With lots of chatter and commotion we gathered around the restaurant table. We were there to celebrate a special little girl’s birthday, so we shuffled around to make sure she had the seat of honor. Newly turned six, Hunter Lily glowed, perched at the head of the table right in between Nanny and Grampy. Everyone was excited to congratulate Hunter on her special birthday. Well, everyone except one.
One sister sat scowling from across the table; her eyes green with envy. The entire day was peppered with rude comments and growing jealousy. That morning at school, Hunter got to announce her birthday over the intercom. Charis was happy to hear it, but wished it was herself. That afternoon on the way home, Hunter shared her special birthday celebration in class. Charis spouted angry jabs from the backseat.
It didn’t matter how many times I reminded her of her own good fortune back in February, or that Hunter is someone we love so we can celebrate with her special moments, Charis couldn’t find it inside herself to be happy for the good bestowed on her little sister.
Once the dinner festivities were over, Hunter took off alone with Nanny and Grampy to partake in the tradition of birthday shopping. Charis crumbled when she was denied access to the trip. We gently reminded her of her own birthday shopping trip earlier this year, but the memory was foggy.
Later, Hunter returned home with her shiny new loot. Most of the family was excited to see her pretty stuff, but for Charis it was the last straw. She couldn’t find anymore happiness for her sister, and she began to sob. I was done preaching. I’d said all I knew to say to help this jealous sister to celebrate her sister with open arms, so I opened my arms, and pulled her close until the sobs passed. Then, without a word she slipped off my lap and went to get ready for bed.
Exhausted from a day of trying to find balance between showing one child special treatment for her special day, but helping another sister work through her own jealousy, I couldn’t help but doubt my effort to teach my girls how to champion each other. Did I do everything right? Did I over do it showering my little one on her birthday? Did I somehow make her sister feel less special? How am I ever going to teach my girls to #bechampions and not be mean girls?
I was still lost in my pondering when Hunter stood next to me and asked, “Mommy, how do you spell best?”
Still preoccupied with my doubt, I answered, and off she went. A few minutes later, she came back and said, “Mommy, look.” Hunter handed me a napkin from her princess birthday party, and I read, “hunter I’m sorry I do love you.”
The love note snapped me out of my trance. While I was fearing that I had failed my girls, Hunter had written a note to her wounded sister, Charis you are the best sister. The note I had read from Charis was in response. In their own time they had made a champion of each other, forgiving and honoring one another. In that moment, I realized maybe I’m doing something right.
We’re all on the journey to #bechampions, we’re all learning to play the game of life. Together. As champions. Our hearts are already champions, except we won’t always get it right the first time, and somedays we’ll be the wounded mean girl, but when we’re willing to champion each other even when the other one is wounded and can’t celebrate us, then we will change the world.
One champion at a time.
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