Santa brought Bria a big giant white board for Christmas this year. He also threw in a few markers, an eraser and some cleaning spray.
She is in love with it.
And so am I, frankly.
I think all mothers wish to have some sort of magical window into their children's brains--to have access to their thoughts and feelings and to really understand better where they are coming from. This white board that hasn't even been put on the wall yet (it's really big), and is just leaning against the wall near her bed has proven to be just that sort of magical tool. It has let me into the inner workings of Bria's mind and heart and helped me to understand her better, and to know what is important to her at age 9.
Every morning when I go into their room to do a basic tidy-up, I look forward to seeing what is written on that board. Sometimes it's a to-do list of homework, or books she'd like to read, or what she needs to get ready for the swimming party she was invited to. Other times she'll have written a little love note to Chloe or Sophia. Some days it's a few pictures, and other days it's been erased and left blank.
Today's white board message was a cute little picture of five girls, with their names labeled beneath them: Bria, Ann, Erica, Sarah, Miriam. These are her friends. From this picture I learned that they call themselves "The Beautiful Girls" which I love. Around the pictures she had written things like, "Look at all the beautiful eyes!" and "Aren't we beautiful? Yes!" and "We are ESPECIALLY beautiful girls." and "We're BFFs!"
Bria has not always been so lucky as to have great friends like the ones she has found here. She was bullied in Kindergarten and her only friend was the boy we carpooled with to school, which didn't win her many points with the other girls. She started first grade the day after we'd moved to Cedar City, and she had a really hard time finding any friends at first. And then the friends she did find were somewhat questionable in character (I have lots of interesting stories that should not ever come home with your first, second or third grade child). Once, one of her so-called friends pulled down her pants, underwear and all, on the playground. She never had an easy time of it, and it was so hard for me to watch, because I knew that being accepted by friends--good friends--is something that is important to every child, and especially important to Bria.
In third grade, a new girl named Olivia moved into our ward and was also in Bria's class. She was overweight and nobody was very nice to or accepting of her. Except Bria. I remember watching her ride her scooter to school one morning (school was about a block and a half from our house) and I saw her stop to talk to Olivia, who was walking alone. Pretty soon, they were taking turns on Bria's scooter, and even though I was a little worried they'd be late to class, I was very happy to see Bria being so kind to this girl. They became very good friends, and even when our ward split and they didn't end up in the same one, they remained pretty close. This was the first good friend Bria has ever had, and she was not excited about moving all the way to Michigan when she had just barely found her.
I have never prayed so hard for my child to find a good friend as I did upon our move here. When I met Ann's mother on the first day of school and discovered that she had three daughters the same ages as mine, and that Bria and Ann were in the same class, I knew without a doubt that this was the answer to my prayer.
And so it has been. Bria has never been happier or more confident in herself.
I haven't been able to stop thinking of that message on her white board today. To me, it just further confirms that we are supposed to be here. This is a place where my child(ren) can flourish, and where I have proof that they will.
Remind me to call Santa and thank him.