Friday, August 31, 2012

Nine Year Old Me

It's Friday, so I'm at Lisa Jo's place for Five Minute Friday. 

Interested? Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::


We all live with our choices and for whatever reason, mine have been haunting me. He says that fear sneaks up on him; for me it’s regret.

I close my eyes and I am there again. The blue pews. The stained glass. The linoleum floors. We are getting older, full of questions they move our class up from the basement onto the main floor in the library. Navy blue, deep mauve and round tables. The walls are lined with books that even for this bookworm seem a little too difficult. We learn our lesson and are released into the sanctuary, past the nursery where I love to spend my time.

I used to feel popular, feel secure in my friendships, but it’s that age when relationships are tested, and my best friend Sarah has that wonderful, extraverted personality where she can have multiple best friends. This introvert just wants one. And so I spend my time feeling as if I’m fighting to maintain that friendship – I just don’t want to be alone. I don't want things to change. Growing up is hard and today I’m just tired. Let’s just get past the grownups and the kids and find our place in the front row next to our friend before the other girl does.

But before I make it into the safety of the sanctuary I am caught. Some adult, I don’t even know, stops me to introduce me to her. I know instantly why they choose me. I’m the nice girl. I’m the sweet girl. I’m the girl at the Christian school. I’m the girl who will stop and pray for someone (out loud even!) if someone is hurt. And maybe on the outside I seem like I have a lot of friends here; they just don’t know that I feel each minute that I’m fighting for survival.

I shake her hand and smile, all the while pushing back tears as I see Amy run up the sanctuary aisle to my spot next to Sarah. She gives me a hug so tight I can still feel her arms around my neck. They tell me that I’ll spend more time with her next week.

Later they tell me that she has something called Down Syndrome, and because of that she doesn’t have a lot of friends. I instinctively want to take her under my wing, but all I can think about is Sarah and Amy in the front row and me stuck in the back with my parents and the new girl.

The next week she finds me quickly. I take her into Sunday School and the boys snicker and stare. The teacher scolds them. The girls are nice enough at first, but choose to sit at a different table. I’m at a round table by myself – with her.

She holds my hand so tight. She’s talking to me but I don’t understand every word and I can’t see her because my eyes are filling with hot tears, tears for her and tears for myself as I watch my friends seem to slip away.

The next week I walk into that room and see a table of my friends, and a table with the new girl.

I make a choice and that scared girl wins out. I sit near my friends.

I was just a kid.

They were changing.

I changed.

I still regret that choice. 



  1. Ohhhh Brenna. This is beautiful. Like, teary-eyes in a coffee shop surrounded by people I don't know beautiful. I think that your regret for this is penance enough for the terrible thing you think you've done. And, really, lovely friend, its not a terrible thing. Its uncomfortable to look back on, and as an adult it can be disappointing because we see how we should have responded instead of how we actually did respond, but you were young and scared and you did what you needed to do. I've made some foolish decisions in the name of introversion myself, and maybe thats why I feel your pain so keenly. You are a wonderful person and a truly good friend - don't hold adult Brenna responsible for the choices of child Brenna. <3

  2. We've all missed opportunities to stand up for someone else. I think we're harder on our young selves than when we pass that guy at the bottom of the ramp we see every week. At least I think I am. Very thought provoking for me this morning.

  3. Heart touching post, bless you.

  4. "I make a choice, and that scared girl wins out" How often is that the story. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. This is a very moving post. It's so hard for children to navigate between relationships and doing the kind thing. I remember that so well.