“All children, except one, grow up.”

Naptime is generally around 3 pm here… I didn’t plan it that way, of course (for my plans never quite seem to work out as, well… plannedThus, I try to avoid making them at all).Three just seems to be the time that the babies pass out on me. So… come two-thirty : I turn on the music, change a diaper or two, twirl around the house a few times, and tuck my little devils into bed for an hour or so. Once “child-free”, I turn the music up a little louder and clean the house of its daily accumulations. Little Man comes in about half-past; and we sing along together as he tells me all about the wonderful world that is the second grade.

Yesterday was such a day. We spent the early afternoon at the bookstore and driving to and fro’, and the babies stuck to schedule. Ray’s new cd was playing and I was methodically loading the dishwasher as Little Man came rushing through the door…

“Momma! My friend’ll be coming over in a little while, and I don’t have any homework!” he said in a rush.

“That’s good… which friend? And you’re sure about the homework?”

“No homework, Momma, really. And she’s my girl friend – just a girl coming over to play with a boy – not a girlfriend, okay?”

I smiled as I wiped down the counter. ” Of course, she isn’t a girlfriend. You’re much too young for one of those… besides you aren’t allowed to love any girl other than your momma for now.”

“Not till I’m old like my daddy, right Momma? When I’m twenty-five or something…” he said knowingly.

“That’s right. Now tell me about your friend that’s a girl… and pick up your backpack off the floor.”

I waited for the tirade…

“Her name is Courtney — just like you… and she’s in the first grade… that’s why I asked her to come over because we never get to play… and she has brown hair… I think she likes bows too– like sister… and she plays Power Rangers… and I told her where we live… and she wears glasses just like me, Momma… except they’re pink and mine aren’t… and her daddy used to come in her room at night and touch her and he’s in jail…”

Wait. What was that?

“Honey… ummm.. what is it you just said?”

“Huh?”

“Huh is not a word. About Courtney’s daddy… what did you say?”

He looked up from putting on his shoes and repeated the very words that I had hoped were imagined.

I took a deep breath.

I recognized this moment. This is the part towards the end of one of those Moment of Truth movies on Lifetime in which the parent/spouse/detective/insightful random person says something really profound, inspiring, and just right. I also recognized the fact that I would, most likely, not say that thing. I was torn between emotions… personalities really…

I wanted to lock my child in the house for the rest of his life.

I wanted to hand him a wooden sword and ship him off to Neverneverland to fight endearing pirates and play cowboys and indians.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted to borrow my daddy’s gun and pay her daddy a little visit.

I wanted to smile and pretend that nothing was wrong and the world was as perfect as it should be.

I wanted to hug that little girl and bake her cookies and buy her toys and take her to the bookstore and on vacation…

I wanted to scream.

I looked at my sweet little boy. He had made no connections… hadn’t realized the significance of what had been said.

” Well… then, she will need a really good friend just now. Do you think you can be that good friend?”

“I already told you that she was my friend– remember, Momma? My friend that is a girl? Remember?” He looked at me as though I’d lost my mind… then headed outside to play in the yard.

“STAY IN THE FENCE!” I yelled at the closing door.

Later, Peter and I sat down with him and went over all of the standard “keep safe” rules again. I can only hope that that was the right thing to do. Yet, my heart still hurts… and I am still ANGRY.

And I haven’t quite given up the idea of the wooden sword… or borrowing my daddy’s gun…

August 31, 2006
Categories: Daily


1.©2006 by Courtney Hebert as Judith Shakespeare.
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