A blog by Lori Lyons

Monday, July 2, 2012

Matters of the heart

This is an angry mommy bee!

When I finally became a mom after so many years of trying, my own mother said to me, "When you have a child, it's like your heart is walking around outside of your body."

I didn't understand at the time.

Now, 11 years into this motherhood thing, I know what she was trying to say. Your child is your heart and everything that happens to it happens to you. When your child hurts, you hurt. When someone hurts your child, you want to hurt them. Sometimes you want to punch them in the throat.

And sometimes, even when your child doesn't hurt, you hurt.

I have been trying for a few years to get my daughter into this local camp called "Beecuz You Matter." Thanks to word of mouth and rave reviews, spots are hard to come by and it fills up fast.  This year I got one, even after missing the deadline. I had to drop a check off in a stranger's mailbox to get it, but got it I did.

Then I had to convince my daughter that it would be fun.This was her third camp in as many weeks, and my little night owl would rather stay up all night and sleep all day than go to DisneyWorld. She pouted. And protested. And whined.

But, after some figurative arm twisting, a little bit of threatening and a stern, "You're going so stop whining!" she stomped off into the night. Then she came home the first night and didn't stop talking about it.

"I had so much fun."

This isn't just a let's-do-crafts camp. It teaches life lessons. There were discussions of money, bullying, self-esteem, in addition to crafts and fun and games. One day she came home with a sheet she had to fill to show her perception of money.

How much is rent? $100, she wrote.

How much does a car cost? $9,000

How much does a policeman make per year? $100

"Not far off," said my friend, the wife of policeman.

And we had to bend over backwards just to get her there. With my mother-in-law in the hospital with a burst artery in her arm, my mother still hobbled by a bad knee and my husband undergoing knee surgery, we've had to shuffle and piecemeal transportation. I even had to let her sleep away from home one night to get her there.

But it was all worth it.

Until the last day.

The highlight of the camp -- and most camps -- is the end of week photo slideshow. The parents get to see what their child did all week and the kids gather with their friends and laugh and giggle at the goofy expressions they were caught making.

I took a late, long lunch Friday so I could be there for my girl. She sat on the floor with her friends, I sat with the parents. And we both waited, excited to see her in the montage. The program opened with each girl's smiling face and her name up on the big screen.

Alli... Casey.... Maria ... Claire ... Lexie.... Alexis .. Gabby... Jordan..48 in all, they said.

But no Lora. Never a Lora.

And my heart just broke. For her. For me.

Why was she left out?

Oh she was in the group shots, and there was a photo of her painting her little blue piggy bank and even a snippet of video as she hopped in a potato sack. And she sought my reaction as each one flashed. But there was no photo of her face and her name.

Yes, she did miss one day because she had a sore throat and fever, but it was clear that the photos were not all taken in one day. And she missed on Wednesday.  There were plenty of opportunities to take her picture on the four other days.

And as I sat in the dark watching the remainder of the show, I felt the anger rise and the tears burn my eyes. My heart felt her pain as she watched and waited for her face on the screen ... and waited ... and waited.

When it was over I asked her, hoping maybe I had just missed it.

"Did they show your picture with your name?"


She immediately begged me not to "freak out."

"It's OK, Mom. It's not a big deal. It doesn't matter."

But at a camp called, "BeeCuz you Matter," yes. It does.

I didn't make a scene, as much as I wanted to. We left quickly. I didn't thank the campers or the directors, didn't tell anyone goodbye. But as soon as I got back to work, I fired off an email.


 I am very glad that my daughter was able to attend this year's camp -- even with all that is going on in our crazy lives right now -- and I am glad that she had a good time and wants to go back next year.

However, I am deeply disappointed that her photo with her name was not included in the slide show. She says it does matter, but I watched her as she waited ... and waited ... and waited... And it did. And it does matter to me.

I have yet to receive a reply.

I know they'll say they are sorry. That it was an honest mistake. And it probably was. I'm sure they didn't do it on purpose. And maybe she wasn't the only one left out. But that doesn't make it hurt any less -- her or me.

Because my child matters. Her feelings matter. MY feelings matter. And for her to say it didn't just infuriated me more. She does matter. She was a part of that camp. She was one of the girls. And she was overlooked. Then she begged me not to make a big deal out of it.

And that may be the worst part.

What would you have done? How would you have felt?

Hanging out at YeahWrite.me
Where the cool kids hang out!


  1. I am so glad to hear Lora wasn't as upset by it as it could have been. One of my worst moments teaching was when a teammate somehow skpped a name on her list at our fourth grade promotion ceremony. The poor little one sat and cried through 5 classes of students' names. It was heartbreaking. It truly was an honest mistake and was not meant in any way shape, or form to hurt him.

    1. Totally understand!! Allison asked me to enter her art work in an art show, we did. She patiently waited the three weeks to the final night to see if she won a ribbon. We arrived, we walked to the 1st & 2nd grade entries, hers were no where to be found. We finally found them, labeled correctly, Allison, 1st grade, hanging with 7th & 8th grade entries. She of course had not won as she had been judged with older kids. The gallery said sorry & walked away!! As I walked out with a child in tears!!

    2. I hope I didn't project my anger and disappointment onto her, but I wad so upset. And she just accepted it! I didn't know which was worse.

  2. my heart breaks for her. When I taught pre-k we did very frequent newsletters (2-3 a week) tons of bulliten boards that we changed frequently, slide shows at programs and we ALWAYS ALWAYS made sure that everyone was included as equally as possible. We frequently rotated classroom photo displays so that all the children and families would feel equally represented. I definitely would have fired off a strongly worded email.

    1. I just felt like they should have double and triple checked. And I have YET to hear from them!

  3. It is so hard to have your child get overlooked. And heartbreaking. I'm still surprised by how much I feel when my kids are hurt or there's been an injustice against them, even if it's unintentional.
    It's great she got so much from it and enjoyed her time there. But, with that missing photo...I would have talked to someone or sent an email, too.

    1. I will never forget the sight of her sitting on the floor, looking up and waiting. She may say she wasn't, but I know she was disappointed.

  4. That must have felt awful. (Obviously it did.) How could you not feel slighted? I don't have children so I can't say what I would have done but I know I would have been royally pissed.

  5. I am still pissed! Especially that I have yet to hear from them.

  6. I am pissed for you and want to give your daughter a hug- but I guess all these things are "teachable" moments? All my terrible moments as an adolescent made me better in long run? I am trying to look at the bright side, but the Mom and in me wants to kick their ass....

    1. Heh. Thanks Laurel. I wanted to kick some ass that afternoon too. But I gave in to Lora. Now I wish I had said something.

  7. I would've done exactly the same thing that you did...and probably I would've said something that very day,if I could've done so without my kid hearing me. You're absolutely right - ESPECIALLY given the focus of that camp, they should be bending over backwards to make sure they're fully inclusive and not just "eh, we tried, bummer."

    1. Thanks MM, for the support. At first I was afraid I was overreacting. But, no. I wasn't. They have to be better.

  8. I would have wanted to kill them. You were very restrained. We don't have quite so many of these sorts of camps and things in Australia - but the idea of it sounds great! Good on you for sending that email, they should have been more careful. Also, bless your daughter's heart for not wanting you to be upset :)

  9. Thank you Bridgette. I was fuming at the time. It's probably best that I left and didn't say anything at that moment. My daughter would have been even more embarrassed.