Kids everywhere are celebrating, or will be celebrating soon. They will be playing outside, enjoying warm summer days, bike rides with friends, and maybe even sleepovers.
It’s summer—it’s fun, right?
Sure, it is. And sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it isn’t fun for the kids you least expect it from.
We have that issue, and I knew it was building for the past few weeks with our teenage daughter. She was moody (moodier than normal). Short tempered. Obviously frustrated, but not ready to talk about it. But it was when she came home on the last day of school, in tears, that I knew. I knew what it was before she even said it. Someone had a last-day-of-school event, and she was not included. Again.
She used to ask why. She would be told they “forgot” to ask, or that she lives out of town so that was an issue. She is 16 now and most of their excuses don’t work anymore. Now it just REALLY hurts. When she sees all the pictures on social media tonight I will be there holding her hand. My heart hurting with hers. I understand because sometimes moms are excluded too. I don’t get asked to do a lot, and I am okay with it. But to her, it’s important.
And every summer it is the same.
I have suggested she reach out to people, invite them to come over, but they mostly do not want to come someplace out of town. I suggest meeting somewhere, and sometimes that works. I point out all the activities she has going on in the summer.
“Those are school-based activities, Mom. No one ever asks me to hang out. I don’t have anyone just asking if I want to go to the pool or just come over and sit in the sun and read.”
I don’t understand. I truly don’t. She is involved in clubs, sports, and music. She is pretty, funny, and smart. She has friends. But during the summer, they fade. It’s hard to explain these types of “friends” to teenagers. It’s hard to explain that they will not matter in the future because NOW it hurts. NOW it’s real. And it sucks.
I know this is the reason my children will choose to live in town—not in a rural area. They are tired of being outsiders. Sometimes I get tired of being treated like one as well. Like it or not, it is there.
It doesn’t matter who you are. Where you are. How old you are. Exclusion hurts.
Be stronger. Be kind. That one single person you decided not to invite for whatever reason? That one person might be the person you have been looking for all along.