Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Which Kid Am I Raising?

So my friends little boy...ok he's twelve, broke his nose wrestling.  At first I was not sympathetic, you put you son in a girls swimsuit and make him fight other one-pieced boys getting his nose smashed in is a pretty reasonable result.  But then he had to get surgery and they had to re-break the nose and set it delicately back into place.  He makes it through the surgery just fine and gets home nice and drugged up and the next day he is feeling good and wants to go over to his friends house, which he does and in the first 3 mintes of being there another twelve year old walks up to him and asks, "What happened here?" and slaps his nose. It should have fallen off.  It was only held on by a small bandage and the Dr told him not to do anything to it for a week so it will set back into place.  Then Eddy Haskel comes over and pushes it to the left.  Obviously it was so painful but he was in front of his friends so he fights off tears and calmly calls his mom and says, "I'm done here, could you come pick me up?" Of course he doesn't tell his mother, because she will be mad, either at the friend or him or both (turns out Moms just get mad at themselves for not saying, "No, you just had surgery and your friends are idiots, stay home.") so she finds out when the kids mom texts her this huge apology and offers to pay for any damage done.

So here we are:  On the one hand twelve year olds are dumb and we should know they are dumb and we should put them in boxes with holes until they are...what am I now, 34? Yeah, 34. I should not have to be in a box but they should.

On the other hand, let's imagine the other kids mother.  Twelve years in and she realizes she raised, that kid.  The kid who has such a lack of awareness to walk up to another human being who is bandaged in the face and think, "That's my joke!  I'll swat the freshly BER-OKEN appendage and everyone will think I'm hilarious."

The trouble is... it could have been me.  It could have been anyone of us at that age.  Your desire to be liked far out weighs your desire to be reasonable.

When I was 15 I had a saying, if someone said something or did something that put me down in anyway, I would just shrug it off and say, "Oh, yeah?  Well, you're fat."  Easy. Clear. Final. I would say it to anyone, guys, girls, teachers, strangers. (I had a lot of teacher and strangers putting me down I guess) Well, then I was sitting in English next to Brenda, another 15 year old and she helped me out with my grammer.  I had made such a simple mistake that I thought it was funny.  She wasn't mean in correcting me, on the contrary, she was always real nice to me, which is why I thought it would be real clever if I gave her my signature line.  "Yeah well...you're fat."  And I went back to my paper.  Like, 10 minutes later I notice Brenda quietly shaking in her seat, her wrists limp in her lap, tears sneaking down her face, which was red trying to hold them in.  It actually took me a moment to figure out what had happened, it wasn't until she gently corrected me again, "That was the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me." she said with zero emotion, just as a matter of fact.  I remember trying to explain that I called everyone fat and that I did it all the time...this did not help my case, in fact it made me meaner that I did it all the time and to lots of people. Even as I said it I could hear that I was that kid.  Dumb. And I couldn't take it back.

I remember this story crystal clear and, no doubt, that nose whacking kid will remember that moment for the rest of his.  He thought he would be the hero and instead had to sit there while his mother, humiliated texted a stranger his apologies.

I was going to blog about how we text things that are too uncomfortable to talk about, but then I remembered Brenda and being that age and that boy and remembered I have little boy, who already thinks he shows his love by slapping other babies in the face (he's 9 months! Come on!) and realized I didn't have a leg to stand on, but then I realized, none of us do.

I am so glad that I finally finished with that phase.  And too bad for Milo...it's a comin'.

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