Of Spiderman, a bully, and lessons learned
It was the shirt that did it to me, made me that kind of angry only a mother can know.
Light-blue, the shirt, with Spiderman on the front.
And in the upper right corner, where your heart would be if a body was made in mirror-image, three rips.
This is what happens to soft cotton when a child is shoved off a swing and onto concrete at the school playground.
I know this because this is what happened to my son.
My son who went to school with a nice, whole Spiderman shirt and returned with three tears in it.
Because someone decided it was okay to push him.
That it’s okay to punch him in the stomach.
That it’s okay to chase him and throw him down.
What this bully didn’t know is my child has a mother who was also picked on, who knows exactly what it feels like to have someone bigger, stronger or just meaner see a target on her back.
Thing is, I’m not a kid anymore.
I know how to stop it.
And I will not tolerate – for ONE SECOND – someone doing this to my son.
That shirt, when I came upon it in the pile of clean clothes I was folding the other day, broke my heart again.
Because when you’re a mother, there really is no limit to how many cracks your heart can take, is there? It just keeps breaking, and healing, and breaking more than you think it could possibly handle.
But mothers, well, we’re tough. Especially when it comes to protecting our kids.
So Sawyer and I visited the principal’s office after school yesterday, the first day back after the two-week vacation.
“My son is being bullied,” I told her. “And it’s going to stop immediately.”
She took notes. She told us she would talk to the child, that there would be consequences, that Sawyer should let her know if it happened again.
Today I got the follow-up email. The child was spoken to, as was the mother. The child admitted the behaviors. And then apologized to Sawyer and agreed they would stay away from each other.
He was happy. A weight was lifted off his fragile shoulders, the body that barely reaches over 50 pounds, the gentle soul that doesn’t get why some kids are so, so mean.
He also learned two important things:
The school principal is an ally, not just the person to see when you’ve gotten in trouble. That’s why you learn to spell it principal.
And most important, his mother will always, always have his back.