Today I pulled all of the clothes out of the bags from our vacation and laid them into piles so the kids could put them away.
“I’m never wearing that shirt again,” I heard Daniel say from the couch above me.
“This one?” I asked, as I motioned toward a blue patterned button up dress shirt with a collar and short sleeves.
“Yes, that one,” he replied.
“Well,” he started, and kind of hesitated for a bit. “When we were at the Y in Winnipeg, there was this boy in the bathroom that was with his friend, and he said, ‘If you had that haircut and those glasses and you wore that shirt, I would call you a nerd.’”
I looked at him with my eyes wide. “He said that to you???”
“Not to me, but behind me.”
“And he was talking about you?”
“What did you say?” I asked eagerly, as this whole scenario has totally caught me off guard.
“Nothing. I washed my hands and I left.”
“How old were these kids?” The questions were swirling, swirling in my head, and my mouth was trying to pick the right ones to allow through.
“My age,” Daniel replied.
I turned to Josh. “Were you there too?”
“Yes,” Josh said quietly.
“Did you say anything?” I prodded, still in shock that kids could be so mean to other kids that they didn’t even know.
“No. But I gave them the death glare on our way out the door.”
Oh, my Josh.
I told Daniel that he can wear that shirt all he wants, and that he should, because he looks great in it. I assured him that kids around here don’t really care about each others’ clothes. I didn’t realize until now though, that he won’t be going to school with “kids around here” anymore.
And how my heart breaks at the realization that he is entering junior high school, and kids are so so mean, and everything matters there. All I can do is pray every day that his experience is nothing like his father’s and better than mine, and that he finds at least one good, close friend there, so they can walk together through all that is to come.