November 30, 2008


I realize I can't shelter my children forever, but I can try. I can try and protect them from the inevitable hurt that comes just from being...


Today, we went on a family excursion. Because we have birthdays coming up. And the way we've decided to do birthdays is to make the actual DAY very special, but simple, and the weekend before or after, we take the birthday people to the store and they get to pick out one gift.

We started at Target. We went up and down the rows, looking over each and every toy. We decided we needed to think about it some more. And visiting other stores to make sure we hadn't missed anything was determined.

At our third stop, we found our birthday gifts.

Thaddeus saw him, Optimus Prime... the same one that he has seen in the toy catalog that was mailed to us. The same one that they have on the DVD movie.

"Mom, this one is the transformer I was talking about! It turns into a truck AND a robot!"

"Oh wow! It does! And look right here, it says 'ages 5 and up'! good thing you're having a birthday!"

"Yeah mom, cause I'm gonna be FIVE!"

His eyes were open wide as he turned the package over to read the instructions.

"Mom, this is the most perfect toy EVER!" he beamed and hugged Optimus Prime to his chest.

As we waited for Blayne to decide on her birthday gift, Thaddeus was testing his find.

"Mom! His mouth even moves when he talks!"

"Dad! See this part right here? That is where there's a LIGHT that TURNS ON!"

"Blayne! Isn't my transformer the coolest? His name is Optimus Prime!"

He reverently carried the transformer up to the check out line, and let the cashier scan it. Then she gave it back to him in his very own bag, and wished him a happy birthday.

"I'm going to be FIVE," he announced. "And this transformer is for FIVE year olds. It's NOT for babies. It's for FIVE year old BOYS." He was so very proud.

We walked out to the car and buckled everyone into their seats.

Optimus Prime got to sit in the back row, next to Thaddeus. We made sure he was buckled safely for the ride home.

As we turned onto our street, we saw two neighbor boys playing in their yards.

"Mom! Mom! Can I show them my new toy!"

"Yes, Thaddeus. You can show them. You should tell them it's your birthday and that you're going to be five!"

He ripped off his seat belt and jumped out of the car, hugging the bulky package to his chest.

"FRIENDS! Hey! Guys! Look at what I got! Look at what I got for my BIRTHDAY! I'm gonna be FIVE! And this is Optimus Prime!"

The boys stopped.

"We can't play with you," the first boy said.

I stopped unbuckling my baby from her seat and turned to look.

"We don't want to be friends," he continued...

My heart sank. My blood boiled. I was angry. How dare they.

"But Look! It's a Transformer! And he talks! And has lights!" Thaddeus tried.

"My dad said you couldn't drive my jeep, so I can't play with you."

I grabbed the baby out of the car, and sent her into the house. Then I started to walk over to my first baby, my not quite five year old son.

My boy, that was so excited to share his toy with his friends that he RAN to them. He ran straight over to share his unopened prize, because he is desperate for a boy friend.

His friends that didn't want to be his friends anymore.

"Come on Thaddeus, let's go open that up. You'll have to show me how it works," I smiled as I fought back tears.

His sweet face fell. He did not understand. "But guys! I got a transformer! For my birthday!"

"No." the boy said again.

The pain that crossed my baby's face... my first born child. He was rejected, he was made to feel inferior. On what otherwise would have been a most. perfect. day.

"Come on honey, let's go inside. You need to show me how this guy works!"

"Sure." he sighed.

Later I asked DadGuy if he had heard what those boys said to Tad. I asked him what I should do. He said there's nothing I could do, that I can't make those boys like my boy.

After dinner, and after everyone had had their baths, I quietly asked Thaddeus what happened with his friends.

Slowly, he explained, "Well, they said I wasn't a good jeep driver. So they didn't want to be my friend anymore.... Mama? Why don't they want to be my friend? I was just trying to be nice."

I hugged him. I hugged him tight and looked into his eyes, "I don't know. Those are silly boys. But I love you and I will always be your best friend."

"Okay, mom..." he thought for a minute. "Do you want me to show you how my Optimus Prime works?" his eyes were bright and eager once again.

"Yes, Thaddeus, yes I do."