Looking back on my childhood, I can remember many occasions where I learned some lessons about life, and what it means to be an adult. Some of these lessons were good. But I think the ones that are burned into my memory the most are the bad lessons. The ones that hurt.
That's the way it is, right?
Today, I think, I witnessed my oldest son learning one of those lessons. Maybe he'll forget about it. But more than likely, this will be something he keeps in his mind. I only hope it falls into the "what not to do" category instead of the "this is how grownups treat kids" mentality.
When I signed the kids up for baseball, I did it online. I found that very convenient. I do not know, had I signed them up in person, if we would have been given a packet of guidelines or not. I do know that we encountered some rules and practices that we had never done before. For example, all boys bring their own helmets. All helmets must have the face protector too.
A few weeks ago, one of the umps made Fritz give him his watch. I guess the boys aren't allowed to wear watches during the games. Fritz has made sure to keep his watch in the car from then on. At the end of that inning, Billy reminded Fritz about the watch and the ump gave it back.
Last week, Fritz's coach noticed his scapular. It is a unique scapular-and-rosary-combination made from a molded brown plastic. Unique, but cheap. He got it years ago when we lived in Kansas. It is blessed and he was enrolled at the time in the brown scapular. He wore it for a while, then stopped, but then started wearing it again months and months ago.
Apparently, it's not just watches but all jewelry that is forbidden (risk of breakage). So, the coach, rightly, I suppose, took the scapular. They both forgot about it, and Fritz went home without it. I don't know when exactly Fritz remembered it, but I do know that he came home from practice on Sunday evening upset that the coach still had it. I think he was hoping the coach would have remembered it and returned it without prompting.
At the conclusion of the game today, knowing that sometimes we adults have other things on our minds and don't always remember the contraband necklace that we pocketed a week ago, I told Fritz to ask his coach for his scapular. The rest of us went on ahead to the van and loaded up. When Fritz joined us a minute later, he looked crushed.
"What did he say?" I asked.
"He said he didn't take my necklace," the poor boy replied.
As an adult, I know that the man simply forgot all about it. As a mother, though, I know how Fritz sees it: the coach stole his scapular and lied about it. It is one thing to hear about other people who do wrong things, and we did discuss this situation. It is quite another to be the victim of an injustice. This is the age where children begin to learn that adults make mistakes, they aren't perfect, they fail you. It is, unfortunately, all part of growing up.