Friday, December 14, 2007

this is what I've been dreading

There are six cars parked outside of our house right now. They contained many children my daughter's age. They are all parked there to visit the little girl across the street. They were carrying gifts and treats and everyone was excited and happy to see each other.
And Savannah watched from inside our front room.

Now I'm not saying just because we're neighbors we have to be friends. But Savannah does consider this little girl her friend. One of her very good friends. They play together once every couple of weeks and Savannah without fail, waves Kristen off on the bus to kindergarten almost every morning.
Her mother and I, I would not consider friends. I'd call us neighbors. She's quiet, I'm quiet, we've just never had much to talk about. She doesn't seem too interested in my friendship.
But the girls are friends.

When we first moved here, the girls played together quite often outside. And about a month after we moved in, it was this little girl's birthday. Loads of cars, balloons on the mailbox, we knew it was her birthday, but never heard a word about it. I'm not saying I expected Savannah to be invited... after all, we had only been there a few weeks. But we were in fact invited to another neighbors' kids' birthday party right around the same time, and I have to admit I was a little surprised that we weren't included in this one. That's when I have to stop and tell myself that not everyone thinks like me. I would think, "Hey, new neighbors! They need to meet people and make friends and feel included!". I mean, heck, we invited all of these people to Ryan's big birthday party a month later! But not everyone thinks that way.

Anyway. Since that first birthday thing, I've noticed quite a few afternoon "playdates" (I'm only assuming) with cars lining our street (I counted 11 one day as I pulled in from the grocery store), mostly in front of my house, and kids piling into their house, including other people we know in the neighborhood. This is a regular occurence, and I just quietly close the front blinds and shrug off the fact that we're never included. And Savannah has always been none the wiser.

Until today.
First she asked me why all these cars were coming outside.
I said, "I'm not sure hon, Miss L. and K. must be having some people over." and ushered her back to the family room. A few minutes later I took Sawyer upstairs to tuck him in for a nap, and when I came down I found her perched at the front window again, this time with binoculars (?!). I asked her if she wanted to play a game, and she cut me off saying excitedly, "Mom! There's other kids over there! It looks like K's having a party!". I said, "Wow, fun for K! She must be playing with some of her Kindergarten friends. Do you want to come help me wrap some presents?".
Just then other neighbors (another 4 yr old girl) we know from way down the street pulled up. Savannah recognized their car and stopped dead in her tracks. "S and C are here mom!" And then she realized why S was here and saw her face fall. She almost whispered, "Oh, she's going to K's house." We watched them walk across the street and up the front lawn and in the front door and when Savannah looked up at me and I swear she looked like she wanted to cry, "I can't go because we weren't invited over there, right?"
"Not today honey," was all I could say.
She played with me for a little bit before she went up for her quiet time, and she'd every so often glance wistfully towards the front windows. I tried to keep her attention on other things, but I could tell it was really bumming her out. I mean, it is hard not to notice; the whole front of our house is windows. I just felt bad for her. She shouldn't, at not even five years old, be feeling left out and rejected with friends like that. It makes me mad and sad all at the same time. I mean, I don't expect for us to be included; I'm not blaming our neighbors or saying they're doing anything wrong. I'm mad that it's just one of those life's not always fair things and it's frustrating to see that in my daughter's face already. It's one thing when it's about sharing your toys that you don't want to share, and a whole nother thing entirely when it's realizing you're not wanted at a party.

We talked as she got in bed for her quiet time, and I reminded her how much fun she had at her friend Sophie's house this morning. And then she was talking about her friend at school and how she wants to invite her over to play sometime and it'll be so fun cuz she has a little brother Sawyer's age and Sophie could some too and S from down the street and also K.
"I would invite K mom, cuz she's my friend and she likes to play with me... Do you think K likes to play with me mom... even though she didn't want me to come over today?"

"I'm sure she does Savannah. Did you know I like to watch you play with your friends because you are good at making your house fun for them and to make them feel good here. You like to share your home and you like to share your things and you like to share your friendships and that makes you a very good friend to have."


It's only just begun, hasn't it?


Kim said...

i'm so sorry. i never knew until i became a mom how hard it would be. to know that there are times your kids are going to be let down. i'm dreading that already. but in any case, i think that is a little bit rude of this mom to throw this party basically right in front of your face and not invite you over. hope she gets over it quickly.

Tracy said...

I know this is hard on the little girls. L is very involved in a ton of groups and loves to invite the different groups over at different times. I love L and K but they definitely have their own life outside of the subdivision. I was so excited for Sophie to have another little girl across the street since they are very involved in their own life. I am fortunate that we live around the corner and Sophie can't see. I'm sorry this is so hard on Savannah. Now I'm trying to figure out who lives up the street that is over there. Do know that L is very sweet and probably doesn't realize that she is hurting Savannah. I know she would feel bad.

Tracy said...

ok email me and tell me who S and C are?
Do I know them?

Debbie Sanders said...

Sweet Savannah! This just made me cry! It is so hard to see our loved ones hurt so unfairly. But, these life lessons will make Savannah a much better person as she grows up and she will hopefully remember things like this and treat others so much kinder and with a special sensitivity because of events like this that none of us quite understand. Give her a big hug and kiss from me! I love her!
Mom/Gramma Debbie

Nicole said...

Oh that sucks! Yeah, you're right... they don't "HAVE" to invite Savannah, but my WORD... if there were THAT many cars over there, and other kids from down the street and around the corner, there is no reason that one extra little child who lives directly across the street shouldn't and couldn't be invited. I mean, how much of a hassle would it have been? And, I think its a little weird on her part considering that the girls do play together outside. I mean, as a mom I'd be thinking "Oh I don't want to cause any riff between us and "look" like we were excluding them in case the girls want to play together outside in the future" kwim? If anything, you'd think she'd have invited her just to "keep the peace" and not look exclusionary. Obviously she doesn't care about that?

However, on the flip side... do you think that these "gatherings" are some sort of group/club? (ie.. think Cheeky Monkeys and if your neighbor across the street on LeeWill had seen our get together(s) and thought "Why wasn't I invited?" Giving her the benefit of the doubt (which I really wouldn't want to give her), it could be some sort of mom's group or church group/playgroup that she belongs to. I'd investigate LOL!

Amy said...

oh that stinks. it's so hard because no one wants to be excluded. nor do we want to see our kids hurt.

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