The other day, I was in a busy grocery store with both kids. As we were walking in, Ethan pointed and laughed at a man. I didn’t even get a good look at this man because I was so mortified, but I remember the look on the man’s face. I vividly remember this man appearing very sad and embarrassed. It crushed my heart into a million pieces. I never ever want someone to feel the way this man probably felt at that moment.
Instead of getting angry (which was going to be my initial reaction), I pulled both kids over to the freezer section and sat in a huddle with them on the dirty floor. I sat there and looked Ethan right in the eyes and told him that we are a family that likes to make people feel good about themselves and we want people to be happy. We never ever want people to have their feelings hurt. Ever.
He questioned me, as any good 6 year old boy should. He said “But why did he look that way?” And I said, “He is a special person just like everyone in our family and we need to love everything that surrounds us. There are people in this world that are different and that is what makes this world so awesome. You are different than Ainsley and Ainsley is different than you, but we love each other for those reasons.”
Ainsley and Ethan started crying. Ethan said, “I am sorry. I won’t be rude again.” He meant it. With all of his 6 year old heart.
We hugged, we moved on. We bought eggs and bread.
However, this entire situation resonated with me, I won’t lie.
My husband is a high school teacher and he sees bullying on a daily basis. When I graduated high school, I remember releasing a sigh of relief because I was sure the bullying would end. Not just towards me, but towards everyone. Popular, not popular. Tall, short. Overweight, skinny. I hated every second of it. There was always a reason to bully and I was eager to move past that.
It seemed to go away until I became a mother.
When I first had kids, I had to deal with “formula vs. breastfeeding”, “co-sleeping vs. not co-sleeping”, “cloth diapers vs. disposables”… the list goes on and on and on.
I am lucky to have such a supportive group of women that chat with me and comfort me. I don’t know what I would do without them. I am scared for our children because bullying seems to only get worse. The only thing I can hope is that my kids see the world like I do. That would mean everything to me.
Hayley Crouse is a wife, mother and multifaceted designer. Her love of sewing, crafting, cooking and interior design infuses her daily life and naturally spills over into her online presence. She pushes the envelope of her creativity and hopes that others will be inspired to do the same. She currently authors the Welcome to the Mouse House Blog, is the pattern designer behind Mouse House Creations and is a collaborative designer with Willow & Co. Patterns.