Today we had a kindergarten play date at the school park in preparation for the big day on Thursday. The single-handed worst thing that could happen in that instance happened. No, he didn’t break an arm. No, he didn’t get in trouble. Worse than all…his feelings were hurt!!!!!!!!!! GASP!
We are walking into kindergarten knowing very few people and only one is a good friend we have seen quite a bit. In this case, I’ll call this friend a safety blanket friend. This kid knows a bunch of other kids and was playing with a group of boys. When Drew walked over to play with them, the safety blanket friend shouted “go away, we don’t want to play with you.” I instantly ran over to Drew who was walking away from them and he did the “mom, get away from me” shrug off. My heart broke into a million pieces.
Moving forward, every day after this, he is going to be on the playground sorting through all sorts of things. Things I can prepare him for – take turns, don’t pull girls’ hair, etc. But there are going to be many wounds I can’t nurse, many instances that I can’t predict and I will not be there to bear witness to them. On one hand, that might be what hurts the most. What happens when a friend does something like that and I’m not there?!? How will I comfort him then? What if he doesn’t tell me and just walks around sad? What if he tries to be accepted all the wrong ways? How can I keep him safe and nurture him then?
I certainly can’t help him through every snafu, I understand that. For the most part, for the last five years, no situation was all that bad that kissing a boo-boo, purchasing a new toy or a little scotch tape couldn’t help. As we embark in these years of formal standard education, he is growing and changing. He is starting a larger life that consists of a world beyond me. And as much as I’d like to cottle him by hugging and kissing him every time an unkind word is thrown his way in efforts for the unkindness to bounce off, it’s not going to be possible moving forward.
Today my heart broke. Not just because of what happened to him, although it did, but because he has a life of so much (G-d willing) ahead of him that I can’t help him through. My wisdom, my strength and my maturity will not help him understand life (mean kids and all). He’s gotta figure it out for himself.