Even though it happened more than 3 years ago, I can see that day clearly in my mind. It was a warm May afternoon in our hometown when my oldest son’s team took the field. He was playing baseball and I was one of the coaches. Because our family is always busy, that day being no exception, my 4 year old son was with me as well. I had arranged a seat for him in the dugout, on the far right side by the water cooler, while I was out on the field coaching.
He was so excited to sit with “the bigger boys on a real baseball field,” as he put it. His perspective was so unique and his mind beautiful, then, and even more so now as he’s grown. Although he was drug and alcohol exposed at birth, the kid has a spirit that can light up a room and turn any frown into a smile. That’s why I couldn’t believe what I saw from the field.
The “bigger boys” were making fun of him in the dugout. Because he was different, unique, and filled with an authentic joy for life. They made fun of how loud he was when he asked questions, or shared a thought. We knew then, and know now, that it’s a social cue he’s yet to pick up on, but we also celebrate his enthusiasm and curiosity. His questions are amazing too. We pray they never come to an end. That day, the “bigger boys” saw their opportunity to make sport out of his precious inquisitiveness. Their “normal” functioning brains convinced them that they were superior.
At just 4 years old, my son understood exactly what was happening to him. He clued into their taunts and belligerent facial expressions. When I reached the dugout his head was lowered in defeat. Tears dripped from his eyes on to his shorts as he tucked himself as tight as possible into the back corner of the dugout. I wanted to wreck that entire place and send all of those entitled, spoiled, suburban punks running for cover. “How dare they make fun of a child, my child,” I thought, seething through my clinched teeth!
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