Vignette of the Day: 9/13/09

My mother told me of a phrase that her mother had had regarding childhood: “life’s little tragedies.”

What a great phrase since it acknowledges that whatever a child is going through is so terribly important to that child at that moment. The phrase, and its delivery, also acknowledge that in context, or more aptly, in the big picture, these tragedies are not necessarily so significant.

I worry about my oldest, and how he currently copes with and will cope in the future with these little tragedies. Tonight was another night of them.

One of his two best friends got new bearings for his skateboard wheels. My oldest was jealous. Terribly so. And he let everyone know it. Well, he at least acted nastily enough that everyone knew something was wrong.

Asked about why he was acting so nastily, our oldest became even more agitated and left, wanting time alone.

Later, at home, I asked him again about what had happened. He broke down, crying, but still did not let on about what, specifically, was bothering him. I told him a story about how bad my temper was when I was his age, and how sometimes when it would flare up, I would be so embarrassed I did not know how to approach those I hurt. His quickly reacted to that, “I know what that’s like.”

The worst part about how he reacted to his own actions tonight was how he began bashing himself, talking about what kind of a bad person he was, what kind of a bad friend we was, and how angry he was at himself. If this boy was a bad kid, making countless mistakes in the choices he was making as he was growing up, I’d get it, but my oldest is one of the sweetest boys you will ever meet: and I’m not the only adult to say this. Countless adults comments at how compassionate and considerate our oldest son is.

If this is how he’s acting at nine, almost ten years-old, what is he going to be like when he’s sixteen?

I just hope some time in the next few years our oldest will be able to look in a mirror and see the same boy that I and so many other people see, and eventually look back and chuckle at his little tragedies.


RJ Lavallee is the author of IMHO (In My Humble Opinion): a guide to the benefits and dangers of today’s communication tools on sale at, Barnes and Noble, and

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