The phone rang last night at 7:00. I knew it wasn’t for me. Goodnight’s friends know they may call after before 5:00 or after 7:00 if they want to chat.
It was ‘Birdie.’ Goodnight perked right up when she heard her friend’s voice on the phone. Birdie is a special needs child with a learning delay. Birdie and Goodnight used to go to the same elementary school, but are at different middle schools. Birdie called to chat.
I don’t listen in on everything, but Goodnight was sitting in the dining room and I was working a crossword puzzle in the living room, not terribly far away. (It’s a wee little townhome.) I wasn’t paying much attention, but I heard Goodnight say, “I’m sorry to hear that. It happened to me last year. Do you want some advice?”
Birdie wanted the advice, I’m guessing, because Goodnight continued.
“It’s not nice for them to bully you because you are different. Bullies usually bully because they are treated that way somewhere else. They can’t take it out on the person who bullies them, so they take it out on someone they think they can push around. Don’t let them push you around. They are not your friends, so don’t give them another care. I got bullied because my mom is dead. They even spread the rumor that my mom killed herself because I was such an ugly baby. Gram taught me how to take care of it and now things are better. We can’t be ashamed of who we are and we can’t let them take our dignity. Now how is school? What sports do yo have at your school? I’m gonna be in a play.”
Pretty soon, Goodnight scooted off the dining room chair and kissed me on the cheek as she took the phone to her bedroom. I knew that they were going to take some time to catch up.
I just took the time to be proud of my granddaughter. I was genuinely touched by her immediate compassion and her easy comfort to her friend.
Goodnight is a normal teen, but tucked into that maturing package of eye-rolling and homework-balking, and “Gram, you want me to get the car?” and “When can I start to swear?”, is such a wonderfully kind human being. It appears effortless to her. I love that in her.
When she has her normal teen days, I try to remember the ways she’s impressed me, but instead of keeping them to myself, I remind her of them, too. It works better than screaming.