And by “you,” I of course mean “the mamas.”
The other day I picked up Little Bug from daycare and though I’m used to getting the occasional injury report, I was not accustomed to what happened on Friday.
One of her teachers came up to me and explained that Lucie was playing with a classmate and got upset. No big deal, right? She went on to tell me that she reached out and scratched her friend on the face. Her teacher made an eagle claw to illustrate. And that Lucie didn’t let go until teachers intervened.
My mind swam in several different directions at once. Ohmigosh, is her friend okay? Yes. Is Lucie okay? Yes. Where did she learn that? Do we allow that to happen at home? Was that the first time that happened? Is our kid a bad seed? Who knows, we don’t think so, who knows and probably not.
Then I was presented with a white incident report. I stared at the paper. I’ve received these before when Lucie falls of chairs or runs into things on the playground or gets hurt by other classmates. I literally asked the teacher “what is this for?”
“You have to sign it,” she replied.
I started to read it carefully. The description of the incident, the action taken by the instructors, the disclaimer at the bottom about the facility’s policies and emergency medical program (?). I don’t like getting in trouble. This felt like getting in trouble.
When we walked out of daycare, I was not overly thrilled with what I had learned. Lucie did not seem to remember it, and was probably baffled as to my demeanor shift. She was actually really happy and it was a weird space to be in, being grumpy with my kid for something I was told she did hours ago. Welcome to parenthood, I guess.
And I know this will not be the last of the episodes. If karma even half exists, I know this will not be the worst of the episodes, either. Plus, it does not even count the myriad of minute instances that will fly under my radar, that I can only hope work out for the best.
No parent wants their kid to be picked upon. But these particular parents (yes, the mamas!) also don’t want a bully on their hands. Unfortunately, our world seems to be split into that dichotomy, and it’s an age-old problem. Bible stories, the construction of empires, even modern day politics are rife with the pickers and the picked upon. This is inevitable, and though we want to raise a kind and gentle kid, does that mean she will always end up as the last in line? If she chooses advocacy over status quo, will that relegate her to the outskirts? Will it make her a target if she stands up for someone or speaks out against an injustice? This isn’t the movies, and real heroes don’t always come out unscathed.
The list of things that brings me to tears is very short. The Olympics. Deaths of those who are close to me. Pixar movies. Now, I’ve got a new one. I am at my keyboard, trying to hold it together as I realize that my kid is going to grow up in a harsh, harsh world. Her first two years on earth were marked with such senseless violence around the globe–things that we’ve so quickly become accustomed to like shootings and attacks and retaliations and lone wolves and exclusion and hate speech and Tweets and assaults and shootings and shootings and shootings.
I want Lucie to be a good citizen. A helpful person. A good friend not only to those who she chooses, but also to those who no one else chooses. I just don’t know if she can do that and still be happy and safe and strong and without scars.
So I brought home the incident report and we decided to keep it. Partly as a joke– maybe something we’ll look at decades from now with fondness and laughter. But we also kept it, I think, as a reminder to teach her to love first, love fast, love last. And then, perhaps, her heart will guide her accordingly through this world.