I had started a completely different post but it seemed too angry and bitter, which is not what I want to express so I am starting again. I want to tell you a story. A story about a young girl who has made such an impact on not only my life, but others as well. This is Kayla’s story.
Kayla was born on a surprisingly warm night in November of 1999. At almost 10 pounds at birth, she came out looking like a 3 month old. What surprised us was that she acted like one too. We discovered later that she would always act this way.
Her brief time as an infant and toddler was normal with a few scares since she is a little accident prone with one exception……. At the ripe age of two, her dad was deployed. By the time she was three, she had survived a year without her father and losing her younger sister. It was a rough year for us all. Sad songs made her cry and she would refuse to tell anyone good-bye but she still held on to herself. Her own brand of Kayla-ness. Anyone who has ever met her, knows what I am talking about.
A few days after she turned four, I gave birth to her brother and we were complete.
The next seven years were a blur of babysitting, Girl Scouts, and school work. Then, another deployment came around, but this time was different. We were prepared……veterans in our own right. Besides, we had Adam. He was and still is our comforter.
After his return from Iraq, my husband began working 7 days a week in the foundry of a local auto parts factory. He worked 7 days a week for the next two years until he was accepted into the AGR program with the Army. We happily packed our bags and started on our new adventure here in Pennsylvania. For the first few months, Kayla seemed to be the “new toy” at her school. Popular and loved by everyone, we had no idea what laid on the horizon.
She began to date a local boy from her school. It was the first time she ever fell in love and the first time her heart was ever broken. The problems began shortly after that. At first it was only a few ugly things on the internet and on her phone, then came the threats. We began saving the things we could see so we could take it to her school when she begged us to let her handle it. After all, she has always been one tough cookie.
The next day, she stood up to the group of girls and they left her alone. Her father and I breathed a sigh of relief.
We were wrong.
About a month later, Kayla was attacked by another girl after school. When I arrived to pick her and Adam up, I was shocked to discover Kayla and her “friends” talking to a police officer. When I approached the group and realized that she had been attacked. I was immediately told to take Kayla and sit in my vehicle. We were not given a chance to talk to the girl or her parents. The next three days were filled with meetings with the police and the principal of her school. Kayla began to get harassed on the internet. We informed the officer that we wanted to press charges against her attacker and was met with excuses. We started to press the officer for action and was told that he was going to press charges against both girls for disorderly conduct despite Kayla being the only one injured. We understood his implication and left the officer alone. The school refused to punish anyone because it happened after school hours. Two students and a parent (Yes, you heard right. A. Parent.) recorded the attack with their phones. The two students deleted the video after speaking to the officer but it was the parent who uploaded the video to YouTube for everyone’s enjoyment. We watched the video, which instantly became a hit at her school, with disgust and heartbreak. It shows her “friends” cheering, laughing, and urging the attack on including the ones we brought into our home and treated like family. No, I will not put a link to it. It is a disgusting and brutal video, uploaded by a pathetic person who enjoys harming children and I refuse to give her what she wants.
Want to know why all this happened? The boy who broke Kayla’s heart started spreading rumors about her. That’s it. Angry yet? We sure are.
Our child, whom we swore to protect, has been attacked, insulted, and violated and we can’t do a damn thing about it. How’s that for kicks? Expect your child to be exempt from bullying because he/she seems “normal”? Forget it. Hope you never see real fear in your child’s eyes? Forget it. Assume that your child will be protected by the anti-bullying laws? Forget it. Think those friends won’t turn on your child in a heartbeat? FORGET IT. It has truly been a nightmare experience. I have mourned the loss of my daughter’s innocence. Mourned it like the loss of a family member. I have been humiliated at my lack of protection for my daughter and angered at the abuse of my hospitality. I CARED for those children. My emotions have hit rock bottom and the only way to go is up so here goes……
To the boy who not only broke her heart but started these vicious rumors about Kayla, I forgive you.
To the “friends” who cheered the attack on, I forgive you.
To the officer who refuses to take action, I forgive you.
To the mother who filmed the attack and uploaded it to YouTube, I forgive you.
To the school officials who didn’t punish the ones responsible, I forgive you.
And finally, to myself who failed to protect Kayla, I forgive ME.
Why forgive? Because we are who we are and hating someone won’t change them. Holding onto that anger isn’t going to help us heal our hearts. I can’t speak for my husband or for Kayla either but I can say this…….. Yes, you might have momentarily harmed us which in turn made you feel better for a brief moment in time but your actions won’t for one second, take away the first ounce of joy we have or will experience in life. I can’t hate you. I pity you and wish nothing but the best for you. How can I say that? Love. I have been blessed with an abundance of love in this old life of mine. Every joy and every heartache has brought me to this place. Here, where I can forgive, let go, and thrive once again.
This is all mine.
Thank you for reading.