I get to the track meet field and my daughter is covered in band aids. The girl who passed her the baton in the relay ¬†also passed her a left foot and tripped her and she went sprawling along the gravel, bits of rock and dirt grinding into her leg. “And then what did you do?” I ask. “Well, Mom, I got up and started running!” “Atta girl!”

They’re up for another relay now, she’s second to get the baton for a 100 m leg. She makes a clean grab and runs like hell with her long thin scratched up and bruised spidery legs making large Road Runner circles. I chuckle as I watch her from the centre of the field. Her legs are going so fast her upper body starts to angle obtuse. She breezes past a girl in green gaining second and cleanly passes the baton to S. S has grown so much this year I didn’t even recognize her: poised and ready, with her glasses pushed up and her new purple retainer clenched.

I knew it. I knew my kid was fast. How can she not be? She’s one of the tallest in the class and she’s all legs. Last year she got ribbons. Last year she was surrounded by friends. So, why is it that this year none of the kids want her on their team during recess or gym or track and field practice and she’s the hanger-on?

The new ringleader in her schoolyard group of friends is named – oh – let’s name her Tracy because I’ve always hated the name Tracy. Tracy is apparently “the fastest in the school” and has decided that she wants my daughter’s best friend and her other best friend on her team but not my daughter because she isn’t “fast”. (Bullshit you little punk.) She also doesn’t tend to like playing with my daughter at recess and she also didn’t invite her to her birthday party.

So, it was with keen interest that I watched Tracy run the 400. For a little snotty punk ass she does run fast. I’ll admit that. And for an angry defensive mother I certainly don’t show it and congratulate her heartily on a job well done. She nods shyly. Oh right. Now I remember. Tracy used to be the girl with the chubby cheeks in kindergarten who cried all the time. So sensitive. I always felt for her.

I look over at the other kid who seems to have targeted my daughter this year. He’s been trouble for her since grade one. He’s a big boy and known as a bully, just like his Dad. He’s sitting on the grass folding his running jersey with the greatest of care. His face looks very tender in this moment. A girl teases him, “Do you help your Mom with laundry at home too?” He nods innocently and simply says, “Sometimes.” My daughter whispers, “He gave me the nicest ruler in math class today.” “Hmph. Well. Good.”

They’re all just kids, aren’t they. They’re still just kids. Largely oblivious, I suspect, to the damage they do. My daughter comes home and is convinced she is “not fast” because the girls tell her that. She tells me “there must be something wrong with me, maybe I’m annoying” because nobody wants to be her partner. She tells me, “I’m afraid I am not a good learner” as her grades go from A/B to C-/D this year largely due to neglect, being the youngest kid in a split class. And then once in a while she tells me she’d like to die.Unknown-1


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1 comment

  1. Fozi

    Luchia I hear you. Missed you today at schools was talking with someone about A getting bullied by some punks at school

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