Yukon was part of the Federal contingent able to receive a Monday Freebie due to the Columbus Day holiday, so we enjoyed our all-too rare time together. Sleet and rain outside forced us to abandon our plans for a hike and instead we hunkered down at our favorite coffee shop, reading the New York Times and chatting about nothing in particular. You know those conversations, parents, ones that are about everything and nothing in that mature sort of way, offering opinions and insights that are near impossible with kids demanding every moment of attention.
It was clearly a day to be enjoyed. At least, until the phone rang and the principal's voice came over the line. Uh-oh. It seems our little kindergarten kinder got into a blow-by-blow knockout at recess and the principal wanted to let me know about it. Apparently, the other child had swung first, and Bear swung back. (Note to self: Do not allow husband to be around post-phone call, for his first words were "Where did he hit him?") Sheesh.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered who the other child was. I help in the classroom each week, and know the kids well, especially one in particular who we'll call W. Socially awkward, almost anti-so, hands groping and waving, speech difficult to understand, W. is the bane of kindergarten. He appears to be fixated on Bear, pushing and shoving not in an aggressive sort of way, but in a way I recognize all too clearly. I adore W.
This is my chance. I am now both the mom of W. and the mom of Bear, in a way, for I have been the mom on the other end of the phone call the principal made to W's, probably anticipating what was coming and yet wanting to defend her little boy at the same time. But I am the mother to Bear, too, with an opportunity to teach grace and compassion, even if it hurts.
Bear and Yukon had a man-to-man talk after school, and he understands as well as a five year-old could the need to use words instead of fists, caring instead of intolerance. Kindness is easy to give, Yukon explained. It's sometimes hard, as is the case with W., to receive.
A delicate moment. A precious lesson. One that, I don't think, was accidental.