It happened when my daughter was 9, and I knew immediately by the look on her face that something was wrong.
While the kids around her were all smiling and running – thrilled that school had ended early – she was trudging toward me with her shoulders slumped and a defeated expression.
Before I could ask, my daughter told me that a girl in her class had invited all her friends except her to eat lunch down the street. Pointing over my shoulder, she showed me the pack, and my heart ached as I turned around and indeed saw all her friends giggling and huddled tight as they waltzed away together.
As my daughter tried not to cry, the Mama Bear in me woke up. I was angry at this girl and her mom, and when my daughter said, “This makes me want to plan something and not include her,” part of me agreed.
Deep down, however, I knew that was an immature reaction. And since I was the adult, I needed to think like one.
So I took a deep breath and tried not to assume the worst. I didn’t know how this lunch had transpired, and trying to guess would be speculation. Rather than go there, I focused on comforting my daughter.
I told her we’d do something special too, and maybe this was an oversight, not an intentional act of meanness. Maybe we should give this girl and her mom the benefit of the doubt.