Today I went to see Charlotte’s Web with my daughter and her preschool class at the local Children’s Theater. We've read the book, and have seen the movie, so I figured we were prepared for it. Even so, when Wilbur had to say his heart wrenching goodbye to Charlotte, I glanced over to see how my daughter was doing. She was rubbing her eyes and had tears streaming down her little cheeks. I put my arm around her, and gave her a reassuring squeeze. She continued to rub her eyes for quite some time, and was obviously heartbroken.
My heart ached for her, and even though my attention was turned back toward the play, my thoughts were elsewhere. My throat tightened, and my own tears began to fall as I thought about all of the hurt that was to come for her. The first day of Kindergarten (ok, that one will be way worse for me); having to endure teasing from her peers; dealing with harsh (or what she perceives to be harsh) criticism from a parent, teacher, or coach; the betrayal of a good friend; the loss of a pet; the first experience being rejected in love; leaving for college; missing her family; losing a job; fighting with a spouse; having to watch her own children go through heartache; the overwhelming sadness of losing a loved one. I continued to think about how I would console her in each of those situations, what I might say, and...
“Mom”? My thoughts were interrupted by my daughter, who was tugging at my sleeve.
“Yes, sweetheart”, I looked down at her, ready to give more support, and was surprised to see that she was all smiles.
“See”, she said, holding up her finger. “I think I got it out”.
“What’s that?” I asked.
Ah well, Kindergarten is coming up soon. I’ll be ready.