I've mentioned before how there is a park close to our house that we can access via a gate that we lock and unlock when we want to go to a from. We are in a very safe and secure neighborhood filled with lots of families and new friends. Davis quickly became popular with many of the kids, their parents, and nannies. One day in our first weeks here I came home from work and witnessed an interesting scene before making my presence known: I stopped near the entrance to my home when I heard people yelling Davis' name. Then I saw 4 or 5 kids and one maid standing near the park gate yelling "Dah-vees! Dah-vees!" Why were they yelling for him? Almost instantly I saw Davis burst out out of the front door and run out to them. Then I made myself known and joined Davis with these other kids. They were trying to tell him that he left his bike in the park. It was parked under the farthest tree and had been out there all afternoon. The kids were heading home and wanted to tell him about it so he wouldn't lose it. And even though the nanny only spoke Spanish and mine was terrible then, I had no problems understanding her lecture to us both.
Here is what she said even though I don't know what she said:
"You and your son need to do a better job of keeping up with your stuff. His bicycle was left out here and if we weren't here to watch it for him then someone could easily steal it. That is a nice and expensive bike and he just left it there. And his helmet! (handing me the helmet) This is a nice helmet and is was just laying on the ground! You both need to be more responsible in this park and do a better job of taking care of your things."
I could be overstating it, but I know a butt chewing when I get one, no matter what language it is in. And she chewed me out.
Actually though, wasn't that nice of them? Yes it was. And it allowed me to teach Davis a lesson and for us to establish a household rule early on here that you can't leave your stuff in the park. He was saved by the goodness of strangers with good hearts.
Lesson learned? Not quite. After all, he was 8. I know that when you're 8 and you're craving strawberries (This was his excuse for leaving it outside) it might be easy to forget your belongings. Lord knows that when I was his age, I lost and forgot stuff all the time. I. Was. The. Worst. My poor mother.
Weeellllll, flash ahead 5 months, now he is 9, to this past weekend. I have some bad news: Davis left his bike in the park on Sunday night and on Monday morning when it was time for school he drew a very scared blank look. He ran outside to the park and it wasn't there. He burst into tears. The bike is gone. We are all upset by this. We don't have a car here and biking was a big part of his life. No more riding to school, no more rides along the Malecon, no more loops around the park, no more bmx track, no more bike.
Super sad face.
OKAY. The reason I'm sharing this story with you is more for me and my parental processing than for entertainment value. When Davis hurts, I hurt with him. It is involuntary. My maternal, mommy-kisses, gut feeling when Davis first burst into tears after discovering it was gone was to wrap my arms around him and tell him that everything would be okay and we'd get him a new bike.
But I know that isn't best. He won't be getting a new bike anytime soon. If he wants a new bike, he has to earn it. This will be a great lesson for him in the long run.
Sometimes it takes losing something valuable to recognize that it was ever valuable to you in the first place. We had fair warning from the universe when the good Samaritans returned the bike the first time. The lesson and dangers were thoroughly discussed and analyzed. He knew that if it happened again, he probably wouldn't be so lucky and that mommy and Mr. Bryan wouldn't bail him out. And while it hurts my heart to say this....I'm going to have to let Davis hurt right now. I don't know much about anything, but I think this is what growing up means. (Am I talking about him or me now?)
This is a lesson for us both. He is going to have to feel the pain and responsibility of losing something so valuable. And I am going to have to feel the pain and responsibility of letting my son fail so that he can ultimately succeed.
This year is about so much more than Peru...