Handling the Words of Others

It’s been a crazy couple days in the house.  I can’t deny it.

I’ve been knee-deep in a major work project.  I have had two different parent meetings.  I’ve had Sam with migraines that have caused him nothing but trauma.  It’s just been crazy.

Then I heard from my middle daughter, Hannah, that Noah had a little bit of an emotional day at school.

It’s worth telling you here that Hannah watches the boys for a couple hours when they get home until I get to the house after work.  She makes sure they do their homework, she does hers (usually with the headphones in her ears.  Like they’re permanently attached to her head…need to talk with her about that) and they get their normal afternoon routine out of the way until I get home.

Now, the home routine is pretty exhausting as it is.  Usually, it starts with all three of the kids inundating me with information about their day.  Tons and tons of aural overload with the weight of their world transferring from their shoulders to mine.  I don’t mind getting the baggage. . . just break it up a little if you could, okay?  Right as I walk in the door, following me as I put down my briefcase, take off my suit coat and take my shirt tails out of my pants . . . following me up the stairs . . . it doesn’t stop, sometimes for a full hour.

Noah
Noah

So imagine my surprise when I have to hear from Hannah that Noah had a bad moment at school.

I asked him about it tonight before bed.  Apparently at his table group at school one of the girls at the table “like totally enjoys the Disney Channel shows…”  Apparently she’s in love with the girly-like shows that Disney has and she asked Noah his opinion of one of them.
“I don’t watch it,” he says he told her.  That got her ire up, apparently and she said he should.  When she asked why, Noah did what both I and his mother always told him to say – the truth.  It’s here I wonder if a little white lie shouldn’t be in line once in awhile.  He said he doesn’t like those kinds of shows.  “I hate those shows,” is likely more what he said.

That got the girl to inform him she was going to “call your Mom and Dad and tell them you said you hate my shows!”  She was poking fun at him, but he apparently looked at her and said. . . “you can call my Dad, but you can’t call my Mom.  My mom died.”

This set her, according to my son, to laughing.  Something even a different girl – one who’d been less than pleasant before – said was mean.  I guess it kept going for awhile and just set the mood for the rest of the day for Noah.  He didn’t react, didn’t hit, didn’t yell, just closed down some more.

I looked at him after he regaled me with his tale and told him “you know that there’s nothing bad about not having Mommy here . . . except the fact she’s not here, of course, right kiddo?”
“Yeah, I know,” he said, rather morosely.
“I mean, lots of people don’t have Moms or don’t have Dads…but we seem to be doing okay, right?”
“Sure!  I mean, it’s fine, Dad.”
“Just because this girl doesn’t understand doesn’t mean you don’t have a Dad who loves you and she just doesn’t know anything about us.  Did she think you were joking?”
“Maybe.  I didn’t say I was.”
“We can’t fix what other say about us, but you have to know that there’s nothing wrong with us, or you, and it’s nobody’s fault that she’s not here.  Sometimes bad and stupid things just happen.  I love you, and that won’t ever change.”

I wished at that moment people could see that he’s imaginative and smart and extremely thoughtful and loving.  But instead a lot of people just see that he’s awkward at first, because he’s shy and apprehensive how people will react to him.  I know how that feels.

But after our small discussion he smiled and hugged me, which seemed to lighten his load.

More baggage to carry, but thing about baggage…it’s easier when there’s someone there to help carry it.

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