Yesterday I took the kids to the park. We were there, alone, for about twenty minutes when a lady and her son pulled up and came right to the swings where we were having a grand old time. The boy was about ten or so and took the only available swing left, next to Jacob. This was Jacob's signal to begin a conversation:
Jacob: Hi. My name is Jacob. What's your name?
Jacob: Do you like Star Wars? I have a Star Wars game in my Game Boy. I can share it with you.
Jacob: I'm seven years old and in the first grade. My name is Jacob. How old are you?
rude ass boy: (silence)
The same old shit continued for another five minutes while the other boy ignored my son and other boy's mother just stood by and watched it. I really didn't know what to think about that. It kind of pissed me off. If one of my kids were blatantly rude to someone else like that, I would've stepped in and at least told them to say hello and be polite. She just stood there. At one point the kid pointed at Jacob while looking at his mom and made a face and she laughed. A grown woman laughed at a child trying to be friendly. Amazing. I really wanted to confront her, ask her what in the world she was teaching her child by behaving that way but I didn't. I went to Jacob and whispered in his ear that maybe that boy was shy and didn't want to be friends right then and why don't we take the other kids to jungle gym. And that's what we did.
Of course the big boy followed us right over there, and Jacob took that to mean they were now friends and started to include him in his game.
Jacob: Come on boy, I'm playing Star Wars. You can be Anakin and I'll be (somebody, I don't remember who)
boy: Mom, get this weird kid away from me
Jacob: (To me) I'm being nice to him Mom, maybe he'll play with me (with a big fat smile on his face)
boy: (Goes out of his way to walk past my kid and shoulder shoves him making a face at him as he does) Move it.
ass boy's mom: hee hee hee
WTF? I lost it. I gathered up my herd and yelled up at Jacob:
Me: Let's go play in the sand. I don't you or your brother around this rude boy learning to behave that way. He doesn't want to be your friend. He doesn't want to play with you. Get the hint and let's go.
So Jacob scrambled from the playground while I huffed in a blind rage to the sand pit. I was pissed. First I was pissed at that boy. Then I was pissed at his mother. Then I got pissed at myself because I in the heat of the situation, I didn't handle it well. I wish I had confronted the mother and asked why she was allowing that(in a nice way). I wish I had left out the entire part where I told him the kid didn't like him because, really, that was probably the only part he heard. Me telling him someone else doesn't like him. Me knocking his self esteem down another notch. Way to go, Mom.
Today when I picked Jacob up from school, we walked out to the parking lot and ran into a kid from his class and his father. Jacob said hello to the boy and the kid said nothing in return. Jacob said hello again and again nothing. When Jacob said have a good evening and the kid ignored him a third time, his dad stepped in and encouraged the kid to say hello. He didn't until the dad forced him right about the time we made it to our car. I'd like to think he got a tongue lashing when they got in their car, but I doubt it.
When we got into our own car, I had all kinds of questions for Jacob:
"Does that kid treat you like that all the time?"
"Do the other kids play with you?
"Is anyone nice to you there?"
He was all "whatever" about the whole scene while my blood was boiling. I am paying too much money to send him to a CHRISTIAN school to be treated like a complete outcast! Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. I stewed the entire way home. When I'd come to a red light I'd turn around and tell Jacob not to put up with kids treating him like that or to stay away from that rich kid in the parking lot or grill him about how each and every little kid behaved toward him and he'd just keep playing the game boy and look at me funny.
Of course, I made cookies when we got home because I know my son needed consolation from the horrible day he must've had at that wretched school. While we were sitting at the table eating cookies and sipping Pepsi (because Pepsi makes things better, too), he says to me:
"Mom. I think Ty*** might just be a little shy around you because he doesn't treat me like that all the time, just sometimes. All the other kids like him so I do too. He plays with me sometimes and sometimes W*** plays with me and other times the whole class plays with me and sometimes they don't. But it's okay. I like them all anyway." And he grinned the biggest grin at me. I wanted to sit him down and explain the truth about how mean people can be and to distance himself from all of that. "They think you're weird! Are you going to stand around and take that? Stay away from them!" Because, geez louise dude, you don't need to put up with that crap! Don't stand there and let them make a laughing stock out of you. Let me teach you how to fight, boy.
But he kept smiling. Instead I asked him if he was happy at school, if he liked it there, if he felt comfortable with the teacher and his classmates and he proceeded to tell me what was good: Burgers on Friday, Star Wars on the playground, writing and drawing and craft time, and the class butterflies that just emerged from their cocoons.
So I let it go.
My kid is smarter than me, I think. At the very least he has a much thicker skin. He's likes to be nice people. Makes him feel good. To him everyone in that class is his friend, even if it isn't reciprocated. As much as it hurts me to know some of the other kids think he's "weird", he doesn't care. He likes himself. He likes other people. He's happy. Period.
I will never get used to other people being mean to my child. It hurts me deep in my gut to watch it or hear about it. I want to punish everyone who does it or allows it to happen because my instinct is to protect my child; protect him from those who could cause him harm. I don't know if I will ever be able to fully accept that this is the way things are for him, but for now, I need to learn to let go what I can and let him get comfortable in his own life.
The question is: When will I get comfortable with his life?
Thanks Again, Ben
14 hours ago