Dear Number 4,
I got a message from a friend of mine on Facebook this morning and it started off like this:
So I need to share an experience I had on Monday…
You are only eight years old now.
When you are older and have kids of your own, you will understand that receiving a message which begins like that can send your heart rate well into the triple digits.
It could be the start of a good message.
Or it could be a polite way of letting someone know that you really pissed them off.
So, I took a deep breath and continued reading:
When we got in the locker room after swim lessons, the younger age group swimmers were in various stages of getting ready. I saw that [Number 4] was one of them. They were being a little bit silly as one would expect and they happened to be stationed in the locker bay where we’d stored our stuff. I was conscious to not have [my 5-year-old son] drop his towel in front of all these girls so I discretely helped him get dressed. As he was standing in his boxer briefs, one of the girls, who I will refer to as Girl with Attitude (GWA), said hoping that he would hear (mind you he’s absolutely clueless) “Why is there a boy in the GIRL’S locker room? doesn’t he know it’s for girls?”.
I was a bit floored that this girl would start this conversation with me standing right there. She was clearly waiting for her friends to agree and keep the banter going.
As I was trying to figure out the best response and not go into protective mommy mode, [Number 4] spoke up, very matter-of-factly saying that he’s kind of young and probably hasn’t been in the boys room by himself. He probably doesn’t come here that often so he doesn’t know where to go.
That shut GWA up really quick and they moved onto something else.
Proof yet again, that you guys are raising your kids to be kind, respectful kids.
Number 4, I am so proud of you.
Tonight at the swim team banquet you got a whole bunch of awards for setting records and being a great swimmer.
And I think that is really awesome.
But I don’t think that is anywhere close to as awesome as what you did in the locker room for that little boy.
Thank you for standing up for the little guy. Literally and figuratively.
There are not a lot of people who do that. People who go against the grain.
People who stand up to jerks and bullies.
People who do the right thing, even if it’s not the popular thing to do. Especially not when surrounded by a bunch of your peers.
All the records and all the trophies in the world don’t mean anything if you aren’t a good person.
You know, sometimes you wear me down.
Sometimes you are loud and crazy and maybe even a little out-of-control.
And I know sometimes I might lose my patience with you.
In those times, I am going to do my best to remember this message I received today. And have a little more patience.
Because you are a pretty special girl.
And I am really, really, really lucky that I am the person who gets to be your mom.