Saturday, April 17, 2010
it's so hard to be a kid
we had a party today with sabin's entire class. a chance for her to say goodbye and also the birthday party we didn't have back in january when the weather was bad. the kids are mostly 10, sabin is the youngest at 9. they're definitely 'tweens now - not teenagers yet and yet no longer kids. the dynamics are more and more marked and yet more and more subtle.
we divided them into three teams and put them through that painful moment of choosing teams (painful if you're the last one left). but even before that, the dynamics were in play. i've never really had a sense before of anyone being teased or bullied, but i saw moments of it today. one of them really surprised me, because if you look at the kids, the girl who seemed to be teased would have been the one you thought was coolest and most popular, the other one i wanted to bully a little bit myself. i had a very hard time keeping a straight face when a classmate said to him, "sorry to ask, but are you handicapped or something?" i had honestly been wondering the same thing as he repeatedly, almost obsessively, poked the fire with a stick after being asked not to by both me and his peers. it was like he went deaf a little bit.
i watched kids clown their way out of embarassing situations. i listened to the surprisingly astute observations they have. i was astonished by their humor and facility with sarcasm (they are little danish kids, after all). i was touched by their kindness to one another (it wasn't all bullying and even the bullying was mild). i wondered at their tears (my own child, whose expectations were so high, completely melted down at one point). but mostly, i was bowled over by their energy.
and grateful that i don't have to go through it all again. it's hard to be a kid. but it's joyful as well.