My youngest is six years old.
Children are a wonder. She was born wonderful. All sentient parents in a position to appreciate life, not just live it because of the brutal conditions associated with survival, will always say that of their newborn. Hell. maybe even then, I suppose..even in that situation. ...Yes.. born... plump, whole, healthy with no complications.
Ohh I worried before and during the birth, though I had been through this twice. I worried about my love..my wife..my partner.Would she be fine and able to endure the pain once again? Would these doctors, assisting my pediatrician, whom seemed so disinterested, in my wife and baby need me to explain the importance of this event?
My other two children were they alright and would they be able to accept another child into their life?
Would this miracle occur?
Funny..not once ..did I worry about me..This is an unusual statement at least for me. I normally think about a situation and attempt to discover my place in it. Not this time...Not once...
As mentioned she was born wonderful.
Do not misunderstand.
If for some reason ,Thank God for her health and wholeness, but, if some reason she had not been born whole or healthy, I could not have loved her any less. I know this for a fact. I do not think this as conjecture. You want your child whole and healthy for THEM..not you. If they are not, they are dependent on you as a help and a crutch as least for a time. Yes, for a time, because for the most part ..the children that are dependent ..if they are physically and mentally able, grow to a point of independence,.. that crushes us....It is the way of the world.
Some weeks earlier my three children and my wife and I travelled to a friend's house for a cookout. My other two children have grown like trees and have lost the true need of interdependence..They being girls naturally look to their mother for much..
But my youngest, my six year old, still, sees the total wonder that is life..She still looks to her parents for much. We...,I,..Lord help me ..We're showing her how to navigate the world without us..,without me..It's not conscious it's what you do, if you truly love someone,.... someone, that you've help bring into the world. It's done because it must be done..
While at this picnic my strong and mercurial youngest is playing with others in her age group. A decent mix of boys and girls and one ..a three year old, I think, that has a bit to go before she is allowed to wander more than eyesight's distance away ...yes,... even in this trusted setting....I am both relieved, that this time has passed me,.. and yet...envy the parents.
I hear my youngest cry and she runs to me. She was playing on the side of the house and had declared to a little boy of six, seven or eight, "Let's fight"...
To her this phrase means nothing. In her school, boys and girls pretend to fight...pretend to be aggressive..They are taught here, to strike someone is NOT ALLOWED. They are brought up in a soft protected environment, that was not mine.Where I grew to maturity "Let's fight" was a precursor to pain and tears or worse.
This little boy ...must have grown up,... in the same environment.
He hit her...not in the body ..but in the face. Now, now, stem the outrage...This little boy is somewhere between six to eight, a child and smaller than my daughter. I realize even with children's lack of impulse control and the request for a fight from another, you might say, "WHY ,even if he acquiesced, why would he hit her in the face and not the body..and " , you, might continue, "did he, hit her very hard!?"
I reply, "I agree, he should not have hit her at all, but in his neighborhood this is most likely a learned response. He, has learned to defend himself. I suppose, it would be expected, that a body punch would be forthcoming, not one to the face, even in this circumstance, but that was not the case. Finally, yes he punched her hard." My wife, her mother, made these facts plain to the young man's mother, without benefit of empathy.
It's expected... she is a mother.
I as a father, wanted not only to comfort her, but also to know why she didn't hit this young man back and defend herself...
"What ..what you cry, strike the young man back. How in the world...."
Stop--Children fight ...Adults fight. Every option should be sought to avoid the situation and then before one allows a confrontation, more still should be tried..until ...they can no longer be tried. I am proud of anyone that can say, "I've never been in a fight in my life"...I can't join that chorus. I'm not proud of that fact. I also know that each fight was unavoidable, at least at the time..
As you grow, you realize that a fight that defends one's pride is fool's gold. But when someone else swings... well..the process has been engaged. One now attempts to get through it quickly with minimal damage to everyones' pride, psyche and physical body. Your body being of primary concern.
My daughter is tough..I thank all that is good for that. Thank goodness, they all are....She had a lump on the side of her head to the right and just below her right eye that should have dropped her. It seemed to shock and surprise her and as I imagine, she ran from the side of the house where she was "out of sight" of us directly to me. She cried a bit and we handled the administration part of it with the other parent. I then, handled the part that I thought my daughter already had in hand.
As a smaller child in kindergarten and Pre-K, my youngest never took any physical activity directed towards her lightly. It seems, these instincts had been removed. I proceeded to reinstall them. Her fighting stance was shown and proper movement to go with offense and defense. A warning that fighting is never the way, HOWEVER if struck, strike back quickly, efficiently and judiciously.
In minutes, after the mothers had a meeting of the minds and my instructions the children were playing again with no further incidents. Where had the boy learned such aggressive behavior? ..not the purpose of this blog. Should my daughter know better than to instigate a fight? ..absolutely..not the purpose of this blog..
My baby had needed me..Yet, I had begun immediately, instructing her how, that if in the future, should the exact same thing happen, without her ever prompting it, because that "LET'S FIGHT" is out of her vocabulary, how she could and should react. This includes getting whomever is in charge to handle the fallout, AFTER she had defended herself.
I thought, as she ran off and played-I'm putting myself out of a job...I had entered the eternal parental dichotomy... a time of happiness with hope for the future...and sadness with a wistfulness for the past.