Mary was seven the first time she became aware of her status. For most little girls, you aren’t aware of much of that at seven. There is some teasing and name-calling but for the most part, you play with the people you like and you don’t play with the people you don’t like. Who those people are often changes every day. “Suzy wouldn’t share, so she’s not my friend.” “Hannah called me weird, I don’t want to play with her anymore.”
Mary, like many girls had a new best friend every week. In her town, there was definitely enough to go around. They weren’t hurting for seven year old little girls, especially in her class.
She was put into a work group in her class at school, where she met Page. They became instant friends. Immediately they were planning to play after school. They didn’t live far from each other. Close enough that they could meet each other in the middle without having their mom’s drive them.
They would often meet in the park near by after they checked in at home. They had been playing together for about 2 weeks with no friendship altering moments. They shared well together without name-calling. They both loved to play kitchen in the dirt at the park, using the fountain nearby to make all sorts of treats. Each took turns being Mom, the most coveted role.
They had been happy friends until Page’s older sister, Phoebe came to get Page for dinner.
“This is Mary. She’s my new best friend!” Page said with such enthusiasm that she turned bright red.
“Oh yeah? Are you sure about that? Mary, what does your Mom do?” Mary looked at page for clarification. Mary wasn’t sure why Phoebe was asking her that question like that.” Page shrugged her shoulders not understanding the obvious tension coming from her sister.
“She works at an office.” Phoebe’s nose turned up a little.
“Do you know what our mother does?” Mary could tell that Phoebe didn’t approve of her but she wasn’t sure why and what she should say next.
“No?” Her answer sounded like a question instead of an answer. Phoebe was certainly not a fan and Mary was afraid Page would soon follow her sisters feelings. Who doesn’t want to be like her big sister.
“She stays home with Page and I. She’s doesn’t like to be away from us that long. She’s a good Mom.” Mary felt the sting instantly. There was no mistaking her point. Even for a seven year old. Page looked at Mary with sympathy knowing that Phoebe was being mean.
Phoebe grabbed for Page’s hand, “Lets go. Mom and Dad are waiting for us. Bye, Mary.” She said as she walked away dragging Page with her. Page had tears in her eyes. She wasn’t sure if she was in trouble or if Mary was but she knew that their times together would be fewer from here on out if not gone all together.
That was the last time Mary played with Page. She saw Page at school but neither of them said a word to the other. Mary never understood why what her mom did made a difference to anyone, but she did know that from that point forward she knew that she wasn’t good enough for people like Page and Phoebe.