So, our PTO had a skate night. I think it earns money for the American Heart Association somehow. My kiddo is in Kindergarten and he really wanted to go. It was his first time skating and I knew he couldn’t tie up his skates and get going on his own, so I met the bus there and helped him and the other kids. He had a blast. He used one of those walker things, but he skated with his friends and had a great time. He even sat with them at a table and had an ice cream cone and lemonade. He didn’t get upset by the bright lights and loud music, he seemed to enjoy the feeling of “rushing” through the air. I was proud of him.
But this post isn’t about him. As soon as we got there, a girl of about 3rd grade came rushing up to me and said she needed to use the toilet, so I took her in and then helped her get back out to get a stamp and then left her to help my son get skates and get them on and start skating. I ended up getting him (and a friend) a trainer thing – like a walker with wheels – and had just gotten him skating. I turned around and I saw the same girl very near tears. I asked her what was wrong. She said she was having a really hard time skating. And she was. I tried to help her practice on the carpet – told her how to bend forward and bend her knees and stick her bum out to get some balance. I had her hold onto the wall and kind of walk. I told her about the stoppers on front and how they can help. She was really upset by now. I wasn’t really sure why, because her friends didn’t seem to be doing any better. But I offered to give her the other trainer that our friend wasn’t using. She took it and was off. I was so happy to see a smile on her face. She kept coming to me for help – help getting her dinner, help finding a place to eat, help finding her friends, help at the end when she had a blister.
It made me sad. Not just because her parent wasn’t there – lots of parents weren’t there. But because she was so obviously in need of attention. Her hair was dirty, her clothes were older and dirty. She had some sort of eczema or dry skin on her face that didn’t look like it was being taken care of. She whispered, even in the loud skating rink. At first I thought she didn’t have any friends there, but she did. They found her to eat with her. They all obviously had more money than her and I felt bad for that. She even asked me to help her open her ketchup packets and find the trash.
I made sure she got on the bus, and I made sure she got off the bus at the school. Then I lost her, I didn’t get to see who came to pick her up.
I will look for her at line up and say hi when I can.
Those kind of kids break my heart. Not the fact that she probably has less money than her peers – though I know that can cause all sorts of challenges. But the fact that she doesn’t look well cared for. No child deserves that. I know there are all sorts of reasons parents have a hard time caring for children. Needing to work 2 jobs, health, mental health, addiction, being a single parent, being low functioning, and many more. But it’s the kids who suffer and it hurts to see it.