And by that I mean, they can suck all the joy and happiness out of a room. Seemingly, with very little effort.
The FPK has been on one of those upswings that feels a bit like a no-hitter. You hate to even mention how well things are going, for fear it will come crashing to an end.
Graduation brought on a bit of existential angst, as the reality of life post-high school stared back. But after a couple of weeks, the fear and anxiety turned into avoidance, which finally morphed into a plan.
With a plan came some confidence, and a willingness to take some chances. Today, one of those risks involved trying out some new clothes, the sort that attract more attention.
Not being a student of fashion, this attempt was not perfect, so it was just a matter of time before someone outside the circle of friends made fun. In a really obvious way. At a restaurant.
There was no way for this rude person to know how hard it was for the FPK to get dressed and go out in public- the layers of anxiety we have to push through every day. Nor could her friends who joined in the mocking know how close they were to witnessing a panic attack.
It sucks that I had to remind my kid that mean people don’t get to define our worth, no matter what they are teasing us about. And that the best way to show defiance was to stop slouching and put those shoulders back, standing tall and proud of who you are today.
The jerks left as we paid. While the FPK went to hang with the gang, I claimed the table where the mocking had started. I looked around the room, wondering how many other hard days, big risks and tender hearts were behind the faces I could see. And I wiped the table clean.