I yelled at a kid last week.
I've never yelled at a kid before. Actually, I lie. I screamed at a total stranger kid 2 years ago. Screamed. Yelled. Threatened bodily harm.
We were at a falls, hanging out together as a family when this rebellious 8 year old hellion started throwing rocks off an upper ledge towards the people below. His mother had very sweetly told him to stop at least 2 times - of course he didn't. Finally, when one of the larger, noggin-size rocks came within inches of hitting Greg's head, I lost it.
Every time I think back on that incident I feel such a major sense of shame and embarrassment - even though I wouldn't change the anger or my yelling. When my protective, hasty side kicks in, I tend not to be so eloquent in my choice of words.
So then last week happened.
I think what set me off most were the messy, charcoal marks running down the sides of my oldest son's face, along with his very red eyes. He's a strong soul and he rarely lets his guard down when he's hurting. So when he does, I know it's bad.
I also knew the culprit. We've had problems with this kid before.
And this time my hasty self reared its ugly head. I didn't waste nonsense with the principal or the teacher this time - instead I went straight to the kid. I walked right up to him - closer than I usually am when speaking with another human being, which is completely necessary because this kid has never acted like a human being towards my oldest. I wanted to make sure he had to look straight up into my face.
And then I let him have it.
And I will confess, I have never wanted to punch someone so badly in my life. But I was very aware that I was flanked by both my oldest sons, plus their friends who were actively backing up my son's story, while the miserable kid denied any involvement whatsoever.
I can't remember exactly what I said, but I know it definitely involved me growling - "LEAVE. MY. SON. ALONE!!!!!"
His mother's on the school board. His dad is some big wig.
I'm probably going to get in trouble.