I saw the entire scene play out. A few of Cruz's classmates were in the corner of the gym, dancing and singing 'our God is an awesome God' having what looked like the time of their lives. Cruz spotted them and ran full speed ahead to join in on the fun. Being that Beau jokes that Cruz is having a hard time making the leap from 'parallel' to 'associated' play, I was pleased to see him attempt to integrate himself in the fun. Less than two seconds later, however, I see my son's excitement shatter into a million sensitive pieces as he was pushed out of the group and onto the floor in the classic "you can't play with us" scene. My heart immediately broke as I watched the tears of embarrassment and hurt feelings slide down his cheeks. Soon, a perfect storm of emotions seeped through my veins as I realized that this is likely to be the first of many incidents I will witness during his childhood. I felt for my sweet boy and wished I could protect him from hurt feelings and broken hearts forever. I felt guilty that I couldn't just keep him home in our safe, accepting bubble. And I questioned if it happens more often than I think, if Cruz is accepted by his peers or has a difficult time interacting with his friends. I didn't feel mad, and I know they are only two, but the slight reality check propelled me into a future world that I'm not sure I'm ready for.
While my initial thought process was likely a little dramatic, I walked away learning two things today. First, while you can't shield your child from everything, you can love them through everything; and second, one of the most important things we can instill in our next generation is how to love others. I watched as Cruz got up off the floor, brushed his tears away with his shirt sleeve, and sought to make things right with his friend by wrapping his arms around the boy's neck and showing innocent forgiveness through a hug that only a two year old can give. I watched him bounce back in no time, waving goodbye to his friends and racing to the drinking fountain to grab his routine drink of water before we headed home. I watched him in awe and was once again reminded of how much we have to learn from these little souls.
I know this is not the last time this will happen, and that there are times when my son is the culprit instead of the victim, but experiences like this make us all a little tougher and all a little wiser. I don't think I learned to really love someone until I had my heart torn in two, and it was through getting my own feelings hurt that I learned how to not hurt others. And while it's scary to think about starting that journey all over again, only this time through the eyes of a mom, there's bound to be more lessons to learn along the way. Glennon Melton says it best when she says, "Things are not good, nor bad. Everything is a teacher."
Tomorrow, I will wake him up, dress him in his warrior suit, and hug him away for another day of learning and growing. And when I pick him up, I will love him with every fiber in me, knowing that every day is a gift, an adventure, one step closer to becoming a better version of ourselves.
Oh, and I learned one more thing today. Nothing cures a two year old's broken heart like a cupcake from Scratch. Some things never change.
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