Ben was 15 months old this week. Is he ever fun, oh man, you have no idea. Everything is clap-your-hands, laugh-out-loud hilarious, I-want-to-eat-him cute, he's-so-smart amazing. He's a fantastic child, a blessing, pure happiness.
He dances with abandon and my heart nearly explodes. He does the animal actions from Eric Carle's "From Head To Toe" and grins with all his might, his nose scrunching up, his chubby cheeks rising up like rosy little apples. His eyes sparkle. My heart, oh, my heart.
There have been stories in the news recently of child suicides due to depression and bullying. These stories are maybe the saddest things I have ever heard. I can't imagine how these children felt, and try as I might, I can't fathom the pit of despair their parents must be living, the worry and concern they felt as they watched their children suffer, as they tried to help them, tried to save them, and could do nothing to ease their pain.
I found today the blog of one of these kids. It was ripe with pain. My heart is so heavy right now. I wish someone could have made it better for him. I wish he didn't have to feel the words he was writing. I wish he was still alive.
And then I think of my fifteen month old son at home, and I despair that someday someone might try to snuff out the joyful part of him, tease him for wanting to dance with abandon, torment him for perhaps loving the "wrong" person. I see how he loves other kids, how he runs up to complete strangers and shares a toy. Sometimes they shrink away from his boldness and I panic; do they understand that he loves everyone? Are these kinds of interactions going to make him second-guess his friendly instincts? As he gets older, are these interactions going to become more and more obvious, more aggressive, until he is conditioned to not take joy in the company of others?
He has had no taste of meanness or bullying. He's been protected from cruelty but we can't keep him sheltered forever, even though I want to. He has no idea how awful humans can be to each other. He trusts everyone. It's a beautiful way to see the world, and I love watching him make his way. I hate the thought that he can't stay like this forever, because he's perfect.