Hurt feelings and face paint

We are at the Basin Harbor Club in Vermont. This is a marvelous place for families, totally oriented towards kids. Tonight was a barbecue with all kinds of activities for the children – bouncy castle, face painting, games, prizes, hayrides, etc. Towards the end of the evening, Grace came running across the field towards me, eyes streaming, visibly crying. I was talking to a friend who coincidentally is here too, standing with her 2 year old.

“What’s wrong, Gracie?” I asked.

“Whit threw the sticker I gave him on the ground!” she sobbed, hiccuping between words. The story, as I gathered it from her broken and interrupted telling, was that she had selected a sticker for Whit for her prize and he’d rejected it. She bawled that she would have chosen something else if she knew he was going to throw it on the ground.

“Hey, Grace, what if you gave the sticker to Bodhi?” I nodded towards the 2 year old, who was watching Grace, transfixed.

She immediately stilled. Considered the idea. She shrugged and proffered the Star Wars sticker to the little guy, who took it from her hand with a huge smile. He leaned in towards her shoulder and kissed it. “Fank you, Gwace,” he murmured.

I thanked my friend, grateful for the kindness of her son. Grace tugged at my hand, face paint streaked with tears, dragging me towards the ice cream line. My friend and her son came with us, and introduced us to her father, standing behind us. They then drifted away. As Grace and I stood in line, her tears came again. She reiterated that Whit had hurt her feelings.

“Grace, there are going to be a lot of hurt feelings in your life.” she looked at me, chin trembling. “I can only promise you this: most people don’t mean to hurt your feelings. Remember that,” I wiped a tear away from her cheek, coming away with black and orange paint on my finger.

“And there will be lots and lots of wonderful feelings too,” chimed in my friend’s dad with a rueful smile. “Lots.”

Yes, there will, Gracie girl. Lots of hurt and tons more joy.

And lighten up, Lindsey!

14 thoughts on “Hurt feelings and face paint”

  1. I can relate to her, totally. I get my feelings hurt way too easily, and someone rejecting a gift I picked out for them? Yeah, that would set me off for sure.

    It is so important to remember the “tons more joy”. That is what gets us through and makes it all worth while

  2. I can so relate to little Grace. My feelings are hurt WAY to often. Something that tempers my sensitivity is remembering that we’re all just doing the best we can and the hurt (usually) is not inflicted intentionally!

  3. Such a beautiful girl. With feelings as delicate as a butterfly’s wing. Sounds like there may be another writer in the family…

  4. She is so sweet…
    Those lessons are so hard to learn, but you handle them all with such ease, it seems! (though I’m sure it takes much quick thought…)

  5. Oh, I loved this. The hurt feelings are so hard for me to parent, because I feel them so deeply and have such a hard time separating myself from my emotions. It makes me fumble this moment a lot, when I’m trying to help my kids. This was really beautiful.

    And I sell my rings at the Basin Harbor Club! 🙂 I think they still have them out .. in the gift shop maybe? I love it there… so pretty! Enjoy!


  6. LIke Grace, I also get my feelings hurt way too easily and often. And I fear Hannah is following in my footsteps. I find myself constantly reminding her that not EVERYONE is as kind as she is and she can’t let it bother her. Easier said than done, right?

    But how wonderful of her to have thought of her little brother. She must have had a sweet mama to teach her something like that!

  7. Wow. She is so beautiful. I loved this post. What wonderful advice you shared with your baby girl. And really, it is good to learn that lesson in life as early as possible. As much as we want to shield them from all hurts, we just can’t. I think you said the perfect thing!

  8. I’m with Whit on the Star Wars thing, but when it comes to hurt feelings—may the force be with us all. Namaste

    And fwankly, hat’s off to Bodhi-Wan Kenobi for giving the gift of receiving the gift, I hope that sticks with him.

  9. The lessons my children learn, most recently, one at a museum exhibit earlier this week, schools me, too. Has me rethinking boundaries, emotions, relationships. Everything is new again, so often, with my children and I. It is a reopening every day…

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