Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The main reason

I write very little just lately.

One reason is I have little time to do it.  I'm a very busy mama.

But the main reason...  The main reason catches in my throat when I go to say it, so I've just kept to myself.  

I snapped this photo of Charlie this evening, sacked out on the porch swing with his pup.  This kid does me in every single day.  My goodness.

Thing is, this sweet moment wasn't really come by in a sweet, happy way.

A neighborhood buddy came to play.  That is how it started.  Charlie loves to play with kids, but kids don't always get why he is difficult to understand, why he looks different, moves and plays different than expected.  I'm so used to it, you know?  I just take it for granted that people should be okay with variants of personhood.  Sometimes Charlie will hang with the language barrier and do the extra work to foster a play partnership.  And sometimes I think he is just not up to the challenge of proving himself, of working so very hard to communicate, so he'll go find something to do on his own.

Today, I immediately noticed the boy began to avoid Charlie, and was encouraging Calvin to avoid Charlie also.  He had made up a game where Charlie was the bad guy and they were hiding from him.  I think Charlie was as suspect of that game as I was, and he just ignored them and went to play something else.  Unfortunately, a short time later I overheard the boy making fun of Charlie to Calvin.

And that is the long and the short it, really.  I talked to the boy.  I talked to Calvin.  And then I sat down on the swing with my sweet dog because I was feeling really sad and angry.  Charlie found us out there, and of course had to squeeze in between us for a group cuddle.  He said, "I do love Buster."  I said, "I do love you."

In a few minutes, this sweet darling was fast asleep beside his puppy.

In early childhood we just did not deal with... rejection.  If there were people rejecting Charlie because of who he is, I never saw it.  I never knew about it.  More often than not our experience was the total opposite.  He is loved.

Boyhood has been different.  The sting of rejection is there, and I have so much I want to say about that because it hurts and it sucks.  But those words don't come out so easy.  They are raw, and likely unthoughtful.

There's a lot I've just kept to myself.

I try to keep the perspective that kids are excellent at sticking their feet in their mouths when really they are just curious.  I try to keep the perspective that education is the best prevention of children tearing down peers who are different.  I've never yelled at or accused any child, only tried to be firm about what is acceptable behavior toward my son, and why.  I try to let them know it is normal to notice when someone is different and to wonder about that, and that they have the ability to be a good friend to Charlie.

But at the same time, it rips my heart right through.  If the world could see this boy through my eyes.  It's all just very hard to say.

1 comment:

Mark Chalmers said...

I love your perspective about curious kids with their feet in their mouths. I do it sometimes, too.

Rejection is something everyone has to deal with, though. I guess it just hurts more when it's something you put so much effort into defending and educating. But one child that learns to see what a beautiful person Charlie is will carry that on the rest of his life, passing it on to others. Addressing this single occasion can positively affect dozens of others.

Keep writing. I love your words, and especially your pictures.

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