I'm finding that one of the hardest parts of watching my kids grow up is learning to handle the everyday heartaches that THEY must endure. Not major heartbreaks, just little splinters that naturally come along when you are just beginning to make friends for the first time and every year seems to present a new social rule that no one clued you into.
Today I drove Ace and his 2 carpool buddies to school and we stopped at the park for a picnic. The park is called Armstrong Kelly park so Ace was telling his friends where we were headed. His speech delay is all but unnoticeable now but he has problems that many four year olds do with certain letter sounds. He kept pronouncing "Kelly" "Kerry" and his friend was correcting him. His friend certainly didn't intend to hurt Ace's feelings and I can't even be sure that Ace was hurt but as I looked in the rearview mirror and saw him struggling to get the word right, I gave him a little smile and wink and asked everyone what was in their lunchbox to change the subject. A few minutes later, Ace said "Some people are very strong. And some people know how to say a lot of words" And there was the little splinter. I fought back tears for him and dropped the boys off at school and went on with the day.
Later, when I went to pick him up, the teacher stopped me. She told me that Ace had bitten his friend on the playground (not the same friend from the carpool so I don't think it was related to what happened in the car). He had not bitten hard, and it seems to be that they just got carried away with a game and Ace took it a little too far. The teacher was worried that Ace had taken the incident too hard, because he had spent the rest of recess hiding under the slide crying and had kept talking about it with the boy he had bitten. I had him apologize again and talked to the mother, apologizing to her and making sure she knew that Ace was sorry. I talked a little about it with Ace in the car but let the subject drop after I saw his face, he was still fighting back tears and I could tell nothing I could say could make him feel any worse than he already did. Another splinter.
Julia had a cough this morning and missed school, she watched everyone leave and thought we were leaving because she hadn't gotten her shoes on fast enough, she was rushing and when I told her it was okay, she should lay down and watch cartoons until she felt all better, her little lip was quivering and her eyes were watery. Andy took Hayley to school so I could fix her a special breakfast and cuddle her. But still, another splinter.
I don't know if anything hurts worse than watching your child hurt and not knowing what to say or do to make it better. I know all these little daily hurts are no big deal and I do count our blessings. But it all piled up on me today and I am having a hard time brushing it off. I think it is because Lucy and I leave for 2 days on Saturday and I'm just going to miss the big kids so darn much. Because the one thing that is worse than being there to see your child hurt, it is not being there and wondering if they are hurting and if they need you and miss you as much as you need and miss them.
Ace is in my bed now, with his firefighting gear. I went in to tuck him in and told him how cool his new haircut is. I asked if he had a good day and he said yes. But that some things were bad, like biting. We talked about how everyone knows he is sorry and his friend isn't mad anymore so they can play more next week at school. Those little splinters will heal and tomorrow can be better than today.
And in other Ace related news, he is still a sleep talker. Around 5 am I was just getting to sleep after Lucy and Julia had finally fallen back to sleep when I heard this from a sound asleep Ace: "That's not a pirate ship. I don't know why there is a cat on the firetruck." I laughed myself to sleep.