These are not the words that most Moms prefer to hear from their husband and kids upon returning from a week long business trip across the country. Because we know that the ensuing story is one that is going to be upsetting. It will be about a situation that we would have wanted to be in position to influence or control, but couldn’t. Or it might be about something that would have caused us worry. Dave has an uncanny ability to hold back on these types of updates – always with the best intentions and my best interest at heart. When traveling, I rarely know when the kids are sick or unfortunate situations occur – until I arrive home. I feel better hearing about things once I am closer to them. I don’t do “helpless” well. And this case was no exception.
It seems that this past week at school, Noah left his hoodie outside at lunch. To make a long story short, one of Noah’s “friends” got a hold of it and promptly threw it in the trash. He knew it was Noah’s and for some reason thought this was funny. Noah didn’t think so – and let the friend know it. Dave didn’t think so – and (eventually) let me know it. And I didn’t think it was funny at all — but I didn’t know who to let know.
My son is 15 years old. He is extremely capable of defending himself both emotionally and physically. He is ready to (rightly) dump this kid as a friend even though we all suspect this was more poor judgment than a case of bullying. And the hoodie wasn’t of any major value. All of these factors scream to leave well enough alone.
So why am I still compelled to make the call to the kid’s Mom?
It’s simple really. If I were her, I would want to know that my kid was being a jerk. While our boys may be
man old enough to shake things off, it doesn’t make up for the fact that we still have a responsibility to guide them in the right direction as they are figuring it all out. I know this because I speak from experience.
Last year about this time, I received an email from a Mom who shared with me that Noah was giving her son a hard time. I know this was a very difficult email for this mom to write as we had become friendly and her son did not want to cause any trouble. My initial mortification turned to firm resolve as I mobilized to make things right. Within a few hours, a few conversations, and one heartfelt and genuine apology, all was right and better for everyone. Noah was not fully aware how his actions had impacted this friend. Once he knew, he made amends immediately. But he never would have known if that Mom had not called me. And, the friendship, which was one which Noah really valued, would have ended. I shudder to think of the loss he would have faced. I am so very grateful to that Mom for taking that uncomfortable step with me. And now it’s time to pay it forward, in the same gentle manner.
At the writing of this post, I have yet to reach out to the other Mom, mostly because I haven’t had the time I think this situation deserves to write the note that explains everything including why I am inserting myself into the process. But when I do later this week I will tell her that it’s really not for Noah or the lost hoodie – it’s for her and her son to do with the information as they wish. And that I care enough about them to give them the chance to set things straight.
I thought that once Noah entered high school, I would stay out of the picture as much as possible in this regard. I thought that he would be able to fend for himself and make good decisions. It turns out, I was right about him. He continues to handle things beautifully. And while this time it is the “other kid” that needs some guidance, I’m humble enough to realize that tables turn very quickly and no one — not my kid or any other — is above it all.
Last call? I doubt it. But I think that’s a good thing. As our boys grow, we Moms need to stick together and somehow I hope the conversations keep coming from both directions. We owe our children – and ourselves – that much.