On the way home from church last week, Hudson started talking to us about Sunday school.
Sunday mornings in the car usually involve lots of voices talking over each other. We turn down the music so we can try to pick up on at least one thought from one of the boys. And it’s rare that Hudson just starts telling us a story spontaneously.
I’ve heard from other boy moms that the day will come when my boys will stop talking to me. They won’t open up anymore. The day will likely come when they’ll come back around, but between now and then, there will be a day when they start keeping things to themselves.
We’ve learned with Hudson that it usually will take us doing something with him to get him to talk about his day or to tell us what is bothering him. We’ll work puzzles and he’ll open up. Or we’ll be throwing the ball and he’ll talk about his day. He has used these opportunities to tell us when someone did something funny or when someone hurt his feelings.
On this particular day in the car, Hudson started telling us about his friends in Sunday school. I’d ask him about someone and he’d say, “He’s a nice boy” or “she’s a nice girl.” Very simple.
I asked him about another child in his class that day and he said, “No, she’s not a nice girl.” And I said, “Oh no. Why not?”
And very matter-of-factly, Hudson said, “Because she said I was ugly.”
My heart sank. How could we possibly have a child who is old enough to deal with something like this?
Todd and I locked eyes, and Todd said to Hudson, “Well, what did you say to her?”
Hudson smiled and very innocently said, “I told her that I’m not ugly. I’m a nice boy.”
It was so simple. And in Hudson’s mind, “ugly” means “not nice.” Because that’s how we use the word at home.
I know that I can’t protect him from everything, but when his sweet little voice insisted that he was a nice boy, I started to cry. My heart broke. I was wearing my sunglasses and Hudson couldn’t see my tears, but Todd reached over and grabbed my hand. I’m sure he was wondering what in the world was wrong with me.
I don’t want my boy to have hurt feelings. But I loved his sweet, quiet confidence.
We know that kids say all kinds of things to hurt each other’s feelings, and I know that Hudson will do the same to someone someday, if he hasn’t already.
We’re praying that we will raise brave kids who can face the day and face their peers with confidence.
In that moment, we didn’t get all deep with Hudson. We told him that we were sorry that his feelings had been hurt, but we were proud of him for not fighting with her and for telling her that he was, indeed, a nice boy.
And just as quickly as it started, our conversation ended. Hudson started talking in his funny made-up language that he uses to try to make Hayes laugh, and all the loud noise in the car started up again.
Maybe that day will come when he stops opening up to me. Or maybe it will be just like it was that day, where Hudson runs in to tell me something really important, really quickly, and then he runs out to do more “important” things.
No matter what happens, I’ll always be there to listen.