He narrated the story in clear detail, from how painful the sand was to his eyes to how long the bus ride home took before he could run to hug me. He cried a bit after his story. Lakay and I can only console him from our end.
I knew that one day this would come. At one point, I seriously considered home-schooling him just so I could shield him from all these. But then something happened last week that made me less worried and more hopeful.
My little one has this new friend, E, from Ecuador. They go to the same class together, live in the same building, and have been inseparable for quite some time now. Last week, Lakay brought them to this big kiddie land called Sportoase. While on the bus, my little one suddenly remembered his sad summer school story and related it to his friend. According to Lakay, E's eyes were really filled with sympathy. He even rubbed my little one’s back, the way adults would when they console each other. Then E said, (in Flemish), next time say “Niet doen! Niet doen! (Don’t do it!) or E's mama will get angry!”
I couldn’t help but smile when I heart this. I’m touched by the way four-year-olds could feel for the other, the way they can distinguish good friends from bad, and the unpretentious way they show how they care.
This moving story made me a see a bigger reality than that of bullies. I came home to the truth that school is, yes, a place where kids can get hurt, but it is also a place where good friendships are planted and nurtured. That whole reality should not be taken away from them.