Don’t Forget About the Kids Too Young to Understand, but Too Old Not to Notice

understand

“Want to come into my house and play?”

“No, honey, they can’t.”

She didn’t understand. How could she?

“Want to come into my house and play?” She asked again, this time eyes following a bird in flight.

The two girls played Simon Says, I Spy, and then her best friend scooted away with her daddy.

My four-year-old’s eyes immediately started dripping with tears, drenching my shirt.

“Can’t she stay longer?” She begged, blinking lashes heavy with tears.

This was the scene from my front door.

My daughter’s best friend from pre-school surprised her with a visit the other day. Of course, it wasn’t a typical visit where hugs were exchanged, and make-believe was played.

Instead, she had to stay at the front door, restrained by my husband, while her best friend was more than 6 feet away, standing with her daddy.

My heart ached for her and all of our littles.

Especially the ones often overlooked.

The ones in the in-between phase of:

too young to understand,

and too old to not notice.

Because my 2-year-old and 1-year-old are blissfully unaware.

But my 4-year-old’s struggling.

Because my eldest girl doesn’t fully understand, but understands enough to know what she’s missing—and that’s a hard mix.

She didn’t understand why her friend couldn’t come in.

She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go play with her.

She didn’t understand any of it even though it has been explained to her in the most sensitive and non-scary way time and time again.

And she’s understandably grieving.

“It’s unfair!” she screamed, tears continuing down her face like a waterfall.

And It’s heartbreaking.

And she isn’t missing a graduation or any significant event, but she doesn’t have to be missing something big for it to still be sad.

And it won’t be like this forever, and soon these two girls will be holding hands and running in the park together again.

But we must remember, it’s confusing for us, but at least ten times more confusing for them.

So, right now,

my heart aches for our littles.

Especially, the ones in the in-between phase of:

too young to understand,

and too old to not notice.

***

This piece originally appeared at Living a FULL Life, published with permission.

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Danielle Sherman-Lazar
Dani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to two daughters. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and like it on Facebook. Her book Living FULL: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorders is available for pre-order on Amazon.