"She put what on the chalkboard for all the kids to see?" I looked at my son and saw him for what he was. Messy hair capping mischievious blue eyes, a contagious smile and far more germs on those hands than I care to think about it. I saw the bouncy energy that makes me wonder if he some how swallowed a grasshopper whole. I see laughter, dirt, trouble, joy and noise. I see my son; an image of the child I could have been. I see his imperfections perfectly and I see them as perfection when I see them in him. But NOWHERE do I see a child who needs a muzzle.
Perhaps, I'm making more of this than I should be. Perhaps it was a simple statement made to spot like the fact that my child's love of words can be a bit extreme. Perhaps I should simply let it go. Perhaps but I won't. I'll call the school on Monday and discuss the quality of subs that they are bringing in. I'll talk to the principal and tell her my concerns stem from the lack of respect and kindness. But what I won't do is talk to the teacher who said these things to my son. I don't know who she is. I'll likely never meet the woman to felt the need to degrade and judge a child she does not know. So I'll write the words to her here that I wish I could say.
Dear Mrs. (Insert your last name here)
You don't know me but I want to tell you about my son. DJ is the type of child you never forget. He laughs easily, smiles quickly and dances even when there is no music. He loves to push buttons, limits and the rules. He's a bit of a wild child but the very essence of every American boy.
He loves rubber snakes, his old sneakers, big farms, making tents out of blankets and the color green. His whole life he's had asthma. His whole life. Can you imagine how it feels to be a child who loves to play outside in the winter but can't breathe in the air? Do you know how it feels to run so fast but have to stop because you out ran your breath?
Where his lungs are lacking though his heart is not. DJ loves big and loud. He hugs me in the moments I least expect it. When he found out I had been laid off, he came to my house even though it was the night he goes to his dad's. It wasn't until months later that he told me he hadn't wanted me to be alone since I was so sad. Last year for Christmas, DJ asked Santa for my old job back and he gave me socks to keep my feet warm.
He would rather eat muffins than donuts. He flips a dime and says "Heads! You have to be in a good mood!" He won't go to bed without kissing me good night, even when he's mad at me. He dips everything in ranch dressing or ketchup. He fights with his brothers and needs to be reminded to brush his teeth. He hates to lose. He sings...even though he can't. He's louder and more active than my other boys. He talks alot and has the most beautiful imagination ever.
That is my child but even as I read these words I realize that my attempt to capture him for you has failed miserably. You see, you'll never know how it feels to have his arms wrap around your neck. You'll never know how rosy pink his cheeks are after a shower or the fact that he's unquestionably a leftie. My words can't describe how tan he gets in summer, how blonde his hair turns or the solidness of his weight when he plops down beside me on the couch. You'll never know how pale he gets when his asthma is bad. You'll never know him because you'll never take the time. In your eyes, he's just the kid that you think "needs a muzzle". You are missing out on the most amazing child. But then again, I'm not too sure you deserve to know him anyway. I realize that you are missing out on the best part of life....loving it. And sadly, you were mean to one little boy who could teach you how.