At a place that shall remain nameless on a day and at a time that shall remain shrouded, a young man, slightly older and much larger than Oscar, took it upon himself to share his thoughts on my oldest son’s name:
Ha, ha. Oscar?! Do you eat garbage? Like Oscar in the trashcan? Ha, ha, ha.
My son handled it with more aplomb than I ever would have expected, and, to be honest, more aplomb than I. So, this post is not about his reaction to the unfortunate but all-to-prevalent teasing that is the bane of childhood.
It’s also not about bullying or teasing in general.
Or about how in an instant a typically reasonable adult human being can be reduced to a very unreasonable shell of her former self.
Edgar, when he had my ear and was away from Oscar’s, asked: “Mom, that boy wasn’t being nice to my brother, was he?”
I said no, that he was making fun of his brother’s name and that that was unnecessary and unkind.
Edgar thought for a minute, and then–in a moment of sibling solidarity–said, “I’m going to have to beat that kid up. I can make fun of Oscar, but that kid can’t.”
Edgar walked off and left me thinking. Of course, we don’t encourage or accept violence as a way to solve problems or deal with issues. But despite his stated method, which I can correct, Edgar’s pitch-perfect reaction was precisely that–perfect. He loves his brother, does not want to see anyone hurt him, and stands ready to defend him.
Oscar may or may not want Edgar’s–or anyone else’s–defense as he negotiates life’s challenges; but it has to be an extreme comfort to know his brother is there, in his corner and ready to metaphorically beat away the bullies.
Oscar is the oldest, incredibly responsible and reasonable, and isn’t plagued by epilepsy or ADHD; so, I have always assumed that in their relationship Oscar would be the only one doing the protecting.
What a relief to know I was wrong.