I’m nervous. The kind of nervous that produces constant butterflies in your stomach. The type of nervous that keeps you up at night. The variety of nervous that does not allow you to have a rational thought in your head. And the form of nervous that makes you believe you really do need that tenth chocolate chip cookie, thank you very much.
Yes, it is back to school time once again.
While 99.9% of the parents have launched the official countdown clock, the one that marks the minutes until that golden hour when the yellow bus whisks their children away, leaving them to spontaneously break into the happy-dance in their respective living rooms, I am dreading the thought. Dreading it because school is not a happy place for Sam. As a matter of fact, on any given day it can be downright torture for him to enter the doors of that building. You would never know it looking at his transcripts – he has always been on the ‘A’ honor roll – but behind those good grades lies an unhappiness that stems from the behavior of some of his fellow students, who just can’t leave him alone.
You’d think it would become boring after awhile, perpetually picking on the same kid. Common sense would dictate that sooner or later they would run out of material and move on to someone else, but that has not been our experience. Right before our eyes they have elevated the acts of taunting and humiliating to the level of a high school sport, their actions earning them an easy letter in Bullying – a big letter ‘B’ for their letter jackets – that is so well deserved.
Loud whispers in the hall that are really meant to be heard.
Giggles during roll call when the teacher reads the name of Samuel for the child that was once known as Samantha.
Body language that is intended to hurt.
More laughter when male pronouns are used.
Calling Sam ‘It’ for the rest of the class to hear.
Barring entrance to the boy’s restroom.
This is an average school day for Sam. And while there are many more good kids than bad, it only takes one of these aforementioned taunts to trump any gesture of kindness directed Sam’s way. At home we coach him to focus on the positive, but human nature sneaks in on particularly bad days, only allowing him to remember the hurt. So we cherish these last few days of our summer respite while battening down the hatches in preparation for the new school year. Holding out hope that this will be the year things get better, kids grow up and change their ways, the taunting stops and that good trumps bad.
And I reach for my tenth chocolate chip cookie.