Friday, October 24, 2008

Beautiful In My Eyes

Last night, Anissa told me a story that tore my heart apart. I instantly remembered the song Beautiful in My Eyes by Joshua Kaddison, which is really my song for her...because no matter how other people see her, to me she'll always be my beautiful Anissa --- inside and out.

"Mom, I wanna tell you something. My friends kicked me out of our group."

"Kicked you out??? Why?"

"They said it's 'cause I'm "epal" and masyadong feeling."
(Seriously I hate this term EPAL and I didn't even know what it means until recently)

I was speechless for a few minutes. Not because I didn't know how to comfort her, but because I was trying hard to conceal my anger. I'm your typical stage mother. I have a tendency to smother my children and practically anyone I care about. But this time I was careful. The stage mom would have reacted exactly the way Anissa didn't want me to. If I wasn't thinking, I would've told her to introduce me to those girls so I could give them a good sermon. Anissa was never the type to start a fight with anyone. In fact, I sometimes feel she's too much of a pushover, a clear reminder of what I was like when I was her age (believe it or not). I asked her what she did when she was told and true to form, she said she didn't do or say anything to them. She even told me that these same girls each apologized to her afterwards, as if to reassure me that they weren't so bad. She's like that. Even in the worst of situations, she manages to see the good in other people, regardless of the harm they've caused.

I asked her how she felt and what she wanted to do about the problem and she said, "Mom, it's okay I told my classmate what happened and she welcomed me into her group so now I have a new group of friends and they're a lot nicer than the previous one." I couldn't help but feel proud of the way she handled it. She was teary-eyed while we were talking and a few times I had to swallow hard to stop my own shallow tears from falling. I didn't want her to see how badly I felt for her because that was the last thing she needed. I'm quite sure though that you can all imagine what was going through my head. I was angry and hurt for my child, who was clearly in pain but didn't want to show it too much.

In the end, I told her she had done the right thing. You don't force yourself on people who don't want you around. It's not the end of the world and she's so young, there will be many other people who will come and go. Eventually, she'll find her real friends. She asked me how I got to know the barkada I've had for the past 20 something years and I told her I had to go through the same thing. There were many disappointments along the way but those instances strengthened me and gave me the gift of discernment --- to know when to let go and when to hold on.

Don't we all wish we could fight our children's battles for them? God knows how much I want to! But no matter how hurt I am to see Anissa struggle, I have to let go and let her do things her own way. I won't be around forever and by stepping aside, I know I'm teaching her a more valuable lesson than by being the one to step forward for her.

But I have to be true to myself to a certain extent ... those bullies will one day pay for the way they treat other people. I'm sure Anissa's not the only one they've hurt.

Ang hirap maging nanay

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