All kids have firsts. Their first word, first step, first time they tell you they love you, first birthday, first kiss, first date, first drunken bar fight, and countless others. Some firsts are good firsts. But some, not so much. Of all the firsts Dylan has had, yesterday he had one I didn’t want to witness. The first time getting beaten up
We were at the YMCA for Play Pals. They have the gym open and lots of toys and the kids play. They have one of those large inflatables that the kids crawl on. Dylan loves bouncing on it and climbing the ladder to go down the slide. It was the same thing we had gone to many times before. Both him and Megan were having a great time.
I was watching both but Megan was playing on a slide so I went over to the inflatable and peeked in. I saw another boy, bigger than Dylan, grab him, shove him into a corner, and he proceeded to punch Dylan in the chest and stomach over and over again. It wasn’t play fighting cuz I could hear the kids fists hitting my son.
I yelled “HEY!!!!” and tore around to the other side where I could get in to help Dylan who was now crying VERY hard. Another woman was in there already and had grabbed the kid and pulled him away as I got onto the platform. I grabbed Dylan. She wasn’t his mom but said she was going to go find his mom. Dylan was crying pretty hard and this other woman kept asking the kid who his mom was. He eventually pointed her out, and to my surprise, it was a YMCA staff member. Lovely.
Both myself and the other woman told the staff member that her son had been punching Dylan. She grabbed her kid, apologized to me saying “I don’t know what’s wrong with him the last few days” and then handed him off to what I assume was the kids father and told him to take him out of the gym. Dylan was still very upset and that feeling stuck with him for a good part of the day.
Let me tell you, my blood was BOILING when I saw those punches being thrown. I was SO mad. It took a great deal of restraint for me to not do something to that other kid because, and pardon me for being blunt, NOBODY fucks with my kids. I would still have been upset had I not seen it with my own eyes, but to actually witness it happening is a whole other story.
The instinct to protect your children definitely kicked in. Beyond anything else I have experienced as a dad, I can definitely say that I could feel that pure instinct of defense inside of me. It also made me feel a little sad because the reality is, you can’t protect them from everything.
The one thing I think that scares me more than anything is that when the kids start going to school, this kind of thing can happen more. I know because I went through it myself. I don’t want to think about the possibilities as I just have to trust that the kids are going to be fine, and that they are safe.
Until then, I keep an eye on them and I keep them safe. When they get into their first bar fight, they’re on their own.