I rarely go into the school yard any more. Haven’t for a couple of years. The two older kids are “too old” for mom to hang around with the other moms in the yard. “Too old” to be seen hugging and kissing me.
I have carefully respected these feelings. When I walk them to school, I stop at the crossing guard, watch them across the street, then continue on my walk. We created a signal (fist bump and hand clap) to represent hug and kiss.
The two weeks though, the street their school is on has been plagued by heavy construction as curbs are replaced and parts are resurfaced so we have been taking an alternate route to school. It leads me though away from the lake where I like to walk our dog and baby each morning. So I have been walking around the back of the school yard to a bike path on the other side which gets me around the construction and out to my typical walking area.
Walking through that yard brings back quite a bit of nostalgia. Watching the little kids in Kindergarten, the slightly bigger kids lining up to go into the primary grades, the hovering parents standing in clumps waiting to make sure their little one gets into the school safely.
I don’t know why it causes so much nostalgia, I mean I know I’ll be back there again in a few short years. But by then the older two will both be in high school (even the thought of that takes my breath away– weren’t they just in kindergarten yesterday?)
Yesterday morning we were running a little later than usual and I barely got a chance to fist bump them as they ran to get in the doors. A mom walking back up towards the street looked at me, indicated my eldest and said “He’s yours?”
“Yes.” I said a bit warily, dreading what I was about to hear.
“I just wanted to tell you that your son is amazing. I know he’s had a rough year and that no one has said that to you. But he’s really great.”
I think I said “Thank you.” I certainly hope I did. Who was this woman? And what has she done with the typical way people avoid talking about him.
We ended up chatting for about twenty minutes or so. It turns out that she is a lunch supervisor and has gotten to know my son that way.
What she doesn’t know is that those lunch hours when she chatted with him, that she was providing much needed social interaction for him. The kind that many parents avoid with him. The kind that you can’t force people to do.
When I told my son about her and her compliment, he got a HUGE smile and said “She’s nice. I like her.”
And for me? That woman showed me that even in the wrong school, the right people can still be there. That someone saw our son for who he really is. Not for what his challenges are.
She made my day. No. She just made the rough year fade back a bit. And for that I am grateful.