“Why does she get to be in the paper, and I don’t?” Chopped out of Amelia’s mouth while looking at a picture of Hazel, in all her butterfly getting glory, on the front and 5th page of The Madison Record.
“The article was about her.” I said, trying to be matter of fact, with an understanding that seeing sister in the newspaper added to her what-are-they-doing-when-I’m-at-school paranoia.
“You should be happy for your sister.” I said. “Let’s get in the car.”
“Well, I’ll be in the next one and I want to choose the picture,” Amelia said. “Daddy, can I see your phone.”
I believed her, a quick wave of the hand and Yoda I would have thought she was.
“Amelia, there’s an editor and they…” I tried and stopped.
While we wound through the parking lot I looked in the rear view mirror and caught Amelia’s gaze falling out the window. She had gone from “fired up” to processing “Why her and not me?” It was a moment of growth, coming to terms with disappointment, and learning how to handle envy.
“Are you alright Amelia?” I said. She didn’t flinch. We went to a few stores before making our way home, she was not herself.
When we got home, she hopped out of the car, flew into the house, and while I was busy carrying in our procurements, I glanced over and noticed her busy at the kitchen table. I let her be. Fifteen minutes later, with her hands behind her back, she said, “Do you want to see something?”
“Okay, but you have to sit down.” She said while pulling pieces of paper stapled together (a newspaper) from behind her back. “Here, let me read it to you. It’s my newspaper that I’m in. It says “I am happy for my sister to be in the newspaper. We should be happy for people, especially family members, when something good happens to them. I hope I can be in the paper some day.”” This all written in five-year-old cursive (loopy lines). Sometimes our ‘parental words’ are heard, or is she working a sophisticated angle to get what she wants?