The Buddy Bench


It was 3:31 when I got the phone call. “Hello, Miss Clark, it’s Mrs. Rummel, the school nurse. Adellyn has been in twice today complaining of a stomach ache. She doesn’t have a fever, but it would be a good idea if you pick her up.”

On the way home, I asked about all the usual stomach ache suspects. Did you eat something that didn’t taste right? No. Did you drink enough water today? Yes, except I didn’t realize I had my water bottle, so I drank chocolate milk. Have you pooped today? No. Did anything happen on the playground that hurt your feelings today? Well, something good and bad happened at the same time.

“Sophia H. didn’t want to play with me, so I went to the Buddy Bench,” she explained. “I thought that someone would come and play with me like I did on Tuesday but the only people who came either came to sit down, too, or they came to play with someone else. No one came to play with me.”

My heart sank.

There are some mama things that my heart just cannot handle. The thought of my little girl sitting on a bench looking at a playground of kids, wondering if anyone wants to play with her is one of those things.

While I want to scream from the rooftops about how funny and fantastic and kind she is, and while I want her to be ambushed by people who want to play with her when they see her on the Buddy Bench, sometimes we learn things through the hard things, and my mama heart has to be okay with that, too.

Sometimes we need to go through a little bit of pain to make us able to better understand someone else’s pain. Sometimes we need to be the one wondering if anyone sees to make us better able to see each other more clearly. Sometimes we need to be the one waiting for a friend to play with on the Buddy Bench so we are quicker to invite friends to play with us. Sometimes we have to walk out our own journey so we are able to walk alongside others in theirs.

“So, honey, what do you think you’ll do the next time you see someone else on the Buddy Bench,” I asked, preparing her a spot on the couch to wait out the stomach ache.

“I’ll ask them to play.”


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