You guys. Something happened today. Something that just thinking about makes my stomach ball up into a knot, my heart beat a little quicker. Something that, while today was really the first time, is far from being the last.
Someone. A stranger. Was unkind to my child.
It honestly wasn't a big deal. (I'll preface the story by saying that Dex is in a big Wall-E phase right now) We were getting some foam egg shapes so he could create more EVEs. (He already had six, had turned an egg carton into a space ship for them, so obviously needed six more so it could be full) He was up at the counter, gave the cashier his purchase and- as he does- was going on and on about EVE and Wall-E and the foam shapes and the movie and exactly how he was going to draw on the foam and how they didn't have the right size to make a foam Wall-E and... you get the picture. It's hard to imagine he gets enough air in with all the talking sometimes, and she looks right at him and says
"You know I'm not listening, right?"
And my heart stopped. Because- no, he had no freaking clue that she wasn't listening because he was in his own world, but that's NOT the point. Who says that to a four year old? I'm not asking her to listen to him... but in my book, there is zero reason to be unkind to a small child. This time he didn't hear her, but maybe next time he will.
And I'm terrified that he'll want to change a part of himself to fit into her idea of how he should be. And I can't protect him. And while I know this is a pretty big overreaction, especially considering that he didn't even realize anything happened... it makes my heart hurt to know that this is only the beginning of me not being able to protect him.
My boy that when I heard her say that, my only reaction was to get him far away. So I asked him to help me with the store door. And he did. And then he insisted on waiting and holding it open for his dad, too. My boy that when his sister was fussing in the car, put her pacifier in her mouth, and when that didn't work held her hand. And I didn't even know he was doing anything until he said "This silly baby is crying with her binky in her mouth. But she does like holding my hand."
My boy that is far from picture perfect, but is perfect in my eyes. Just the way he is.
I have fears every day about the future and if I'm doing enough to prepare him. I stay up nights thinking about tools I can give him to be successful. He's four.
Because yes, he's four. But the life that I can't protect him from is already showing itself. And I know that I have a lifetime left of alongside all of the wonderful glorious moments, watching my child struggle and get hurt. And even though that's life- I'm not looking forward to it.