I can't sleep. I just keep seeing it in my head and it makes me sad.
Two six-year-old boys are playing. My six year old all on his own, gathers his courage and says, "Hey guys, can I play too?" And one of the other boys looks at him and says, "No." And Caleb turns to me. His face crumples and he is trying so hard not to cry. And in that moment, so am I. I was so proud of him, the way he didn't ask me for help and just all on his own asked to play. And all to be rejected. I want to cry with him. I want to grab that boy's mom and say, "Hey! Did you not see what your son just did?" But I can't, and I shouldn't, and I don't. I just grab my son for a quick hug. And I whisper in his ear, "It's ok. You're ok. That wasn't kind or loving, but you need to remember how you feel right now. Remember this when someone else asks to play with you. Remember this when your brothers want to play with you. You don't want to make anyone else feel this way. Now, let's us go have some fun." And we did. And he IS ok. And we talked more tonight. And he's six and not scarred for life. But still, I can't sleep.
I am not sure there is anything harder that seeing your child hurting. And somehow emotional pain like this, versus physical, seems so much harder to bear. All I can think about is how this is just the beginning. There will be more friends who are mean him. More rejection. There may be a girl who breaks his heart. People can be cruel. Or sometimes, just unaware. And it doesn't feel good. And I know I can't protect my kids from things like this. And I know in the grand scheme of things this isn't really that bad. I just want to do the best I can with situations like this.
How can I teach my kids how to be kind to others? How do I help them cope when people aren't kind to them? How can I show them how to view all of this in light of the Gospel? How can I use situations like this one to point my kids to Christ? How does this teach me more about who I am in Christ? I want Caleb to know these things. I want him to be compassionate and empathetic. I want him to be aware of those around him and how they feel. I want him to know his worth lies not in how many friends he has or who wants to be with him, but in the cross of Christ.
I guess if I want him to know these things, he has to grow. And sometimes, growing hurts. But God takes the ugly and makes it beautiful. It's what He does. He makes beauty from ashes. He takes the broken and makes it new. Maybe that's what He will do with what happened today to my son. And maybe that makes it hurt just a little less, because in the end that makes it pretty great. And maybe, just maybe, if I can remember all of this I can be thankful for today. I can call it grace. And I can watch as God uses it to make my son more like His son. And if all of that is true, and I confident that it is, then maybe now I can sleep.