I am willing to admit that my son is not perfect. He enjoys chasing our miniature daschund, throwing water outside the bathtub and running through the backyard nude. But those are innocent things. Those are the memories that will keep me warm when he is a teen and telling me he hates me. Or when we plods home from college with a sparkling 1.257 GPA.
I felt ashamed of my child for the first time recently. It felt similar to if you took your spouse to a work party and they drank too much mixed with a little bit of disillusionment and a splash of mortification.
My son, Holden, and I were at an event where we split up into teams. I was nervous about not seeing him as he interacted with the other children. But really, what could go wrong? At the end of the night, I walked up to Holden and his group and noticed his friend was holding his head and crying. I politely asked if Holden had wounded the little boy. I was assuming he didn’t.\He had. My handsome, brilliant, enchanting and miraculous son had pushed a sweet little boy on cement and given him a huge bruise. I felt sick to my stomach. I looked at my son with new consciousness. Who was this little fiend?
I was not only concerned for the little boy, who turned out to be fine after ice and hugs, but I was humiliated! This little tyrant was making me look like a bad mom. Geesh! I instantly feared I am going to be the one that all the other mother’s gossip about. As irrational as it sounds, I wished my son would have been the one with the bruise. I know how to care for my son when he gets hurt, however, for me, it is a much more difficult task to cope with and aid your child when he hurts someone else’s child. This little rascal was not behaving according to plan! Maybe I need to get firmer with him?
I searched blogs trying to find an answer. Apparently, I am not the only neurotic mom who was concerned with such “standard” behavior. But, like a blessing from above, my fears melted away. A few days later there was an incident on the playground between Holden, the boy Holden “assaulted” and a little girl. The little girl was in tears for about 20 seconds after being pushed, or what I could assess, since interrogating a three-year-old only gets you so far.
Did Holden do it,” I wearily asked the mother of child Holden had hurt prior.
“Nope, mine did it this time,” she replied.
I am ashamed to say I was overjoyed by this. So happy, I may have danced like Catherine Zeta Jones in the musical Chicago. It was like Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and my birthday all rolled up into one fantastic feeling.
This was grand news. Her son is the nicest little boy ever. Everyone raves about him. “He is always smiling.” “He is always helping out.” He is Ashley Wilkes to my son’s Rhett Butler, he’s Peter Pan to my son’s Captain Hook. But, as it turns out, every child interchanges these roles as they grow. Though, at times, I fear my Holden will rule the world with ruthless abandonment, there will be just as many times, if not more, that he will save the day and make his mother proud.
As parents, I think we have a tendency to worry too much. I spent the entire week worried about whether my child would hurt another little boy or girl. Yes, there are things I can do to prevent it, but a constant state of stress is unnecessary. I could have had a much better time if I would have relaxed just a bit. I could have appreciated all the wonderful moments that week, watching him trying to keep up with the big kids when they sing, clearing the table without being told and enjoying a sticky treat in the hot summer sun.
Holden is not the next Ted Bundy. He is a normal little lad. And for this, I am joyful.
SHE is published in The Daily News every third Saturday of the month.