Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mama Bear

Dear Ian,

I think in my last letter I mentioned that you are going to your school, Advent, for a summer camp program.  What I'm not sure if I mentioned or not was that I am teaching there, too!  And I have the unique opportunity to get to observe you as you play with your group, and I even get to teach your group when you come to the Math and Centers class.  This has been a neat experience.  During the school year, you are on one playground while I am on another, and you and I are typically involved in the goings on with our respective classes, so we don't get to interact often.  Being on your playground this summer, and leading your group in Math, has really given me a neat peek into how you act around other kids and with other grown ups.

Today I had a different kind of experience, though.  In your group are two or three little boys that have a little stronger personality than your a-little-more-laid-back style.  Now keep in mind, before coming to school you pretty much only played with girls; Mommy kept other kids in the house for a while, and they were both girls, and your usual playdates are with Issa  or your cousin Payton.  I was excited that school gave you the opportunity to play with boys.  But back to my point: boys in your group...  I came outside with my little toddler group, and your group was already outside.  You ran up and gave me a hug, but then went back to your play time.  I watched as you approached these other boys, who were busily involved in playing with trucks and bulldozers.  For a second you just watched, but then you asked what they were doing.  One looked up and responded with "Go away!"  Your group leader, Miss Kerrie, reminded them to take turns and share, and undaunted, you continued to watch.  Then you asked if you could play.  The naked want in your eyes to join in just about tore my heart out.

I watched all of this happen from nearby, and it was so hard not to intervene on your behalf.  I wanted to smooth things over for you so you could play, too.  I wanted to say to those boys, "Look at this great little kid!  He has so much to offer to your game!"  But these boys are as young as you, and of course they wouldn't have understood that.  I want everyone to know just how special you are.  But I held myself back.  Jumping in to fight your battles doesn't teach you to persevere and win friends on your own.  It would actually do you a great disservice.  It breaks my heart, though, to see you struggle, even with something small like this.

What in the world am I going to do as you get older and face bigger and more challenging situations?  I am your Mama Bear, and the world better not mess with my little Baby Bear.  But even though I want to bare my teeth and show my claws, I know that you wont gain any fighting skills if I do it all for you.

Today's event turned out ok in the end after all.  You eventually got your own truck and sat down near them to play.  You started creating roads for your truck, and those boys saw what a cool, fun game you had created and asked if they could play with you.  This made my heart smile and breathe a sigh of relief at the same time.  I hope you maintain this resiliency and independence.  By charging ahead and making your own path, others came to you.  This is a skill that will take you far as you grow up.  And it made me proud to see you in this light.

This Mama Bear is proud of her little cub.  For now the claws are sheathed.

Love you Baby Bear,
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