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I thought I left school drama behind. I definitely didn’t think it would happen to my son at 4-years-old. The feelings of being left out and dropped for someone “cooler” all came rushing back one morning this summer as I dropped off my son at the bus for camp.

It was the day his best friend from preschool was starting at camp. We had waited all summer for this. His friend was going into kindergarten in the fall, so this would be their last hurrah together as my son had one more year of preschool.

The mom was afraid her son wouldn’t do well away from her. I spent the last few months sending her information about the camp. I sent her pictures from when I visited and suggestions for getting him ready. I talked to my son about showing him around camp. The mom even requested her son to be in my son’s group.

As we pull up to the bus stop, we see his friend crying. He doesn’t want to get on the bus. My son walks up to him and says, “Come on, let’s get on the bus and we can sit together. I’ll show you what to do.” My heart melted. My son then got on the bus, waving good-bye to me as he walked up the bus steps.

Next thing I know, the counselors are switching out the friend’s nametag which has a different counselor’s name written on it. I looked at the mom and she had a surprised look on her face.

I turned to the counselors and said, “This is a mistake. We confirmed last week that our sons would be together. Is my son moved to that group too?”

The counselors said, “We got a call to switch him.”

Finally the mom says, “Another mom called me this morning encouraging me to move his group so the two of them would be together.”

I stood there in shock. My head was spinning.

She kept referring to the other mom. It sounded like she convinced her to move him. At that moment the emotions of getting dumped for the “cooler” kid took over me. My son was on the bus and so excited for his friend to join his group. There was nothing I could do.

After 4 months building up to this moment, there was no text or email from her that she was thinking about it. The only reason I found out was because I saw the sticker.

The other two boys will be in kindergarten together. I understand why she’d want to have them in the same group. I was sad, but I get it. Yes, put your son first, but show a little compassion for mine and think of how this would affect him.

My son now had to find out at camp. He’d see his two other friends together and he’d be in a different group.

As a friend, I would have told her if I was thinking about switching him even if I was worried she’d get upset. That’s what mom friends do as there are children’s feelings involved.

I got in the car and started crying. I thought I was done with this part of my life. I believed I had surrounded myself with thoughtful people. Memories of this happening to me in high school came rushing back.

My husband was trying to calm me down and said, “It just shows that people are looking out for themselves. We need to start doing the same. You did so much for this mom sometimes putting her son’s needs before ours and we learned our lesson.”

I responded, “I guess you’re right.”

A few hours later, I’m talking to my husband again. I’m still upset. I keep saying, “How would she have reacted if I had switched my son to a different group? Why can’t she see that it hurt me so badly?” And the answer was clear. I would never do that to someone. That’s not who I am and it’s not my husband either. We decided that we would continue to be us.

I’m upset at how the other mom handled the situation. I’m sad and hurt.

I was glad I expressed my feelings to the other mom. I feel as moms we always shy away from confrontation. I find myself exhausted some days trying to be the perfect friend. I find myself wondering if these friendships that I try so hard to foster are just superficial.

As my son got off the bus, he asked me right away why his friend wasn’t in his group. We chatted for a while. I was impressed at how resilient he was and what a great day he had at camp.

While he was gone, I shed so many tears as I remembered back to my school days of this happening to me and now seeing it happen to my son was heart wrenching. I was learning this lesson all over again. My son keeps asking me why he isn’t in the same group as his friend. I am now grateful he was on the bus and will never know what really happened.

I will continue to “treat others how I would like to be treated.” I plan on leading by example for my son to value this virtue as well.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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