Saturday morning we packed a lunch, some sand toys, a big blankie and ourselves and headed to the park for a play date with friends. It had been a gorgeous week weather wise, but that day it was cold and windy. I should have taken the hint from Mother Nature and just stayed home.
Anyways, we found a patch of grass to post up for the afternoon and the kids hit the playground. Sara and I chatted about whatever, pushed Sofia on the swing, and watched Danni and Gavin play with two new friends. Now these boys were probably seven, so we called our babes over to give them the "if those boys aren't nice boys, you do not have to play with them speech". I reminded Gavin to use his manners and introduce himself to knew kids and play like a gentlemen. It wasn't long before I noticed that these boys did not receive the same speech from their mama. I sat back and watched them play, trying not to hover, but still fully aware of what was going on. At one point Danni had skipped away and Gavin was left with the two big boys by himself at the top of the play set. It was as if a button was pushed in my brain, my Mommy alarm was going off and I needed to listen. So I got up and made my way around the play set where the big boys I guess couldn't see me. I heard them mumbling something low, and I walked up and asked what was going on. Gavin looked at me with the most confused face. I started to panic.
"What is going on ? " I demanded
" Umm.... he said a bad word" said one of the boys, pointing to Gavin.
"Really, what word is that? He has never heard a bad word" I could feel my head getting hot and my hands start to tremble. The boys looked like they had seen a ghost.
"He said the F word" the boy said.
"He said what? He has never heard that word in his life. We DO NOT use that language and you are not allowed to play with our kids anymore if you choose to!" By now I am in full mom attack mode.
I had lost any cool I thought I once had. The boys bolted off the play set and I told Gavin to go sit on our blanket and wait for me. Of coarse, because I was acting like a crazy person, he started to cry. I asked him what had happened and he couldn't catch his breath. I reassured him that he wasn't in trouble, but he needed to tell me what happened.
And then it happened. The single most upsetting thing that has happened to me as a parent so far. He said that he was pretending he was a soldier and the boys told him if he didn't stop they were going to "F him up", but they used the real word. And then they told him to say it back in order to pass by.
There I was, holding my three year old baby, listening to that foul word coming out of his mouth, and all I could do was cry.
I felt violated.
These little boys and their vulgar mouths had invaded our lives. My sweet son's innocence had been compromised and poisoned with filth and ugliness. Where were their parents. Why did they think that language like that was acceptable and why were they saying it to a three year old?
Every day I wake up and try to make the world safe for my children. I try and teach them what is right and what is wrong. I teach them to live a life of respect and love. This may all sound over dramatic, but in that instance, I felt for the first time that no matter how hard I try, sometimes the world is ugly and mean, and no matter how hard I try, sometimes I won't be able to protect them from it. And that feeling is devastating.
my heart was broken.
The boys had disappeared, and all I wanted was to get my babies home and away. I packed everything up faster than humanly possible and cried the whole way home. For the rest day my heart was heavy. That night I when I went to bed, Steve asked if I was ok, and I just sobbed. I was so upset about this. I was angry at those boys parents for not teaching their children better. I was angry that they had taken my son's pure innocent world and muddied up with words of hate. I felt helpless. Something happened to my child that I had no control over, and it felt unbelievably devastating.
The only peace I have is that I know we have raised good, smart, compassionate children with good hearts. But I still can't shake this feeling I have. The world has many faces. Some beautiful, and some nasty and cruel. It is my job to make sure my babes are prepared to face all of them. It is my job to teach them to make good decisions. It is my job to love them and make them feel safe. I may not have been able to stop what happened that day, and I know that there will many more things in their lifetime that I won't be able to control, but I wake up everyday and try with every ounce of my being to protect them and teach them to be good people and make good decisions.
Either that or I will hide in their back packs until they're thirty and kick anyones butt that messes with my kids.
I love you to your bones my sweet babes.