Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Butterfly Flaps It's Wings and All That.....

It's funny how sometimes someone passing through your life can affect you.

In junior high school there was this kid who was in a lot of my classes. He was one of those kids that never really seems to fit in anywhere. And we tortured him.

I think that age group is really brutal anyway. I don't think anyone really gets out of junior high without being victimized by someone at some point... even the most "popular" kids have to deal with it.

But this kid got it bad. He was awkward and had a bit of a know-it-all attitude and he didn't wear the right clothes... all of it. He was by every definition, a dork.

In high school he continued to be on the outskirts of social acceptance, but luckily in high school the torment seems to die down and I think in the larger school he found some kindred souls and things probably weren't so bad for him. But he and I were never really friends.

Later on, I discovered that my very own The Man actually had a distant friendship with this guy - a friend of a friend sort of deal. I remember talking with The Man about how ridiculed he was in junior high and how I felt a lot of regret for my part in the bullying that this guy had endured. The Man was somewhat surprised, letting me know that he felt this guy was actually a really nice guy.

After we were all grown up and starting lives of our own, his mom had another baby. A little girl. And as fate would have it, some years later this little girl ended up in my daughter's Brownie troop.

At one meeting his mom arrived to pick up her daughter and I introduced myself. I let her know that I had gone to high school with her son and that my daughter really enjoyed being in the same troop with her daughter.

I remember her eyes lighting up and she reached out and hugged me! She told me that her son had told her so much about me and how happy she was to have met me.

Now, I can only imagine what her son must have said about me... it just couldn't have been good.

But she hugged me and genuinely seemed happy to meet me.

And that really touched me.

Not even a year later I learned that she lost her battle to cancer. Her young daughter and my school mate had lost their mother, who was so obviously a great woman. And it's just boggling how our lives had interconnected over the years and how meeting her changed the way I look at my own life.

It made me look at how I had treated her son, at how The Man had viewed her son so differently than I had viewed him. It made me think about her daughter, so much like my own daughter, having to grow up without her mom. And how, as a mother she could so genuinely accept someone who had previously been cruel to her own son.

The five minutes I spent with her in the living room of my daughter's Brownie leader has changed the way I will raise my own children, an impact that is immeasurable.


Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]

Wow. An incredible story!

Junior high is horrible...I remember it vividly and now I'm re-living it through my (almost) 12 year old daughter. Maybe you weren't as awful to that guy as you think you were...there's a reason why he mentioned you to his mom and why she was so happy to meet you. You just never know...

the_happy_hausfrau said...[Reply to comment]

Oh Beth. I'm crying! What a sad but good story. What a woman. Have you had a chance to speak with the boy in question? I tracked down one of the people I remember being so vicious to all those years ago, on facebook. But haven't gotten the cajones to contact him and apologize. Great post.

The Virtuous Girl said...[Reply to comment]

That was wonderful .. made me cry. We all do things when we are young that would shock our adult selves. How amazing that your lives interconnected so many times/ways. Do you believe that was mere coincidence? Love you.