Jaw clenched, I take a deep breath and tell myself to not grind my teeth .
‘It’s not worth getting angry over’, I remind myself. ‘It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it.’
Except I am angry. And the more time goes by, the more I think about it, the longer I watch, the angrier I get. I can’t just sit passively by and hope that it will all work out. I can’t just do nothing.
But I do. I have to. I sit quietly; my fists clenched so tightly my nails dig into my palms, my skin turning white. I sit and I remind myself to stay calm. To not get involved. To hold my tongue and believe that things will work themselves out.
‘What are people teaching their children?’ I wonder. With their foul mouths and bad attitudes. With their sense of entitlement. With the haughty way they carry themselves as though they’re the most important thing in this world. What happened to the days when children were taught to be respectful? What happened to the days when children played and spoke kindly? Is courteousness a thing of the past?
I hear so often that chivalry is dead; has common human decency gone extinct as well?
My son runs to my side, a smile on his face, and I’m beyond proud to see that he handled the situation with such calm and dignity. Regardless of other’s actions, he remains the epitome of grace and refinement. I’ve been complimented so often on my children and their respectfulness. It used to surprise me until I realized just how many bad seeds there are out there. Now, I can only return my son’s smile.
“Well done,” I tell him. “Thank you.” Such simple words are all I can give to him but, in truth, I want to take him in my arms and kiss him and praise him and love him and protect him from all of these people with their cruel words and disgusting dispositions.
He nods simply, that smile forever present on his face. That smile that says, ‘it’s fine’. ‘I’m fine’. There is no light in his eyes. The dimples in his cheeks are hidden like they are unless he’s beaming with excitement or joy.
Again, I feel resentment boil inside of me, but I tamp it down. If I’m to teach him to remain calm, I have to show him that I can be calm as well. I bite back all of the obscenities that I would like to direct at these vicious little monsters that don’t deserve to be called children. Children are sweet and kind. Playful and loving. But these creatures are cruel and ruthless. Inconsiderate. Uncompassionate.
My son pats my arm. Sometimes it’s like he can read my thoughts and, this time, a small light sparkles in his chocolate-brown eyes.
“Want to swing with me?” he asks, and I’m delighted at the offer. I can only nod; all the things I would like to say swirling through my mind.
The last vestiges of irritation slip from my grasp as I take his hand in mine.