Not being super coordinated makes one an easy mark. You’re always “it” in tag, you never make it around to the “A” square in Foursquare, and being picked last when choosing teams playground rules is just another day. Recess is some kind of living hell, but at least you’re safe inside school, right? Right??
My son is an easy target for middle schoolers. Even before we knew he had MD, we knew that he marched to his own rhythm, and it’s a good beat that he rejoices in. He’s inside his head a lot, and mostly that’s OK. He’s had the same bunch of friends, mostly intact but with a few sliding in and out over the years. They’re decent, good souls whose parents take care to ensure that decency and goodwill toward their fellow brethren flows. And then there’s the kid who takes delight in snipping my kid’s backpack with scissors. His latest show of indecency involved pitching my kid’s locker padlock down the hall, the little shit. And you KNOW it wasn’t him getting yelled at.
No, it was my son, perceived now by his teacher as playing in and around his locker. It is not one bit unlikely that my kid does play and putz between classes. I live with the child, so I, more than any other living soul, have a real good view of his, ahem, “organization” and “time management” skills. Trust me, I KNOW! But when your child’s heart is breaking because his friend shit on his doorstep and he got yelled at by the teacher for it, your heart breaks right along with his. But this is middle school and you’re the mom so when your child pleads with you to do nothing, you do that. Nothing is what you do because your child will become the butt of further jokes, and he wants to learn to maneuver on his own, or so he says anyway. There are not enough dollars in the world that could entice me back to my own middle school days. I was not the skinny one. I was not the pretty one. I was the smart one. I was the nice one. I was the band one. I was a naif. And so is my boy a naif. Having been there myself, I get it. I get why he gets back up without his mama even when it’s hard. It doesn’t mean I wish it wasn’t hard. It’s hard not to place my recollection of my own middle school experiences on him, and that’s not fair of me to do. If I do say so myself, I turned out OK despite not having been skinny or super coordinated in sixth grade. Nice matters. Smart matters.
The offending child invited my son and bunch of the usual suspects to an event this weekend, so I asked my son if he still wanted to go. My smart, nice, band kid says, “Yeah, I want to go. He helped me try to find the lock after he threw it, so that shows that he was sorry for his actions.” Of course, I’m convinced the other kid’s motives were slightly less pure than that, but I love that my son doesn’t have my distrust. Maybe I am doing something right after all.