I'm never content to worry simply about what's in front of me. I like to borrow worry ahead of time. An acquaintance of mine calls this pre-worrying. It doesn't negate worrying later; there is no higher purpose, actually. It's just worry for worry's sake.
My recent bout of pre-worrying began as my babysitter began telling me about her little sister, who is in third grade, and how she is being teased by the other girls at her school. She, the little sister, doesn't understand why. They call her fat, they make fun of her clothes, they are in general the horrible girls that terrorized me once, years ago. Little girls like that don't grow up, I've decided, they just hang around the cafeteria, waiting for the next victim. Like ghosts of Elementary School Past. Some of those third graders are probably like 54.
This makes me fear for Reese, my soon to be Kindergartner. She is decidedly a ham at home, less so in public. She is definitely not the hanging from the chandeliers type. At least, not yet. She is smart and sweet. But interestingly, as middle of the road, no feathers ruffled type of girl that she is, she makes friends like nobody's business.
We go to dance class the other day and before we leave the building, she's been invited to a birthday party and is being hugged by Alicia, a girl she met twenty minutes ago. We go to a birthday party one weekend and before the cake is served, Reese is running off into the sunset, holding hands with her new best friend, Mia. We're looking at a map of the United States last night and Reese reminds me that her best friend in Hawaii lives there. The one she met on the beach on vacation last July, who glued herself to Reese's side like a cuddly starfish.
If we traveled like ever, this girl would have friends in all fifty states.
Always up for advice, I ask Reese how she makes friends so easily; I tell her she collects friends like other people collect stamps. She must wizen these girls, I guess. She does have an irresistable smile and dresses like Punky Brewster. Maybe the color combinations have a friendmaking effect.
"You're so silly Mama," she says to me, laughing, "it's so easy. They ask if I want to be friends and I say 'sure' and that's it. We're friends."
That's it, I ask.
"Yes, it's so easy to make friends," she says dancing off, probably to pick up another forty or so friends at the park. And I think, OK, maybe I shouldn't worry about her and the meanness of girls. Perhaps her sweetness, her kindness, her humor, her wardrobe has bulletproofed her from harm. This I pray.
Then I realize I'm probably not worrying about what I should be worrying about. Like the world class worrier I am, I scour my brain for new issues: teen pregnancy, drugs, dirty school drinking faucets, lockers slamming on fingers, teenage driving, girl scout cookie drives, BOYS, tampons, bras, periods, puberty, hormones, my hormones, her hating me, her never hating me, high school math.
OK, I think I'm good for today.