My foray into the buttons was cut short on Friday by a boy who jumped off the bus, tears streaming down his face, running all the way down the drive toward home with his sister chasing after yelling, "John! What's wrong?" over and over. And me, dumbfounded, concerned and a bit shocked, after all, this is the boy who hardly ever cries. He was the baby who hardly ever cried and never changed his ways. If he was hungry, he grunted, sleepy, he grunted, poopy, more grunts. Never wailing, never moody, just steadily happy, energetic, enthusiastic about life and now he was sobbing. Problem.
So I followed inside, careful not to be overly alarmed, careful not to say too much, reminding myself I needed to listen to what the problem really was without injecting too much of myself into the situation. Turns out, after a good deal of back rubbing, catching our breath together, lap sitting and even rocking (that worked the best) it seems it was an altercation after school which upset him so. I did my best to talk him through it, to remind him that he wasn't a bad kid, that he was really a great kid and that sometimes the grumpiest, meanest and biggest bullies (adults included) in the world really have more problems with themselves than the people they take their anger out on. I counceled again as I have before that there are certain people in the world that once we know who they are (as we did in this case), we are best served by going the other way when we see them. And that what comes out of their mouths often is best when we let it roll off our backs. So much easier said than done.
I refrained from calling the principal and giving him an earful, although I wanted to and told myself I needed to think that through before acting. I filled Daddy in as soon as he came home and said John could really use his input on the matter. Not being one who easily lets things go I added, "How do we teach him that, you know, to just let things roll off his back?". With his head down, processing it all, Kevin mumbled something I didn't quite get and he went to work his Daddy magic and I left them be.
The matter had dissolved when I came back and our weekend had begun. It wasn't revisited until today when John and I went out for our lunch date we'd been planning for the past week.
Over ice cream I asked him how he felt today about what had happened Friday afternoon. He paused, his eyes searching, "Oooohh, thaaaat. I forgot all about it."
"Until I had to bring it up, huh?" I asked, regretting my decision.
"I'm fine" he said. And the matter was dropped.
Whatever we did, I guess it worked but I always wonder if I'm doing the right thing in those situations and if it's enough. I'm learning to try to follow my feelings, to pay close attention to what I see and hear, and to react with a peaceful and patient heart. I'm so glad he feels better.
Herein lies one of the greatest gifts of having children, that sometimes our weaknesses are revealed to us in the most unexpected ways and if we realize it at the time, we have everything to learn just by watching our kids.