My Aunt D was in town this weekend. On Monday, Jonny and I took the babies over to George and Leila's house for a cookout to hang out and eat and see her again before she returned to Connecticut. It was a very lovely, mellow day. A nice way to spend Memorial Day.
While we were hanging out in their living room, I heard William, my nephew, yell from the other room:
No, Blue, go away! I don't want to play with you!
I immediately ran to find her, walking toward me, looking a little dazed. William is only 5 and he wanted to play with his older cousins. I can't be mad at a little kid, right? Right?
But I was. I was furious. How dare anyone yell at my girl like that? Especially William. Blue adores William.
I sat her down on the couch and gave her a pecan tart and told her that sometimes people act mean, but that they don't mean to hurt our feelings blah blah blah. But inside I was so angry. And my heart felt like it had a great big crack in it.
And in case you are going to say, Don't worry about Blue, Erin. That happened on Monday; I'm sure she's forgotten all about it by now, let me tell you, Nope. My Blue doesn't "just forget" anything. She was on the phone with my mom yesterday and she gave her an earful! "Willum was mean to me. I can't want to play with him."
On the way home from George and Leila's, I told Jonathan, This is going to be really awful, isn't it? We are going to have to stand by while our children's feelings get stomped on sometimes. Because kids are really crappy to each other sometimes. Childhood is hard.
I've never really thought about it before, but somebody's kid has to be the one who misses the pop fly and loses the whole game. I guess every parent sitting on the sidelines is praying the whole game that it isn't their child who screws up. Reminds me of that scene in the movie "Parenthood" when the ball is heading right to Steve Martin's son and he's watching helplessly, gritting his teeth, saying "Oh, shit! Oh, shit!"
Reminds me of this poem from Spoon River Anthology that I had to memorize for my high school drama class:
DUST of my dust,
And dust with my dust,
O, child who died as you entered the world,
Dead with my death!
Not knowing Breath, though you tried so hard,
With a heart that beat when you lived with me,
And stopped when you left me for Life.
It is well, my child. For you never traveled
The long, long way that begins with school days,
When little fingers blur under the tears
That fall on the crooked letters.
And the earliest wound, when a little mate
Leaves you alone for another;
And sickness, and the face of Fear by the bed;
The death of a father or mother;
Or shame for them, or poverty;
The maiden sorrow of school days ended;
And eyeless Nature that makes you drink
From the cup of Love, though you know it’s poisoned;
To whom would your flower-face have been lifted?
Botanist, weakling? Cry of what blood to yours?—
Pure or foul, for it makes no matter,
It’s blood that calls to our blood.
And then your children—oh, what might they be?
And what your sorrow? Child! Child!
Death is better than Life!
Spoon River Anthology is one of my favorite books. If you've never read it, it is basically a collection of poems about the occupants of the Spoon River Cemetery. Each poem is basically one person summing up their entire life in a poem--what they would say to you, about Life, if they had the chance. It's really an amazing book. If you've never read it, you should definitely check it out.