New School Jitters: The Day I Was Humbled By My Son

It was the first day of school. But not just any old first day of school – it was the first day at a new school...A new school where there are new friends to meet, new hangouts to discover, teachers, rules, toilets to find...and where was that water fountain again?

To make matters worse, my 5-year-old son had a tough time falling asleep the previous night. He wasn’t having any of the usual first-day-at-a-new-school anxiety. It was something bigger.

“Have they caught the shooter?” he asked. Sandy Hook had happened some months before.

“Yes, they got him,” I said. “Don’t worry.”

“Could you check on the computer to make sure?” He needed reassurances. I left the room, came back, and told him it’s all safe. Nothing to worry about.

After much twisting and turning, he fell asleep. No nightmares. No middle of the night anxiety. He woke up just fine.

We got to the playground and there’s general mayhem as the children scream and chase, giggle, and catch up. I checked to see if he’s ok. He seemed fine. He was chatting with a kid in line. Maybe it was me who had anxiety.

We circled the playground to get my son accustomed to his surroundings. Nearby, a group of big kids were looking through some vacation photos. One of them had been on some rainforest adventure and had plenty of pictures to show for it. He flipped through images of sloths and jaguars, monkeys and coatis . . . my savior! Here was just what my animal-obsessed kid needed to get excited about his new school and potential new friends.

His ears perked up. “They’re talking about animals, mommy,” he exclaimed, his voice trailing off as he ran over to take a peek. This kid is into creatures big and small – he can tell a kudu from an oryx, and he lives for this stuff. You could practically see him shaking with excitement.

But as he approached the group, one of the big girls immediately shooed him away...told him to get out of there...go away...GO! I saw this.

My protective instincts kicked in. Mother lion fangs were at the ready. I’ve felt the insult and injury, and didn’t want my son to suffer.

But what could I do? Lioness I may be, but I was, of course, defenseless against this 8-year-old girl. So I did the only thing I eye-lock dagger throw from my very angry peepers followed by a targeted “Now that girl is RUDE!” missile aimed right at the kid, at ear-shattering volume. No bedazzled girl in a short skirt and tall UGGs was going to ruin my kid’s first day!

While some might applaud my efforts to stand up for my son, I’m sure there are just as many ready to throw a stone. Let’s face it though; I was totally in the wrong. But in the heat of the moment...well, how would you react?

But I don’t leave the battle scene triumphant...not for long anyways. My son put it all in a different perspective:

“She’s not rude, mommy. She just doesn’t know me yet because I’m new.”

He’s not hurt...not injured or insulted. He doesn’t mind. He’s new and that’s all.

My stress (or thirst for revenge – whatever you want to call it) just melted away. I was humbled. My 5-year-old had taught me a lesson.

A child’s innocence, simplicity, and matter-of-fact outlook have so much to teach us. We learn anxiety and fear with age...with responsibility, with parenthood. As parents, it’s so easy to take the protective route and with that comes some pretty ugly behavior. Isn’t better that we let our kids fight their own battles, or trust their instincts to know when there isn’t even one to fight?

Have you ever been humbled by your child’s outlook on life?

Tags : confession   school   relationships   

Anya Henners
He is very wise. :) What a great kid!