September 23, 2009

The Lioness and the Lamb in Me

Part of being back to school mean back to dealing with childhood emotions. Not that my children, and mostly I'm talking about Briton here, didn't have emotions over the summer, but it's when school is in session that I see them most clearly. Will they like me, will they want to play, what do I do when I'm left out, what if I do something wrong, something stupid, something that people make fun of?

And the thing is, that never really changes, does it. People can be mean. Even when they dont mean to be. I'm not talking about anything that's happened recently, it's just something I've been bracing myself for as an inevitable part of having a child in school. But thinking about it in the context of my son got me thinking about how it happens to me even as an adult. Not as often, to be sure. Adults are, superficially, nicer. But it does happen. And the girl inside me, the one who had just a little too much imagination, a little too much wackyness, to be cool, still feels the sting every now and then. I say something or do something and that little zing comes flying back. Nothing big, nothing direct, just a little zing, like a bee's sting. you almost don't know it's happened until the throbbing pain hits a moment later.

There is nothing worse, though, than watching your child crumple with sadness when it happens to them. There is nothing that brings out the inner lioness in me quite so fiercely. That makes me want to scream and shake the offender and tell them "dont you know how GREAT my kids is??" Because he is. I know all parents think their kids are great. But mine really is. He might have an over abundence of energy at times, but he genuinley loves his sister, he always makes sure to include people, and he has a tender, sometimes easily broken heart. I want to yell this at the kid who makes him feel bad or sad or left out. But you can't do that. Can you? All you can do is offer the same words of comfort that your parents offered you. "If they don't know what they are missing being your friend, they arent worth being friends with."

It's not enough, though. It wasn't ever enough as a child to hear those words, it didnt solve things. And now as a parent I can see that it doesnt make me any less mad to say those words. But what more can we do. Just as we had to learn to fight those battles, so to must our children.But I suppose the only thing worse than having to watch your children fight battles they wish you could battle for them, is realizing that they no longer need you to fight, that they are old enough to handle it themselves. Old enough that they might not even tell you about it at all.