Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Make a Scene

So much has been said about bullying in the past few months. I love seeing people like Ellen using her celebrity to bring attention to how bullying can affect a child. The girls who bullied me in high school did it with such perfect manipulation and judgement that I couldn't even tell someone how badly it hurt me because I wasn't even sure how to explain their actions. I just knew I was alienated and alone. Sure, I was a drama nerd, but even drama nerds shouldn't have to eat their lunches in the bathroom. No one should.
Then came the dad in the Orlando area who got onto his daughter's school bus and went all "Florida" on the kids, threatening every child with death or severe pain if any one of them bullied his little girl. Extreme? Sure, but the kids were taunting her, hitting her, pulling on her ears, smacking her bottom, and even throwing things like condoms at her head for weeks. Now that I have Abe, I can't exactly say I would do much differently if I knew my little boy confided in trusting adults that kids were hitting him on the bus and no one did a damn thing about it. Who else will protect my kid?? And now that dad is facing jail time because he stood up for his baby when no one else would. (Sort of a parent's job, wouldn't ya say?) Where are the parents of the bullies? I don't see them facing any consequences.
Since becoming a parent, my brain has been flooded with memories of my father (who passed away when I was 7) that were long since buried. And when bullying became a hot topic in the media I was reminded of an ordinary school night when I was about 5 years old. My dad was all of 5'4", maybe? He was broad-chested and had a firey spirit (yep, that's where I get it). I came home one day and told him that a big boy on the school bus was bullying me. The boy was in 2nd grade and he would tug on the lace of my pretty clothes and laugh at me, or flick my hair and call me a baby. I was terrified of this boy and everytime I got on the bus I felt like I was going to throw up. My dad told me the best thing to do is ignore the bully and sit far away from him. I think my parents told the bus driver because she always tried to make sure I wasn't seated near to him, but she had a whole bus to worry about. Moving away from him worked for the most part.
One night my dad asked me if I wanted to go out for I-C-E C-R-E-A-M. He spelled it and because I was only 5, I had to write the letters one by one on a piece of paper and try to decipher his message. I figured it out in a few minutes and shouted, "ICE CREAM!!!!" The moment we walked into the ice cream place, I saw him. The bully was waiting to get ice cream, too. I whispered, "That's the bully." My dad looked at me and I saw a flame light in his eyes. He turned around and, rather loudly, asked me, "Him? That's the bully?" I think the bully was taller than my dad, but that didn't matter. My dad marched up to him and started SCREAMING right there in the middle of the ice cream place. I only remember him saying, "YOU SEE THIS LITTLE GIRL? IF YOU EVER..." , and then I remember both the boy and his mom running out of the ice cream place before they even got ice cream. He didn't bother me anymore after that.
I hope more parents start standing up for their kids instead of waiting for the schools to do it for them.
I remember feeling so safe and protected by my dad. He did what a lot of parents would be too scared to do. He made a scene. I can't say that I will chase any kids out of an ice cream store, but I can tell you that if anyone bullies my boy for any reason at all, I know how to make a scene. A pretty big one. And I'll do it.


  1. What broke my heart even more was that the little girl has cerebral palsy. I don't know if that even matters, really, as no kid deserves to be bullied, but somehow it adds an edge. To be sure, I can't imagine not protecting your children when others won't, and I think my dad would do the same for me. And I'll do the same for my kids if needed.

  2. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I love your dad!!!! <3