"Um, mom....is there any way you can bring me a new shirt to school?"
OK, not to sound selfish or anything, but that's a huge request. Number one, I'm already AT the grocery store and Baby Girl has already taken OFF her seat belt. Number two, as mentioned above, I'm very strict with my grocery shopping schedule. The kids watch at our store opens at 11:00, so I'm usually there no later than 11:05. Number three, the middle school is all the way across town and takes ten minutes, with traffic. (Yes, that school wanted my boys to walk home, due to budget cuts, because 2.1 miles was right on the borderline of requiring bussing. Jerks.) Number four, and most importantly, this hiccup in my schedule means I'm not eating lunch until 1:00 and Baby Girl gets a late nap.
"Do you really need it right now?" All of the above reasons are playing out in my mind and I'm irritated about whatever the event was that caused him to ask for a new shirt.
"Well, yeah, I can't exactly wear this one...it's almost ripped in half." (Slight nervous laughter.)
"What happened?" (I guess now would be a good time to inquire about the safety of my firstborn.
"Um, some kid got mad and tackled me and ripped my shirt." (More of the nervousness.)
"Lovely. I'll be there as soon as I can."
Back in the car, carseat buckled again, and back home. I can't even begin to describe to you the monstrosity that was my sons' closet. The pile of crap on the floor could have housed a family of raccoons or easily hidden two small orphans. I was nervous to approach it without one of these on:
I eventually found a shirt, which needed ironed, and set off toward the school. I called Hubby on the way to attempt to fill him in on what I knew. "I'm mad!" I told him. "I'm not sure at whom, but I'm mad at someone!"
I finally made it to the school, holding a pressed shirt and Baby Girl hand, and walked in to see my son sitting in the office. When he stood, I could see that his nice American Eagle shirt was ripped from nipple to hip. There were red scratches all over the side of his stomach.
"What in the world happened?" My anger at the unidentified person was growing into rage.
"We were playing basketball outside. There were like 80 people and only 10 balls. This one kid was just standing there holding a ball, not moving. I hit it out of his hand to take a shot. He screamed, "I'm gonna 'F' you up!" and tackled me. He scratched and clawed at me with his nails.
My eyes grew wide and my jaw dropped open. Never before has a child of mine been involved in any physical altercation. "What did you do?!?"
"I was shocked! I just layed there, staring at him. He just took the ball and walked away."
At that point, the secretary, who knows me well, called my name. I walked to her desk with a look of surprise on my face. She explained that she was attempting to contact the assistant principal, whose line was busy. "This needs to be reported," she said. "That's ridiculous!" My boy is known as a good kid. He's honest, gets straight As, and is well liked by all the staff.
Because of the aforementioned reasons, I chose not to hang around. #1 is 14 now and able to handle himself in an adult conversation.
When he got home, he said that the assistant principal had him write down the story on paper. I asked if he included the part about hitting the ball away from the kid. He did.
I got a phone call the next day from this principal who asked the value of the shirt that was ruined. He said he spoke to the other parents and explained that they should cover the cost of that shirt.
"Don't worry about it," I said. I try to teach my children to be the bigger person, to turn the other cheek, and forgive others when they've been wronged." That was difficult to say because I really wanted to say, "THEY SURE BETTER BUY HIM A NEW SHIRT! PUNK KID!" Instead, I held my tongue. The principal was impressed and said he would let the other family know. He told me disciplinary action had been taken, but he couldn't discuss it with me.
I was no longer mad. I'm not even sure why. I think it was one of those love, joy, peace, longsuffering things, or something. I felt good after I hung up. Hopefully, that kid will realize that my boy is a cool, stand-up guy. He won't be labeled as a wimp, a tattletale, or a goody two-shoes and that kid shouldn't be out to "get him". I'm thankful the event wasn't worse that in was, that #1 didn't get seriously injured, and that he wasn't the cause of the problem.
That's my little ray of sunshine for the day!