She was at the computer playing a video game when I walked in. The other one was across the street at a friends house. So it goes in the summertime, when school work has been laid aside, brains begin to collect dust, and children's bodies sweat in July.
"We're busy, and can't play." It was lame, and they all knew it. Reagan was at Jill's house precicely for that reason. (The name has been changed to protect some of the guilty). They were busy, and playing - it was true. But Noelle wasn't and wanted to be.
She took her rejection to the computer and did her best to ignore it and learn how to live defeated. The next three hours turned ugly, and I couldn't be prouder.
I was cooking dinner listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (just love my audiobooks!) when Noelle came in wanting to talk. By now Reagan and Jill had made their way to our house and were upstairs having envious fun. Noelle saw that I was engrossed in my book and the food, and said, "Never mind, it's kind of a long story."
I shrugged, said, "Okay," and turned the volume up. Rejected again, this time, by Mom. (Name not changed to protect anyone this time.) In my defense, I had no idea what her story was about, because she didn't seem upset at all.
She eventually found her way back to me, though, and said, "When are you gonna be through? I really want to tell you my story." So we sat down a the breakfast bar.
Earlier, while chatting on the computer with Jill, Noelle had begun to do some rejecting herself. She was rejecting defeat and had decided to fight. She lobbed a bit of judgment and attack in Jill's direction. It didn't make her feel any better though.
When her story ended, I pointed out a few things that Noelle did, too, that were a bit like what she was accusing Jill of. An embarrassed smile crawled over her face and she slinked off the kitchen bar stool and left in silence.
A bit later, Noelle was hesitating at the stairs that lead to her ex-sister and ex-friend with a paper in her hand.
"What's going on, Noelle?" I asked, trying to prepare myself for who-knows-what, and wishing I had a little wisdom about now.
Noelle shows me her letter she wrote to Jill and Reagan asking forgiveness for the nasties she'd said. It went on to express more fairly her hurt feelings. She teared up while she read it to me. With a hug and a "I think you should give it to 'em," from Mom, up the stairs she went - tears and all.
Watching from the eyes in the back of my head that every Momma has, I saw her retreat to the garage. A few minutes later Reagan and Jill went out after her. I heard some raised voices volleying back and forth, and wondered if I'd have to referee. I began half-asking God for wisdom now 'cause I'm not good at this tedious kid bickering-stuff.
As it turned out, they're a threesome again, singing along to Guitar Hero, and there's some real goodness going on up there. And I'm proud of 'em. Not because they had a fight and made up. And not because they didn't need a referee.
I'm proud because Noelle didn't play the victim or feel sorry for herself.
She asked for forgiveness of her own fault before she pointed out Reagan and Jill's.
She didn't settle for defeat. She raised her voice and fought the fight, because relationships are worth it.
She learned a life lesson today, and so did I. God answers even half-asked prayers and spoke wisdom to me through my little girl.