My boy.
So sweet and funny.
So smart and charming.
So warm and wise beyond his years.
So mild and sensitive.

So thoughtful and observant.
So quick with a smile or a laugh.
So kind and friendly.
Such a beautiful little soul.

Today I got to observe my little boy from afar. 
He didn't know I was watching.
I got to see a small piece of his world.

I saw him get to a door first and instead of walking through, hold it open for the little girls behind him.

He is at the ice rink with the entire second grade.

I saw him try to move through the door, but decide against it, as child after child pushes past him to get on the ice.

Maybe now? No.

Now? No.

He held the door for a hundred children and was last on the ice. Only one person thanked him. A teacher.

I watched as he slowly, cautiously, made his way across the ice. To fall would be to bruise to his ego as well as his body.

A few boys skated past.

"You need to skate faster. You're skating like a baby!"

He made no reply but I know the words hurt. He doesn't want to be called a baby.

A little girl falls in front of him and though she will right herself long before he will be able to get to her, he says, "Are you ok? Let me help you!"

She is up and skating away without a look back.

He 'skates' slowly- barely moving - shuffling his feet, arms out for balance . He skates alone on a rink full of children.

His mouth is moving.

I know he is quietly singing the Indiana Jones theme. He does this now, out of habit, without even realizing he's doing it. Indiana Jones is a friend that never ever fails him.
Doesn't call him a baby.

He must do it quietly though, or the other children will hear. He can't let them hear. They would tease.

At the end of skating, he is last off the ice. He would never dream of pushing his way out front to be first. He seems to think he knows his place.

The center is crowded with little bodies and big voices,each trying to shout louder than the next.

He looks for a place to sit. For a conversation to join.

"You are a really good skater." He says quickly and quietly to a boy, seizing an opportunity.

"I know. It's easy." Is the reply.

"I'm not good at it. It's not easy for me. Dad says I just need to pract..."

But the other boy has gotten up to get in line for the bus.

He moves slowly. Unties each skate. Takes off his helmet. He places them into their spots just as they were asked to do. He looks around. He asks the lady working if she would like help putting the things away that the other children didn't take care of.
She smiles.

"No thank you, young man. How polite of you to ask, though. Did you have fun skating today?"
"Yes. Thank you for having me," he says. He smiles his jack-o-lantern grin at the lady and heads for the line.

He gets on the bus. He sits with the teacher.

I see them talking and smiling. This is when he feels the most comfortable with himself. In the company of adults. He feels that grown ups are nicer.
They understand him.
This is when his confidence soars and his light shines the brightest.

I know that when I collect him after school and ask him about his day, he will not complain.
He will tell me that he had fun. That he didn't fall. Not even ONCE!
He'll tell me about the nice lady at the ice rink.
He will tell me a joke. A joke a second grader would love.
He will ask me about my day.

 Before bed, we will talk.
He will finally open up about how he is feeling.
He will ask, "Why am I so different? Why don't I have more friends? I try to be friendly."

My heart will break.
I won't have a good answer.
I will stammer something about how much I love him and he will say, " It's ok mom. I will just try again tomorrow.'

My boy.

1 comment:

  1. I have chill bumps. I seriously have chill bumps. I loved this so much. I want to give your boy a big, big hug. It is hard to grow up. It really is... Loved this post!


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