I have come to realize that I am a delayed feeler. I say goodbye to loved ones at the airport and am dry-eyed. I am solid as nails if one of my kids gets hurt and needs medical attention. I didn't even get a lump in my throat watching Schindler's List. But late at night, when my body and mind are still and I try to sleep, the emotions come and the tears start.
I'm having one of those nights.
It started so happily. Sam had a soccer game and he and Jack were running toward the field. Feelings of pride washed over me as I saw Sam slowing his pace so he and Jack could run at the same speed. When they joined Sam's teem members, I was so pleased to see that Jack was part of the crowd. I don't think I had turned away for more than a moment or two when I realized that something had gone wrong. I realized it at the same moment as two other parents who came rushing toward the group of boys who were tormenting Jack.
Jack was at the bottom of a pile of about 5 boys. A tall boy caught my eye as he was running to take advantage of a little kid being down. They had removed his shoes and were laughing at him and pointing and just being really mean spirited. Jack was lying on side, trying to wiggle away, calling for me. They were trying to keep him down.
It all happened so quickly, I don't really remember the specifics but I do know that what was once a group of boys having fun turned on a dime and quickly became a group of boys taking advantage of the little kid in the group.
I was furious. Oh, was I furious. I practically threw the kids away from him as I yelled (in a really deep, angry, gutteral voice that I barely even recognized as my own as it was coming out of my mouth) at them to get off. I don't recall what I said other than screaming at Sam to sit down on the side of the field. Of course all of the boys stared at me with wide eyes, one daring enough to say, "I didn't do anything."
I picked Jack up, he buried his head in my shoulder and cried in my arms for a good 15 minutes. He kept saying "I want to go home. I want to go home."
Now that the house is quiet and I should be sleeping, I can't keep the scene from playing over and over in my mind. Once Jack calmed down, he was fine and happy and he certainly seems to have no lingering ill effects.
Children are so resilient. But my heart broke today. And now I can't sleep.