I think I've cooled off now and found the love again, but I have to admit, about 3 hours ago, I was one mad momma!
To set the scene, here's a little background info... Tonight both boys had baseball games - Isaac at 6:00 and Sebastian at 7:00 (which he is required to be at 15 minutes early, which meant leaving Isaac's game by 6:35 to get to Sebastian's on time). Lucas was out of town today for work, so I was the only chauffeur available. Thankfully, Pastor Mark & Laura (whose son is also on Isaac's baseball team) offered to help out by bringing Isaac over to Sebastian's game after their game was finished. So... Sebastian, Meagan and I headed to Sebastian's game, dropped him off with his team, and then Meagan and I headed up to the front of the fields near the playground to wait on Isaac to get there. So far, no issues.
Isaac arrived sometime after 7:00, and since we were at the playground, he naturally wanted to stay and play there. Well, normally my answer is NO, but there was no one else there except for the people who were at Sebastian's game, and I had a clear visual from the playground to the game and back again. So I let Isaac and Meagan stay at the playground, and I went a little closer to the baseball game, standing somewhere in between for the most part, where I could see both the game and the playground pretty clearly. I could see that there were some other kids on the playground, but everyone seemed to be okay.
Well, as I was packing up our chair and gathering bats and mitts and water bottles, Meagan came running up to me crying and carrying on. At first I really thought she said Isaac had slapped her in the face. So we proceeded to the playground to get Isaac, only to find him there on the slide with no shoes. Well, one shoe happened to be lying on the ground just behind the slide, so I told him to get his shoes on. He said, "I can't because I don't know where they are." At this point I was feeling a little more than aggravated with him for taking his shoes off and not keeping track of them. But, I put all of our stuff down and helped him look. It wasn't long before I realized his other shoe really was nowhere to be found. By this point I was just frustrated.
"Isaac, why on earth did you take your shoes off and not keep track of them?" I ask/yelled.
"I didn't take them off. Someone else did."
Pause to process what he just told me. What? He went on to explain that some kid on the playground was being really mean to them. He stole both of Isaac's shoes from him and hid them or whatever. He also knocked Meagan's hat off of her and slapped her in the face (so it was him and not Isaac she was telling on earlier). I won't go into all of it, but over the course of the conversation, I found out that Meagan yelled at him and tried to fight back to get her hat back, and that Isaac tried to get his shoes back and hit the kid...apparently to no avail.
I'm not kidding you, everything in me was M.A.D. at that bully of a kid who thinks he is so much bigger now that he has managed to steal 1/2 of my child's only pair of tennis shoes. And what a big man he is for hitting a 4-year-old little girl.
What's the answer to that? I mean, we spend so much time teaching our kids not to take, not to hit, play nice, share. Then we tell them if someone hits you, hit them back? It sounds like such a contradiction. Still, I can't stand the idea of my child being hit and them not doing something to defend themselves. Or worse, seeing their brother or sister being hurt and simply standing by? What's the balance? AAAAAHHHHH! Where's the parenting handbook when you need it?! LOL!
So tomorrow we will go shoe shopping to replace a pair of tennis shoes. We had already had plans to exchange a pair of sandals for Sebastian at some point this week anyhow, so it may as well be tomorrow. I don't even know what else to say about it. I hate that my kids, at the ages of 4 and 6, have already encountered a bully. I hate that kids that young are already bullying. I hate that I was watching it happen and didn't realize it. I hate that I failed to protect them. I hate that there will come a point when I will no longer be able to protect them.
But I love that God is in control, and I can trust Him with my kids far more than I can even trust myself. And I'm thankful that He kept them safe, and that they each learned something from this, as did I. I'm also thankful that we can afford to replace his shoes without putting a financial strain on our family. I guess it's life experiences, good or bad, that help us learn how to navigate through life. So while I was mad at the time (and probably could be again if I let myself), I am grateful that nothing too bad came of it and we've each learned and grown from it a bit.