My boy crafted a lie. Not a wee little “white lie” that one could possibly write off as the naivety of childhood. An elaborate, detailed lie. The lie was a camouflage for the other sin of the day, stealing. I’m not sure which disappointed me most. The stealing when he knew was wrong or the carefully crafted lie I almost believed.
What he stole, three insignificant counting animals, wasn’t important. The fact that he did and tried to enlist his best friend to cover it up, were. To his friend’s credit, he was able to not lie and yet not reveal the truth when pressed by me.
Brendon confessed and my heart broke.
I am almost 40 years old and I remember, as vivid as the day it happened, disappointing my beloved third grade teacher, Mr. Mitchell. I was caught eating some Mexican hot chocolate wedges behind the lifted top of my desk (obviously, as an adult I realize the food was all over my face; then I did not). He told me to stop eating it unless I had enough to share. I was shamed in front of my classmates and the fact that Mr.Mitchell had caught me doing something inappropriate was so gut wrenching, my stomach hurts typing this.
I knew too well, the feelings Brendon was trying to avoid. He asked several times if he could not go to school today. He wished it was a Holiday, when he overheard a teacher talking about Monday’s holiday on the morning walk. He begged me not to make him do it. He asked me to let him wait with me at John’s door, so he didn’t have to tell the teacher by himself. Unfortunately, this was a bridge that had to be crossed.
The bell rang, I dropped off John and went to Brendon’s side as is our normal routine. Despite his pleas with me to let him handle it his own way, namely to put them back secretly, I pulled them from my pocket, grabbed his hand and asked him if he was ready. He told the teacher, she reacted calmly and he headed into class, a little teary.
She said she’d talk to him later. I don’t know her well enough to know how she will handle the situation, but I’m putting a lot of faith in the HE>i shirt she wore on blue day.
I cried walking away from his class. Tears for the frailty of humanity and even bigger tears for my boy. He seems so carefree and jokey on the surface, but inside he is tender hearted and his fear of disappointing someone is so great. I know this so well.
My only worry is that I was too hard on him and next time he won’t tell me at all. He’d rather hide it entirely than own up to a mistake.