When I was a kid, I remember saying, “Nobody understands me.” I remember saying, “Everybody hates me.” I said it a lot. I said it so much, in fact, that for one of my birthdays, my mom got me a little plaque with a picture of a sad basset hound on it underneath the words “Nobody Understands Me.”
As a young child, I didn’t have close friends. And as an even younger child, I was the girl standing awkwardly by herself not really knowing how to not look so obviously friendless. I was the kid that the teachers would make small talk with so I wasn’t just standing by myself. When I was in elementary school, I remember my mother asking my older sister to include me at recess so I wouldn’t be all alone.
I know that there were kids I hung out with (or around) through elementary school, but I also have vivid flashes of more incidents than I care to enumerate of times where I felt painfully alone in a group of people or on a playdate.
Today, Jack’s teacher emailed to tell me that Jack had been repeatedly saying “Everybody hates me.” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that phrase come from Jack either. He’s saying it more and more often.
As he gets more interested in other kids, I think he sees more how difficult it is for him to join them. I’m not even going to go into detail about the health room pass that he brought home, on which he’d written his name and, in the blank for “complaint,” wrote, “nobody loves him. everyone hates him.”
Today I caught myself telling Sam that he should compliment Jack every once in a while to make him feel better about himself.
I’ve been Jack, but I don’t know how to make it better for him.
There was a perfect storm of angst, teacher notes, piles of homework and sibling drama this afternoon that pretty effectively destroyed the entire family’s day within a half hour of everyone arriving home.
The only awesome thing was that juuuust when I was about to snap, the phone rang, and because some things in the world are still good, the person on the other end of the line was some sort of political telemarketer who wanted to tell me about the governor of Wisconsin and how the unions and the teachers were keeping schools closed.
It was sort of awesome to be presented with such a great target at which to vent my anger. I started with, “No, no, no, no, no! You don’t call my house and start bashing teachers,” followed by a few other things, and then I ended, somewhat inexplicably, with, “So, why don’t you call back some other time and talk to someone who agrees with you!”
Later, much later, when Alex and I were able to laugh again, I asked him, “Did I really tell that guy to call back?” Don’t worry though, I don’t think he will.
Laugh or cry, people. Laugh or fucking cry.