She was the little girl that Watermelon – my 11 year old – was being bullied by. That was last year. This year – just as we girls are known to do – Rose has changed her mind and she is friends with my daughter. They’ve both figured out that they are quite athletic and that has given them something to bond over.
However, my Watermelon is wary. She understands Rose on a level I’m not sure even Rose understands herself. Rose acts the way she does and says the things she says – because she’s protecting herself. Because she’s been hurt by her parents so much. Because she is deathly afraid of being alone and unloved (aren't we all?.
She still likes to dictate what the girls all wear and who they like and who they should play with. She needs to control “something” since her life is so out of control at home. She is the only one of the girls that has had multiple “boyfriends”. Even though she’s 11. Talk about reaching out and trying to find love huh?
And academically – things aren’t great. For example – each child has a reading level points goal. If you reach the goal – there is a reward you can attain each quarter. This quarter the kids got to go for ½ the day to meet a local pro hockey team and get autographs and hear them speak.
Every single kid in Watermelon’s class went.
Except for Rose.
She only had to read one small book – worth 5 pts (a very purposely low goal was set for her) – and yet she didn’t do it. Now yes – it’s partly her fault because she’s old enough to know what she had to do. But do her parents know she was the ONLY one who couldn’t go? Did they ask her how her reading goal was coming along? Can you imagine how that made her feel – being left behind? Her greatest fear?
My heart breaks for her.
She doesn’t do well in other classes either. It’s been said her older cousins do all her homework for her. Which – in essence – does her no good.
Anyway – I got home last night and Watermelon said she needed to talk to me. She was clearly scared to say whatever she had to say. She said:
You know how Rose calls me on my phone a lot.
Yes. (she does – and I put up with it because I know it’s most likely because Rose is alone and bored)
Well – she’s been calling me for a while because she wants answers to all our homework.
But I don’t give her any. I make up a lie and tell her I’m not done with it or I didn’t bring it home. Or now I don’t answer the phone. And mom – I feel so bad and guilty that I’m lying to her. But I know it’s wrong to give her the answers. (thank you Rose for making my kid feel guilty for doing the right thing.)
She’s also been calling Alex. Alex has been giving her the answers.
Do Alex’s parents know about this?
Yah – they said they didn’t care. (Nice. I could kick those parents.) But Alex told our teacher what Rose has been doing. She took us both in the hallway and asked us questions and told us that if Rose calls again – we can tell Rose that we can’t give her answers because the teacher told us not to.
Again – JESUS. Why are people so stupid? Rose is now going to KNOW that Watermelon and Alex told on her and who do you think will pay the price for that? Why did the teacher take them out together in front of Rose?
So all day Rose questioned the two girls…asking what they talked to the teacher about. And heartbreakingly – her biggest question to Watermelon and Alex?
Will you still be my friend? Do you still like me?
That’s how easily this child sees friendship, love and loyalty fleeting from her. She doesn't even have any idea what the teacher was talking to them about yet...but she's already scared it's about her. I don’t know whether to hug her or kick her. I’m angry her parents don’t sit down with her – even if they are tired – and help her with her homework like we do with Watermelon. I’m angry Watermelon is once again dragged into Rose drama.
I’m just angry. And sad and torn.
To top it off – Rose asked Watermelon to go swimming at a hotel with her this weekend. I said NO – without hesitation. I told Watermelon I was sorry but I cared too much about her to let her go anywhere with Rose because I can’t trust her parents to watch them. In water no less.
Watermelon wasn’t mad. I swear to you that I saw a flicker of relief in Watermelon’s eyes when I told her she couldn’t go. She said Rose asked her all day WHY she couldn’t come. She said I can’t tell her you don’t trust her parents or she’ll be mad Mom.
Yah. She would be. And she’d make Watermelon’s week hell in school for it.
So Watermelon is torn too. She knows Rose has it tough and she’s hurt. But she also knows right from wrong and knows the motives behind Rose’s words and actions.
It’s sad. The whole damn thing is sad.
And I’m smart enough to know that this kind of thing is going to keep on happening every year throughout school. It’s not going to get any easier.
Unless her parents start actually acting like adults suddenly.
PS - Just so you know - NO - I do NOT think I am a perfect parent. I am absolutely not. I sure as hell try to be though...and that's more than I can say for Rose's parents.