A good bad dream
Life with a rokc str

Sidelined

It was evening and I was cycling boys through the bath. Raphael had just gotten out of the tub and was in the process of meditating next to his jammies. It takes longer for that boy to get dressed than for the process of erosion to create major land forms, I swear. Max was shucking his clothing (everywhere) and heading for the bath, when Tre came stomping in through the garage.

“MAX! Come out here!” he bellowed.

“He’s in the bath,” I replied, “what do you need?”

He gestured at a small knot of kids standing in the street in front of our house.

“There’s a girl out there who doesn’t believe I’m ten. I want Max to come tell her I am.”

“Want me to tell her?”

He looked at me with alarm.

“NO! I mean, that’s ok.” He ran back out the front, slamming the screen door (again). I stood to the side of the door, where I couldn’t be seen, and watched.

Tre is short. He is, after all, my son. I am almost 5’2”. His biological dad is 5’7” – and he’s the tallest person in his family. Tre falls in the 5th to 10th percentile on those brutal height charts. He always has, and I suspect he always will. And that’s ok, because there are lots of wonderful people down here, close to the ground. There’s plenty of oxygen where we are, you know. If the room is filling with smoke.

Ok, so I’m anxious for him. I don’t want him to hurt, ever. And I suspect this is going to be one of those things, the facts of his life that he smacks up against.

I stood there, looking out through the crack between the door and the frame. Silly me, offering to go talk to actual kids around him. He’d rather they think he’s younger than ten than to know he has a mother. He walked up to the group, swaggered with the tough-kid strut he’s taken on recently. I couldn’t hear what was said, but I saw the girls laugh and turn away.

Girls suck.

I remember how mean we can be.

There was another boy in the group, and I saw him and Tre share a shrug. They turned and walked off in the other direction. What can I do, I thought, to help here? How can I make this easier? What can I say?

Nothing.

There’s nothing I can do. I watched Tre saunter through the late afternoon stripes of sun and shade. I couldn’t tell if it bothered him or not, and I knew he wouldn’t tell me if it did. He seems to have handled those girls fine anyhow. I sighed and leaned against the wall. I know I have to let him figure out this stuff on his own, but the truth is he’s not really on his own. I’m still here, quietly watching, anticipating his hurt.

I just can’t do anything to help.

Comments

wendy

Could you come be my mom? Could you come tell all of the people who are trying to hurt me whatever it is that they need telling off for? please?

Carmen

My oldest son is short as well. It sucks for him, almost every single person in the eighth grade is taller. His pediatrician made the mistake of telling him that his growth spurt was SURE to come LAST year - obviously, we are still waiting. His dad didn't grow until college, so I'm certain he has a while to grow.

Michelle

I'm not quite 5ft myself, and I can promise that there are lots of cute girls who anxious to meet a boy who's head is closer than the ceiling. I remember being 10 - mean, cliquey and downright rude. I hope Tre's feelings weren't hurt too much.

And hey - the air down here is definitely cleaner and fresher!

Mir

You can do plenty to help, and you do--every day. Tre will be fine. :)

Tracy

I wish I could fix everything. I loved being supermom - but that's only for toddlers and preschoolers and then they say - nope. I'll take care of it, since mom helping would be a fate worse than anything else... unless we're in private and then I'm still super, though I don't know what to do usually, at least inside.

but I wish I could know.

Aimee

What you're doing *is* helping. Trust me on this. My husband is 5'6", but didn't have parents who made him feel like it was okay to be the shortest person in his class. You're there for Tre, and that means everything.

Susan

Hey! Worse than being the short boy? Try being the tall girl.

Susan

P.S. And why is it that all the tall boys ask the puny girls out, and the short boys think the tall girls are goddesses? There out to be a law.

wendy

P.S. I second the motion for a law about tall men and short women. It's criminal. I always want to pass out stickers, except instead of them reading "pick on someone your own size" they should say "date someone your own size". *sigh* The world, she is not fair.

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