I’m early with this blog-hop post—it’s actually the prompt two weeks from now. But I’ve been thinking about it for a while, because I really didn’t have anyone who was pissing me off. What would I write about, I wondered? Oh, but today the perfect opportunity presented itself, so I’m going to go ahead and write my open letter to the mother who pissed me off.
Dear Mother of the Little Girl at My Son’s Day Camp,
Your ambush today—well, that was pretty unnecessary. And your frosty attitude toward me? Pretty unnecessary, too. And dragging your clearly mortified six-year-old daughter into it? Um…very unnecessary.
I’m well aware that my son kissed your daughter at camp last week. The camp director brought it to my attention and said that your husband was upset about it. The director shrugged it off and said, “It was completely innocent, but we do have a rule here about no kissing, and her father was upset, so…”
I assured her that I understood and would talk to my son about it. And I did. I asked him why he kissed your daughter, and he replied thoughtfully, “Well…I love her.” And in his six-year-old mind and heart, I believe he does. He talks about her a lot and has even said he’s going to marry her. Of course, he’s also going to marry his best friend, his little brother, another girl at school, and countless other people. Because he’s six, and when you’re six and you really, really like someone, you feel like you love them. And when you love someone, you marry them, right?
And you know what else you do? You show affection. Which is what he did when he kissed your daughter on the cheek.
So I talked to him and said that I’m glad he loves your daughter, but he needs to just express it with words, because kissing isn’t allowed at camp or school. I talked to him because I do understand the camp rules. I understand they’re there for a reason, and I understand they need to be followed. Heck, I even agree with them. Kids need to learn about proper boundaries, and I get that.
But what I don’t get is turning something innocent and even sweet (is there a better reason for kissing than being in love?! Not in my book…) into something bad, and something to be shamed for.
Today, we arrived at camp at the same time. Your daughter caught sight of my son, ran up to him, and yelled his name happily. He shyly said hi, and she grabbed his hand and pulled him off to the playground. I watched them running together, hand in hand, and was touched by the sweetness of it.
You, on the other hand, were clearly not touched. “Well, we’ve certainly heard a lot about your son in our house,” you said, in a tone that seemed rather frosty. I shrugged it off, thinking I must be misinterpreting your tone. “Oh,” I said in a friendly tone. “And who’s your daughter?”
“This is K—,” you replied in that same tone. And I knew immediately that this was the little girl my son had kissed. Perhaps I wasn’t misinterpreting your tone, I realized. But this nonissue really didn’t seem like a big deal to me, so I continued to walk to the building with you and attempted to make polite small talk. You were frosty with your clipped responses, so I gave up and went to the playground to say bye to my son while you disappeared inside the building.
When I went inside to sign him in for the day, you were nowhere to be seen. But suddenly I turned around and there you were, with your daughter by your side.
“K—, this is Theo’s mom. Tell her what Theo did to you.”
Your daughter looked positively mortified. My heart went out to her, because I remember being six, and talking to new adults was scary. And here you were, prompting her to confront me.
“He kissed me,” she whispered shyly.
You stood and glared at me. I was taken aback—both by being confronted over a situation that had already been handled, and by my utter confusion as to why on earth you would put your shy six-year-old in the middle of this. Were you trying to shame her into being embarrassed about an innocent kiss from a little boy who likes her? Or were you trying to shame me by parading your daughter out in front of me as if to say, “Look what your son did to my innocent daughter?”
I can’t think of any other reason why you would’ve made your little girl confront me, but I’m baffled by both scenarios. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why you did that. If you still had a problem with the situation, I can understand you talking to me. But putting your daughter in an uncomfortable situation? I don’t get that.
Because here’s the thing: I am never going to shame my son for letting a friend know he cares about her. It was a learning opportunity for him—a chance for me to teach him that there are appropriate ways to show affection to friends. And that’s what I did. I refuse to make him feel bad about showing his affection. He knows the rule now, and I’m sure he’ll follow it.
Because let me tell you something about my son. He didn’t show much of any outward affection until he was probably four years old. I got my first hug from him when he was about two, and my first kiss sometime after that. But they didn’t come often. He loves me—I have never doubted that. But showing affection outwardly doesn’t come naturally to him. Maybe it’s autism or maybe it’s just him, but whatever the reason, it doesn’t come naturally.
But now, at six, he is finally starting to really express his feelings to people, and I think that’s a good thing. Does he need to learn the appropriate ways to do it? Absolutely. But does he need to be shamed when he doesn’t do it right the first time? No, he doesn’t.
So this ends here, lady. Drop it. The matter has been handled, and I will continue to support my son. And my heart will continue to go out to your daughter, who seems like a very sweet little girl. I’ve seen her around my son many times when I’ve come to pick him up, and she seems like a sweet girl. I hope you won’t scare that sweetness right out of her with your bizarre attempt at reconciling a situation that, in my humble opinion, you have blown way out of proportion.
The mother of the sweet boy who only wanted to let a friend know he cared for her