A Bad Man

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“Hitler was a BAD MAN, Mom.”


I almost spit out my latte as I turned left into my driveway. That pronouncement of fact, that absolute, had come from my three-year-old angel riding high in his car seat in the back seat. I turned around to see if somehow he’d grown five inches in the ten minutes since we’d left Starbucks (yes, I’m a bad mom … I put his car seat facing me so I can throw things—oops, I mean hand things—to him when he’s crying).


Nope. Same kid. Same jungle-green romper overalls covering same torn yellow polo shirt. Loved the romper because I could use it to cover all the torn and stained shirts he had and still look like a perfect mom. If the blonde beauties at Mommy and Me only knew what lurked below that romper—and I don’t mean the Pull-ups he insisted on wearing.


And how is it that what he is wearing reveals whether I am perfect or not? Excuse me, but aren’t we separate people? Well, that’s way too introspective for this car ride.


So, I pulled into the garage, turned off the car, threw the keys into my bag, and figured I’d imagined it all until he said it again:


“Hitler was a BAD MAN, Mom.”


Dealing with this was definitely not something they prepared me for in Mommy and Me class. Wheels on the Bus squishing Barbies, sure. Dreams about spiders climbing up water spouts, okay. But Hitler? Yikes!


“Here, hon, take a juice box with you … and by the way, what made you think of that?” Little did I know, that was only the beginning of a voracious, active, always working mind reaching conclusions that often made life difficult for the body and life it inhabited.


That same sweet angel grew into a little boy who wouldn’t accept that his friend was punished … and got punished for him. A middle-schooler who wasn’t recognized for getting the highest grades in his class at graduation, because, as he said, he was also the school’s “poster boy for suspensions.” A high school student who saw a teacher refuse to correct her errors on math papers of other students … and went to the department head about it. An athlete who decided he couldn’t respect a coach who didn’t know the game as well as he did, so got kicked off the team.


Yes, he’s a child of absolutes. A child of rights and wrongs. A child who calls it like he sees it. The phrase “if you’re willing to pay the price” was invented for him and his views.

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