“Mommy, something interesting happened today! Something mysterious!”
These are the words Emily was saying to me as I tried to navigate my SUV out of the psychotic pickup line at her school. (I swear, I still love the car line). She had just climbed into the car, and all my focus was on not hitting the other vehicles around me, so I didn’t really process what she was saying until a few minutes later when we pulled off the school campus. When her words finally sank in I actually had to have her repeat them, as it’s extremely unusual for her to volunteer information about her day – recently her school had to evacuate due to safety concerns in the neighborhood, and when Jay asked her if anything interesting had happened that day she told him she’d had pizza for lunch.
So, I had her repeat herself. She very excitedly tells me that there had been a mystery in her classroom, and that no one could solve it. Apparently, while she and her reading group partners had been working on a project, someone had written this in pencil on her desk:
Emily you are wacded
I had her elaborate a little, and I was eventually able to gather the following information surrounding the event: after finishing her project Emily had returned to her desk and found the message. At some point her teacher was informed and she was not happy about it. After asking the class who was responsible and not finding the culprit, she gave Emily a wipe to clean off her desk with. According to Emily, the last word written was impossible to read – even for the teacher – and most of the class thought it said “wasted.” (For the record, Jay and I immediately thought it said “wicked.”) She had absolutely no clue who wrote it, and was pretty giddy at the thought of a mysterious message.
Now, when Emily first started telling me about her “mystery” I was caught up in her excitement. She’s a very well-liked kid, so my first thought was that a friend was sending her a message – or maybe that she even had a secret admirer, since Valentine’s Day is around the corner. But somewhere in the middle of her story the wheels in my Momma Bear brain started spinning, and I started thinking in a different direction – that this was not a message meant to make her smile, but instead to make her cry.
I’ve been the victim of bullying, and as a result my Bully Radar triggers very easily. I imagined someone sneaking up to her desk and writing a message meant to hurt her – and I started thinking that this could explain why the last word was illegible and nonsensical… if the author had started to change his or her mind or almost got caught. I asked Emily if there was anyone in her class being mean to her, anyone that she wasn’t getting along with, anyone that she thought might be upset at her.
Very bright-eyed and cheerily she said, “No, I get along with everyone in my class. I just can’t imagine what that message meant and who wrote it!” (Picture rainbows and sunshine while she said that). She didn’t see potential threat or aggression, she didn’t see a single negative possibility. She didn’t even consider that this message might not have been a good thing. She saw intrigue – that someone in her class wrote something just for her – and that fact alone made her feel special and part of something interesting.
And in that moment my sweet, sweet Emily reminded me of something I so often forget – the importance of thinking positively. To see the good in situations. To stop fearing the worst, looking over my shoulders to see who might be out to get me. To seek the mysteries in life and let life’s experiences make me feel special.