Last week, I was informed that for the past month, Henry spent his weekly “swim time” parked in a chair instead of paddling in the pool. His recalcitrance had spread to the other children and was now an “issue.”
I hate to swim. Not only am I a sinker, but I am uncomfortable in the locker room. I never know where to look.
Nonetheless, I agreed to go swimming with Henry.
On swim day, the kids’ flailing, spinning bodies skimmed across the classroom like spandex encased tumbleweeds. A teacher commanded the group’s attention (no easy feat) and they sat down for a pre-swim snack. As the kids munched on goldfish and blueberries, Henry’s friend X called to me.
“Henry’s Mom!” X said with a smile. “My Mommy….you.”
I could not catch X’s voice from across the room. “What, honey?” I asked, while wishing for coffee. Did I have time to run out for coffee?
The second time, X’s words were crystal clear: “My. Mommy. Can’t. Stand. You.”
Ahhh. Got it. Message received.
How was I supposed to respond to that? With a neutral “Thank you for sharing”? Or maybe a snarky “Tell her I feel the same way”? But I was caught off-guard by X’s comment. I recalled chatting with X’s mom on numerous occasions. In my recollections, she was always friendly–often saying hello and initiating our conversations.
I quickly concluded there was no appropriate response and I made none. Soon, snack was over and we were on our way to the pool. Henry was happy to swim with me and I delighted in his delight.
Later, as I reflected on X’s statement, my own Mommy-voice echoed in my head: “It’s OK. You aren’t going to be friends with everyone.”