In the past I’ve written about how my son has a baby doll, aka “Plastic Baby”, and that he sees himself with her as ‘training to be a daddy.’ It’s something that I’m quite pleased with and have even included it a bit in the movie. But yesterday, something happened that really kind of shook me up about it.
We were eating dinner last night and my wife informed me that a notice had come home from Kindergarten inviting our son to bring something ‘important to him’ to school for show-and-tell and he had decided to bring “Plastic Baby” with him. Charlie had planned out a whole speech he was to give to his class about his beloved doll, who was presently dressed in a bright, pink nightie and I began to worry.
You know, it’s one thing to go out on a limb in this blog or in the film about things that I believe in, but when it’s your own kid who is vulnerable and sensitive and so innocent…well, I just kept imagining in my mind the kids making fun of him and Charlie coming home absolutely devastated. I worried so much, in fact, that I even had a nightmare about it. There was Charlie, hysterical, in my dreams, being held down by a larger boy, his loving “Plastic Baby” torn from him, his innocence disrupted.
Okay, I realize that in the big scheme of things, no matter what happened at school this day, he would come out okay – and frankly, I was much more nervous about it than Charlie. But it was with great trepidation that I sent him to school with his ‘baby’. I intentionally picked this black shirt for him to wear with a skull insignia over his chest and let him don his brown fedora (the one he likens to my own.)
And so I dropped him off at Kindergarten; then three hours later I picked him up, bracing myself for a child in duress. Yet, to my surprise, Charlie came rushing out of his school with the same delight he always did. I asked him how it went with his doll and he told me it was “great!” and we walked home. If there were some hard knocks about this, it wouldn’t come this day – most likely due to his really wonderful teacher’s influence.
Now, reflecting on this whole story, I am reminded once again that no matter what I do or how much I try to protect my children, they’re going to experience adversity in this world and at the end of the day, all that I can do is pick them up when they’re knocked down, brush the dirt off their pants, reassure them that they’re going to be okay and tell them that I love them.
So, good for you, Charlie, for ignoring your father’s concerns about bringing your ‘baby’ to school today. I’m proud of you.