I Believe You

A few weeks ago, my 13 year old daughter approached me (via text, of course) about the possibility of dropping out of Spanish class.  She gave a whole host of reasons why:  The teacher is lame, I’m going to switch to sign language once I get to high school, If I drop out of Spanish I can take study hall, which will help me to excel in my other classes.  

As is frequently the case with us, an arduous exchange of text messages ensued.  It was late in the evening.  Dad was out of town.  I was dealing with other stressors that I’ve already blogged about ad nauseam.  There was no way I was going to concede and let her drop Spanish, and there was no way she was going to go down without a fight.  And, I was ready for bed.  Like, really, really ready for bed.

And then we got to this:

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Oh my.  Oh my oh my oh my.

None of this was about Spanish. 

She had sent signals, albeit very cryptically, that she was dealing with some shit.  I had managed to miss them all.

A very not nice rumor had been spread about her.  I really want to tell you all the gory details, but it’s not exactly my story to tell.  But it was gross and awful and any 13 year old girl would’ve been mortified.  As would any 42 year old woman.  Or any human being of any age or gender with even a mere semblance of a moral compass.

Boys in her Spanish class were giving her a hard time, based upon said rumor.

None of this was about Spanish.

Never in a bazillion years would I have believed what was being said about her, and yet I felt I had to ask.  You didn’t do what they said  you did, right?  If you did, you shouldn’t have, but it’s a mistake and we can learn from it.  

I suppose on some level it was parental due diligence to ask that question.  Even when parenting in the midst of tumultuous emotions, one needs to be thorough and analytical, right?  But my having to ask that question sent a message to her:  I don’t believe you.  Knowing I sent that message to her makes me physically sick to my stomach.

SHE IS 13 YEARS OLD AND IN THE EIGHTH GRADE.  And already, it has begun.

She did absolutely nothing wrong, and yet had to be questioned.  By her mother.   And I suppose whether or not my questioning her was the right thing to do from a parental standpoint, the fact remains that it made her feel shittier than she already did.

Thankfully, this episode of angst seems to have blown over.  But it’s part of her story now.  And the kid who said these awful things about her will suffer no consequence.  Because what my daughter really wants is for this to go away.  And if I approach the school or the kid’s parents, the effect will be the opposite of going away.  In trying to do or not do what may or may not be in the best interest of my daughter, I’m complicit in letting this shithead get away with being deplorable.  The only thing about any of this that is straightforward is that it completely sucks for my daughter, and this kid’s likely never going to even think about it again.  Boys will be boys, don’t ya know??

When we visit Croatia and converse with the locals, they frequently reply to our statements with, “I believe you.”

Me:  The frittes are delicious.
Croatian:  I believe you.

Or

Me:  I love being in Croatia, but I really miss my dog.
Croatian:  I believe you.

Perhaps it just an effect of being near the ocean, on vacation, away from some of the rigors of everyday life; but I love it when they say it to me.  It’s validating, I guess; and I cannot deny I am always seeking out some validation.

At any rate, it’s lovely.  And we need more of it.

I believe you.