I’ve been trying not to talk so much about my son on this blog (sorry to grandparents & other family who are reading this only because I do sometimes write about him!) both because he’s old enough to own his own stories, and also because it’s nice to have a place, a presence where my identity isn’t limited to “X’s Mom” (Which I do still answer to in public, if the speaker is less than 10 years old.)
But. Something happened that I want to brag about, and I want to have the record of for some time in the future when I’m worrying because parenting is hard, and the world is a scary place, and what if I’m doing this all wrong?
As I was working at the school book fair last night, a grandparent-caregiver came up to me and told me very quietly that she wanted to compliment my son. She told me that last week her grandson’s pants split right down a seam at lunch and everyone laughed. Everyone except my son, who told him it was ok, and that the same thing had happened to him last week. And he didn’t laugh, even when everyone else did. That made a huge impression on her grandson–My son didn’t laugh at him.
I was surprised I hadn’t heard anything about this. So at home I asked my son what had happened. He admitted, “Yeah, it really was pretty funny, and everyone else was laughing which made it harder not to join in. But I held onto my laugh and tried to make him feel better. I don’t like being laughed at, either.”
So not only did he not laugh at someone else’s misfortune, but he actively allied himself with the poor kid who found himself on the uncomfortable end of the joke, and tried to make him feel better. At his age, I probably wouldn’t have laughed, but I’d have been too nervous about going against ‘the group’ to visibly ally myself with the odd kid out. He’s so much braver than I was.
And after he relayed his story in his serious, matter-of-fact way, my 6yo made a fart-noise by blowing into his hands, and I told him to knock it off, and he giggled and did it again, shrieking with glee until I tickled him into submission. Then he was my very little boy again. very little and very very silly.
But for a minute there, I saw the wonderful man he’s going to be. Oh, my heart…