For the past couple of years, Abby has been eyeing our neighbor's swingset. We can see their backyard from ours and even though there is a fence around their backyard, we can still see through it to gaze upon the wonder that is that swingset. At first she thought it was a playground all in itself. I can understand the perspective coming from a two-year old. This spring, however, my outgoing daughter finally went over and made friends with the owner of that swingset and now visits quite often.
Last week she was playing with her new friend, five-year old Trinity, along with a few other neighborhood kids. I was inside making dinner (I can see the swingset from my kitchen) and suddenly noticed Abby was crying. It is amazing that a mother can see her child in pain from two houses over. I ran over and she had peed her pants. For those of you with three-year olds, you understand this is a common thing to deal with. Abby has had her share of accidents, but this is the first time it happened in front of peers.
Trinity's dad was very kind to her, telling her it was no problem. He picked her up and handed her over the fence to me so we could continue back to the house to clean up. Even though he was telling her it was okay and I was comforting her with the same words, she still felt bad. Then, little Trinity spoke up and said, "It's okay, Abby. It happens to everyone." Abby immediately stopped crying and said, "Okay! I'll be right back!"
Many thoughts popped into my head at that moment. First of all, I cannot believe my daughter is already old enough to believe her peers over her mother. Secondly, once a grown man becomes a dad, picking up a kid who has just peed herself is no big deal. And thirdly, and most importantly, I was reminded of the unconditional love of friends.
Trinity was so kind to her and once Abby came back over, she held her hand the entire time they played together. What age is it when we start judging our friends for their mistakes? I remember classmates being made fun of in elementary school for the most ridiculous reasons-their clothes, hair color, lack of skill on the playground...the list goes on and on. It only gets worse as teenagers and then as adults. Why do we do this? When our peers make mistakes, instead of critizing them and thinking we could do better, why aren't we loving them? This was a great reminder that the next time a friend has made a mistake (even if it is against me) that my response should be "It's okay. It happens to everyone."