yesterday i received the call. you know, the call from your child's school office. the one when they tell you your child is in the office due to an "incident" that they are trying to get to the bottom of. yea... that's the call.
for those of you who know me personally or have read this blog for long may be surprised to hear this. possibly even as surprised as i was to hear about it. this is not the call i was ever expecting to get. well, not for grant. maybe one day for avery. but not grant.
i was so surprised that i just heard the office secretary talking but didn't totally grasp much of what she was explaining. she told me that she was calling because she was told to inform all parents of the children involved. inform them that they were being held in the office due to a playground "incident". i did think to ask her, "well, will i be hearing details of this "incident"?" she went on to tell me that they still needed to "get to the bottom of it", but she did give me the one detail that it involved four boys who were shoving and hitting on the basketball court. grant was one of them. which prompted me to ask my second and last question, "is everyone ok?" i will admit that the tone that she answered my question in was far from what i had wanted, as she said, "yea they are ok." then the conversation was over. once i hung up the phone the weight of the entire thing hit me. if you aren't a parent and maybe even if you haven't been in a similar situation you may not understand what i mean by weight.
over the next few minutes i sat there thinking about my boy. my first born. my pleaser. my rule follower. the boy who is top of his class. the boy who protects and nurtures his little sister. he calls me mama. he snuggles with me. he prays for others. in those few minutes my heart broke for him. at that moment i had no actual fact of who hit who, who pushed who, or anything really. it didn't matter though. all i could feel was pain in my heart for my sensitive boy, that boy who at that moment was sitting in his school's office. participating in what was his first real punishment. outside of his home. outside of my control. one of those moments when the weight of the world is heavy. when you're reminded that your child's innocence doesn't last forever. i'd be a liar if i said this didn't bring tears to my eyes. i'd be a liar if i said that i didn't want to get in my car, drive to his school and take him out for the rest of the day. or maybe even forever. i did in fact cry over the thought of him going through this and i did want to rescue him from it.
when i am faced with the fear of being out of control, i pray. as i prayed i felt calmed. i held onto the truth that he was safe. he was ok. the truth that there was a lesson to be learned for him in this. what that lesson would be i wasn't sure. but there was a lesson for him. i was reminded of the reasons his dad and i believe strongly in him going to school. reasons far beyond education. i do believe these are among the lessons that shape and prepare us. so, i began to prepare myself for when i'd pick him up and bring him home after school. what was my reaction going to be? how would i talk to him? what had he done? what had others done to him? how was this possibly going to affect him? now that this "incident" had happened and was all out of my control... how could i now shape this experience, within the safety and love of our family?
i picked him up and asked the usual, "how was your day?" this led us right to the story, which began with him saying, "today was not a good day at school." the story seemed to be a normal-ish boy type "incident" involving two older boys and two younger boys over a sport. grant said he was pushed down to the ground and that he was hit. this breaks my heart all over again as i type it. he said to me that he did not touch anyone. i looked right at him and i told him that i believed him with everything in me. grant felt that he was lied about by someone that he possibly thought was a buddy of his. as he told me this story he wasn't very mad about being pushed or hit, he wasn't upset about being sent to the office, but he was very hurt over being wrongly accused and by the thought that he may have been wrongly accused by a friend.
and so began the lesson. one of many lessons he learned from this "incident". when we were home i hugged him and held him while i told him how sorry i was that he was hit and pushed down. that i was sorry someone would do that. i told him to hold onto that feeling just enough to remember to never do it to anyone else. that it hurts you both physically and in your heart when someone does that. i told him i was sorry that someone he thought was his friend may have told a lie about him. i explained that sometimes people don't want to get in trouble alone so they take others down with them. again i reminded him to remember that feeling just enough so he would not treat others that way. mainly i told him that i loved him and that his dad and i were on his side. that no matter what, we believe him, we love him, and support him. later when bryan came home from work he said to grant, "i know that you know right from wrong, and i want you to know that as long as you always truly believe in your heart that what you are doing is right, then i will love and support you in that choice."
i am a mom who struggles with controlling my children's experiences and the outcomes. part of me would love to put them in a bubble. i pray for protection over their bodies and hearts daily. had someone asked me if it would be ok for grant to go through all of this yesterday, would i have given permission? no, of course not. now that it has all been said and done and is over, do i see the good in it? yes, i do. there are lessons in life that as parents we can't just tell our children about. we can't just read a book or watch a tv show to get it across to them. there are so many lessons they just need to experience on their own. as parents then we can provide them with a safe place. we need to see the importance in the way we react and speak into their experience. it could make all of the difference to them, and the lesson they choose to shape from it. and that last part there, that is the lesson i took from yesterday.
as my kids get older, more and more is out of my control. if only i could just let go of the need to control and let go of the fears i have for them. if i could fully invest my energy in creating a safe, loving and supportive place for them to feel heard, understood and believed in. then i truly think that all of their experiences, even the worst, could be shaped into amazing life lessons. lessons that not only my kids learn and grow from... but us parents could too.