Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do So By All Means

What gets me is that the world is not a perfect place. Most of the time I let this roll off my back, because it's not immediately jackhammering the inner core of my soul. Today it was a little different.

Like I've mentioned before, sometimes I stick around and watch Lennon on the playground before the whistle blows and the kids go inside to start the school day. Today, I'm not completely certain I wouldn't have been better off just going home.

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She walks slowly today. Two skinny, slightly-turned-in legs peeking out from behind a large pink backpack. Like a new fawn finding her footing, there is simple beauty in her trepidation as she walks over the rocks. Careful naivety, as she approaches the schoolyard.

She drops off her backpack at the door and spots a lone dinosaur on the floor that she manages to scoop up on her way to a herd of children. This triceratops, she decides en route, can not only fly, but also perform loop-the-loops. She only loses her footing once as she approaches the mass of kids who have attached themselves to the front fence. Already, two of the kindergardeners have adopted a "cool kid" stance, with thumbs in their pockets. I think one of them might be smoking.

"Get out of here, LENNON!" I hear from the crowd, and my ears take a moment to recover from the heavy vibrations that come from processing the sound of your child's name in scorn.

I can only see the arm of her brown sweatshirt, reaching upward for something... the dinosaur. It is no longer a flying triceratops. It's her helpless infant, and it is in danger.

And it goes soaring over her head, just out of reach, and lands with a roll in the middle of a patch of grass. Face down, butt in the air, unresponsive.

She runs for her dinosaur as I scoop up Harrison from his stroller and quickly make my way to a spot in the fence where I can see her better. "This is why I stay. This is what I need to be here for. Lennon needs me to rescue her," I think to myself.

She is brushing off her dinosaur with her sleeve when I ask her through the fence if everything is okay. "Yeah it's okay!" she yells back. I wasn't asking about the dinosaur's state, but she seems unaware of that, and somehow that gives me reassurance. I glare at the kids, but it seems that Lennon has it under control, so I let her fight her own battles.

My heart is racing, however, when she turns back towards the group. "Who wants to get chased by a dinosaur?" she asks playfully.

"GO AWAY LENNON! GET OUT OF HERE!"

So she turns around and walks away, and finds a place to nurse her dinosaur's broken leg. Before the whistle blows, he has already recovered, and is doing figure-eights.

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"You do not understand me," said the duckling.

"Well if we don't understand you, who should? I suppose you don't consider yourself cleverer than the cat or the old woman, not to mention me. Don't make a fool of yourself, child, and thank your stars for the good we have done you! Have you not lived in this warm room, and in such a society that you might have learnt something? But you are an idiot, and there is no pleasure in associating with you. You may believe me I mean you well. I tell you home truths, and there is no surer way that that, of knowing one's friends. You just see about laying some eggs, or learn to purr, or to emit sparks."

"I think I will go out into the wide world," said the duckling.

"Oh, do so by all means," said the hen.

-The Ugly Duckling

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I can't figure out what happened. Only a couple of month ago, she was Queen Lennon. What I come up with is that she is finding her way, and it just turns out that Lennon's way is not the way of the imperfect world. Expect great things, I say to myself, even if you can't understand them now.


7 comments:

The Wizzle said...

it just breaks a mother's heart, doesn't it? I cried about the possibility of this very thing when I sent Devlin off t school for the first time, last year. I haven't ever seen the cruelty in action, and if I did it would probably be a Very Bad Day for the bully-child, courtesy of one angry redhead mother bear.

Scarlet said...

That is so sad. I don't know if I could bear watching that. What is wrong with kids these days. I don't remember much about my days in Elementary School but I don't remember people not liking each other that early. I swear it was at least 2nd grade before I knew any punk kids. hmmm that is also the same year I befirended your sister I wonder if there is any correlation? Anyways. I am glad that Lennon doesn't seem to care. I give her props for not caring.

monika said...

oh Lennon. I love her.

Michelle said...

I'm glad she took it all in such stride. I never understand why kids are so mean to one another. Luckily at my school, everyone was really nice to each other-I don't remember anyone getting teased or kids being mean to others.

Except this one girl, who was pretty mean and ended up biting a teacher in 2nd grade.

meghan said...

Kids are assholes. I think we have a tendency to forget that as we get older. To somehow believe that they are perfect until puberty. Don't you remember kids being nasty in elementary school? I do. Maybe not kindergarten but frankly I don't remember much from kindergarten, so maybe they were. I'm sure it's really hard to see your babe being treated like that. Trust that you are teaching her to be a good person and to have the skills to rise above the shitty things mean people can do to us. She will survive sister.

Big hugs,

Meg

Rebecca Martin said...

In 5th grade I had this weird plastic Oreo with a little face on it and I used to play with it all the time. Then someone stole it and drew all over it with permanent marker. I only had a couple of friends because I had buck teeth and they called me Becca Buck Tooth which is funny now but totally sucked then. I think we can all agree that grade school ZORKS. (That's a Joe Word for "sucks") Sorry you had to see it in action...

mrsmouthy said...

I heart Lennon. I am so glad she's not playing with that group of kids because THEY SUCK.

There's a beautiful chapter book that reminds me of Lennon called Stargirl (I think it's by Spinelli). It's for when she's a bit older, but it's definitely worth buying now and reading yourself.