“And the worst part of my day,” Stephen said, “was…you know, the same thing it always is,” he said, looking annoyed. “Recess. There’s nothing to do at recess. I just walk around waiting for it to be over.”
He liked recess earlier in the year, because he spent it playing and trading Pokemon cards. But then the powers that be told the kids they couldn’t bring Pokemon to school anymore. Crushed, Stephen and a few other boys dedicated themselves to digging a large hole. Unfortunately, their efforts were too successful and the janitor requested that they stop digging the hole.
“Now that there’s no Pokemon and I can’t dig my hole, there’s nothing to do at recess!” He lamented. I was very sorry to see Pokemon banned; it was one of the few common interests Stephen shares with his peers.
I posted before, here, about how Stephen is so much like me. Now that I’m sitting on the other side of the table, on the adult side, I feel our double sadness. I know how he feels; I remember hating recess, not wanting to play four-square or “chase the boys” like everyone else. But now I also feel the mom-side: wanting him to play with the other kids. Wanting him to go outside his comfort zone and join a game. Wanting him to want to join a game. Wanting it to be easy for him.
“Why don’t you try playing football with the other kids?” I suggested feebly. “You might like it!”
He glared at me with the same blue-eyed look I would have given my mother had she made such a suggestion about four-square.
“No. I don’t want to.”
I wanted to give him some grown-upy piece of wisdom, something I’ve discovered since my years on the elementary school playground. But I don’t have any great ideas. The platitudes I can think of to say I already know are useless, because they’re the same things the grownups said to me when I was 8. And it didn’t help.
When you’re a mom, you want to fix everything for your son and make it all better. But maybe my grown-upy piece of wisdom is knowing that I can’t fix it. I can feel it with him, I can sympathize, and I can have faith that the future will bring friends who share his interests. I didn’t like recess or sports, but if I say so myself, I think I turned out just fine. And I know he will, too.
Mom-Jenny knows it’ll all be ok. But little girl Jenny knows that right now, recess sucks.
“I know,” I sighed. “I never liked recess either. I’m sorry you don’t like it.”
Stephen and I looked at each other with sad blue eyes and sat for a while in companionable silence.