My husband has a theory about why, statistically, women suffer more than men from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and other post-summer depressive symptoms. He believes that as the days get shorter, men benefit from the healing light that emanates from the television during Monday Night Football. Perhaps this is a biological phenomenon that needs to be investigated. Do the producers of Monday Night Football somehow integrate a healthy level of vitamin D into the bright flashes of white uniforms streaking down a seemingly luminescent football field? And if so, could that same level of vitamin D begin streaming out of the television during soap operas? Specifically, All My Children?
Some women revel in summer’s end because it means that they can once again neatly pack up their children and send them off to school. I’m not quite there yet. This year was better than last; Caleb adjusted to school quickly and I haven’t cried and moaned about the fleeting nature of youth while quoting scripture from Ecclesiastes. (Caleb hates when I do that.)
Caleb didn’t come home after his first day completely exhausted and whiny, but rather ravenous for a snack and wearing a bright yellow bracelet his teacher had given him and all of his classmates. He told me the bracelet was to remind him of a promise he made.
“What promise?” I asked
“I don’t remember. But I have to wear this bracelet for the rest of my life.” And then he solemnly proceeded to eat his sliced apple with peanut butter, so I knew that he took this promise, whatever it was, very seriously.
The third day of school, Caleb came off the bus and into the house and immediately began walking from room to room murmuring to himself. I asked him what he was doing.
“I need to find a toy. I need to find a toy,” he kept repeating. I asked him why. “I need to give it to S___.” (S___ is a boy on his bus I had believed to be his friend.) This seemed odd and also like a very bad precedent.
“Um, no,” I said. “We don’t just give away our toys to friends.” And then, the tears started rolling down Caleb’s face.
“But I have to! S___ told me I have three days to get him a toy or he will give me two black eyes and a bloody nose.” (Sobs.)
I was quiet. And angry. And let me tell you this…
Hell hath no fury like a mother who has learned her six-year old is being extorted.
Worry not, the story has a happy ending. My initial scheme of stalking S__ the seven-year old and threatening him with jail-time never did come to fruition. I truly believe, however, that I could get a lawyer who could find a way to put this seven-year old tormentor into a high-security juvenile facility. For life.
We told Caleb that this boy was certainly NOT going to hurt him because we would never let that happen, but that he needed to stand his ground and show this boy that he could not be bullied. For I know that as soon as you show a bully ONE sign of weakness, you are screwed, possibly for the rest of your life. I learned this in seventh-grade gym class. (The story behind that statement involves pitiful sniveling, a sore ankle, and remains the reason I have never warmed up to the sport of hockey.)
Yesterday, Caleb came home and nonchalantly told me that S___ had “just been kidding” and had never intended to give Caleb two black eyes and a bloody nose. Then Caleb asked if S___ could come over and play next weekend. I still don’t know how I feel about that.
That afternoon, Caleb used his words, a stern voice, and “intense eyes” to communicate to S___ his displeasure at being threatened. And it worked. And I’m so very proud of him.