He walks off the bus yesterday with a scowl on his face. His mouth is all scrunched up and his eyes are narrowed. This is not a face I’ve seen before.

Thoughts race through my mind. Did he get in a fight? Did he get in trouble with his teacher?

“What’s wrong buddy?”

He looks spitting mad, this boy who is all sweetness and light.

“Matthew* stole one of my Silly Bandz.” (*name changed)

(If you don’t know what Silly Bandz are, they’re … well, rubber bracelets. All the rage with America’s elementary school children. Kids wear them by the bushel and trade them. They’re considered valuable, and they make me sad I didn’t invent them.)


“He took it. The tie-dyed bat.”

“How do you know he took it?”

“Because he grabbed it from my hand. While we were on the bus.”

This is a kid who is as honest as Abe. Really. If my son tells me something I can guarantee you it’s true. He has too much of a guilty complex to lie about anything. (Lucky me.)

“Did you ask for it back?”

“Yeah, but he said he didn’t have it. He said it must’ve fallen on the floor. But I know it didn’t. I know he has it.”

Anxiety is rising in my chest. Someone messed with my boy. He’s only 8. Has the hell of pre-teen and teenaged life begun already? Is today the day? I’m not ready.

We climb in the car, and on the way to pick up little sister from school we discuss his options. I’m not really sure how to handle this. He says he wants me to bring him by Matthew’s house so he can get it back.

Really? Confrontation? Could my son be that brave? I know I’m not.

Mads piles in the car from Montessori and off we go. I discuss various scenarios with Jack.

“What if you ask him for it and he tells you he doesn’t have it? What do you plan to say then? I mean, that’s probably what he’ll say especially if his mom is standing right there. You need to think this through.”

“We’ll deal with that when we come to it, mama.”

Alrighty then.

We pull up in front of Matthew’s house. I decide I’m not getting out of the car because this is Jack’s deal. Not mine. It’s between him and Matthew. I watch him go up to the door. He suddenly looks so big to me.

OMG my heart is pounding like crazy. I’m having a freakin’ anxiety attack. I feel sick to my stomach. I can hardly breathe. My son is the one up there dealing with this like he’s eternally brave and I’m sitting here, slunk in the front seat, completely flipping out.

Mads is craning her neck to try and watch the scene from her carseat.

I see the door open. Lots of back and forth discussion is clearly going on but I can’t see anyone’s face, dammit. I can see the mother is standing there as well.

This is taking so long. What are they saying? Should I get out? Should I have let him go up there by himself?

After a few minutes he walks back to the car.

“Well?!!?! What happened?”

“He said he didn’t take it. I know he did, but he said he didn’t.”

“We figured that might happen, didn’t we? That’s okay buddy.”


“The outcome doesn’t matter. You were brave and you said what you needed to say. I am so proud of you for standing up for yourself.”

So proud. So amazed to watch this 2nd-grader do something that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to do. No … very sure. That’s my boy. I’m filled with all the love in the world.

I tell you this story, as I’ve told you others about this boy, because he is my postpartum OCD baby.

And he’s turning out pretty good, REGARDLESS.