And I am heartbroken.
Maybe it's the hormones or maybe it's the realization that I cannot protect my baby girl. Whatever it is I cannot shake it.
Yesterday RJ went to the dentist to get her teeth cleaned. She did amazing. She sat still and didn't complain and was the picture of perfection. As a reward at the end of the appointment she got to pick two prizes out of the treasure box. She picked a beaded bracelet and a slap bracelet (I cannot believe they are still making these things). She was so proud to wear them back to school and tell all her friends about her trip to the dentist.
When I picked her up yesterday she immediately burst into tears saying she lost the beaded bracelet. As we retraced our steps it came out that she had dropped it and another child picked it up and declared it was hers.
Well, I did what any self-respecting parent would do. I immediately called the dentist on his cell phone (granted the dentist happens to be my father) and explained what happened and asked him to grab us another bracelet before he went home for the day and we can get it from him on Thanksgiving. No problem. Mommy saved the day. Right?
Well, this morning RJ was insisting on wearing the slap bracelet to school.
"Baby I don't think it's a good idea to take the bracelet to school today. Remember you lost the other one yesterday?" I tried to reason with her.
"Well, if I lose this one we will just call Papa Roo and he can get me another one!" She matter-of-factly replied.
And there it was. I realized what I had done. I had inadvertently taught her that there are no consequences in the world.
So we had a big talk about the harsh reality that when we lose things they can't always be replaced. In the end she made the decision to still wear the bracelet to school.
Well tonight as hubs and I were putting her to bed she burst into tears saying she didn't have her bracelet. Apparently one of the children at school had told RJ that if she gave her the bracelet then she would "be my best friend". And so because RJ really liked this little girl she immediately handed over her prized possession in hopes of a friendship. When the sun had set though she realized what she had done and was devastated that she no longer had her beautiful shiny rainbow slap bracelet.
I held it together in her room and we discussed the important lessons to be learned.
1. If someone will only be your friend because you give them things then they are not really a friend
2. When we give things away they are no longer ours
3. If someone asks us for something (or to do something) we are not obligated to say "yes" and we have not only the ability but also the right to say "no"
4. There are consequences for our actions
She went to bed heartbroken. I came downstairs heartbroken. Every fiber in my being wants to fix this. How easy would it be to run to the dollar store tomorrow and buy her a pack of 50 slap bracelets? But I know I can't or the lessons will be lost only to be learned again at a later date. And who knows what the stakes would be next time. We are probably getting off easy with just a slap bracelet.
And so I sit here and I write this and I am sobbing. So what are my lessons?
1. I have to let the world hurt her
2. I cannot protect her and shield her from everything
3. This is building character
And I wonder how much worse this will get as she gets older and enters real school? How in the world will I ever be able to handle the real heartbreaks that I know are coming?