earth”  or “Take care of each other” – whether it is on a community black board at the local frozen yogurt shop, on sample papers at the art store or at the beach in the sand.

For the majority of her life – she has felt like the Odd one out. Different.

An “Other.”

She has come to the conclusion that there are many other “Others” out there – who feel just as alone sometimes as she does and that maybe leaving random notes for them to find in unusual places, might just remind them of how beautiful they really are.

Funny thing is – most of us feel like “Others” on a daily basis.

Even those with over 2000 “Facebook friends” that “Everyone loves!”

We could all use these little reminders now and again and today I needed to put this photo here and remind myself to love ME for who I am – even when I feel ugly, “Frumpy”, less than perfect, broken, saggy and flawed.

I thought maybe you might need it too…and maybe, just maybe you (and I) might  follow her lead and start writing “messages in the sand” for other “Others” to find when they need it the most.

Random acts of uplifting thoughts – left for the people who need to find them…sounds like a great way to spend those few minutes you would have spent checking to see what your “Friends” are doing on Facebook when you are out enjoying a walk on the beach, enjoying your favorite frozen yogurt flavor or browsing art supplies in the “Pen” section of the art store.

Yes?

Yes.

1tlove

 

 

The Odd One Out

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I recently discovered this note crumpled up in the bottom of my 8 year old daughter’s back pack. I sat there a while holding it in my hands and fought back the tears.

Did she really feel this alone every day at school?
What am I doing wrong?
Why doesn’t anyone like to play with my beautiful, amazing, tender hearted dreamer?

Watching your child struggle with being “The Odd One Out” is such a hard thing to deal with as a Mom. You want them to walk out onto the playground and be immediately greeted with smiles and waves and invitations to play…but instead – you watch them walk the edge of the playground, searching for someone just like themselves who might want to play with them…and then when no playmate is found…they go sit on a swing by themselves and watch all of the other children interacting.

But sometimes…they just enjoy observing the World around them and not participating. Sometimes they are just sitting, thinking and taking it all in.

Sometimes they come to the conclusions that there MUST be other “Others” just like themselves out there who are also searching for a like minded soul to share time with and sometimes….they try to find each other.

She is still searching for another “Other” that she connects with at school – but she is also spreading love and acceptance and joy in the process…and instead of beating myself up for “what am I doing wrong?” – I am going to applaud myself for “I must be doing something right.”

I can’t wait to see where her heart takes her.

My Little “Other”

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I have the most beautiful, amazing, talented and smart little girl – with one of the biggest hearts you will ever meet. She is 7….going on 97.

I have been watching her big brown eyes grow a little sadder every day for the past few weeks and my husband and I finally got her to share what was on her heart.

We moved to our very first home last year so she had to switch to a new school and she has been trying so very hard to fit in there …but just doesn’t seem to belong.

Every day, I ask her how her day was and what she did and who she played with – and quite often she responds with a simple “No one. I just played on the Monkey bars by myself…” and assures me that it is her choice to do so…but today – today…I learned otherwise.

This was our conversation on the way home from school this afternoon:

Me: “Who did you play with at recess today?”
Her: “No one. I ask kids to play with me and they just walk away. No one invites me to play with them…No one wants to play with me…”
Me: “Why don’t kids want to play with you?”
Her: “I’m an “Other””
Me: “…what’s an “Other””?
Her: “It’s someone that doesn’t fit in with anyone because …they are different.”
Me: “Different how?”
Her: “It doesn’t matter how. Sometimes they are smart kids, sometimes they are kids that are behind in stuff, sometimes they are kind of weird, sometimes they look different. They are just …”Others” and no one wants to play with us.
Me: “Oh..maybe you can play with the other “Others”?”
Her: “Others” like me…we just go around looking at the world instead. Today I found a big clump of moss and a pretty flower and a leaf skeleton and I just played in my imagination and… was alive.”
Me: “…What can we do..I dont know how to help..?”
Her: “It’s ok Momma. I don’t mind. Life is pain. It’s going to make me a stronger person when I grow up. Someday being an “Other” will help me change the World. Like… you know…Rosa Parks or Nikola Tesla or…You and Daddy.” 

My heart broke into a million pieces.

I’ve been trying to process it all afternoon and once she went to bed and I kissed her sweet smiling little face one more time – I went into my office and started thinking about my own childhood.

I was an “Other.”

I never fit in with any group either.

Don’t get me wrong…most everyone liked me (I think) – I was kind and respectful to everyone I met..always. I never judged anyone. I was always the first one to find the new kid and show them around. I made friends with all of my teachers and cared about everyone…but I didn’t fit in with anyone. Not really.

I used to dread lunch time. I hated going in and getting my lunch tray and then trying to figure out where to sit. I had lots of friends -but no “Group”. I didn’t fit in with any of them.

I was smart and I loved learning and reading and I loved having homework and always got good grades…but I didn’t fit in with the “Nerds.”

I was “Sweet” and “Kind” and helpful – and the “Jocks” were all nice to me and half of them would have pounded anyone who ever tried to hurt me in any way – but I was not a part of them.

I could dance and had some great moves and the “Cheerleaders” all thought I should try out for the team – but I was never asked to hang out with them or sit with them and was never asked to participate in anything social outside of school (or in school for that matter.)

I had a handful of people through out my school years that saw me for me and tried to incorporate me into their group but I just never really felt like I fit there either.

My childhood and teenage years were very lonely. I don’t want that for my daughter…and yet…a part of me does….because I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t been an “Other” growing up (and still am to this day.)

Maybe that makes me a horrible Mother.

Maybe wishing this “Otherness” on my daughter is cruel…but I have a feeling that she is wrapping herself up in her cocoon right now and in another few years…a whole new level of beauty is going to be unfurled on this World – when she spreads her wings to fly.

To all of the parents out there with your own little “Others” – go take a walk through the Butterfly house at the zoo sometime…and watch not the fluttering colorful creatures flying about…but take a look at all of the people standing there – wide eyed, filled with awe and joy every time one of these amazing creatures lands on their shoulder and touches them with beauty.

That is my little girl.

She is my little “Otherling” and she already spreads joy – everywhere she lands.