About a month and a half ago, I suddenly noticed that the skin around my lips was very dry, flaky, and red. I attributed it to seasonal weather changes and sensitive skin, generously applied various moisturizing agents, and tried to be patient until it cleared up. Except it never did. I finally admitted that it wasn’t going away on its own and made a dermatologist appointment.
I have a typically long wait for an appointment (May 14th) and am bracing myself for the hours of my life that I will waste in the waiting room. In the meantime, I did some Googling and figured that the condition was due to either rosacea (which I have), a fungal infection (Christ, I hope not), or a food allergy (dear God, no). So I refilled a prescription for a roasacea medication that I let lapse a few months ago in the hopes that that would help. The flakiness has subsided, and the area feels better, but the redness is still there and it’s really embarrassing. I feel like I look like a clown, which sucks because a) I’m not a clown and b) I really, really hate clowns.
Anyway, yesterday was kind of brutal. I greeted the day on basically no sleep because of an hours-long thunderstorm that kept me up all night. Normally, I sleep through those but for whatever reason this storm demanded a bleary-eyed audience.
As I stumbled into work, my phone rang. It was the principal of my son’s school. I realized that if my son was sick, she wouldn’t be calling me, so that meant that someone was in trouble.
He had gotten into an argument on the school bus with his friend and had decided to kick his friend in the shins. Only he missed somehow and managed to kick his friend in the neck. I’m still not clear on the physics of this situation, but whatever.
My face turned as red as my clown lips as I realized, “My kid is a terrible bully and I am the worst mother ever.” The principal, however, didn’t seem too annoyed since the baby had already apologized to everyone ever and started crying because he felt so bad. And his friend, thankfully, was not hurt and had accepted the baby’s apologies. I silently thanked myself for never having enough time to sign him up for karate lessons. I was able to talk to him on the phone for a second. He sobbed as I reminded him that it’s not okay to get physical, especially not with your friend, and told him we would discuss it later.
Now, I understand that this was just a disagreement between friends that went to an immature and irrational place, and I don’t actually think that my kid is a bully. It’s just weird for me because when I was a kid, I was always the one to shrink away from conflict and, as a result, was often the target of teasing.* So I don’t really understand his perspective. On the one hand, I’m glad (?) that he seems ready to stick up for himself, which I never did, but on the other hand, I really don’t want him picking on anyone.
Later, when we finally got a chance to talk about it, I asked him if his friend was okay and if he was upset with him. “Yeah, I told him I was sorry,” he said. “We’re still broskis.” So, that was comforting. I would hate to see two broskis torn apart by a lapse in judgment.
* I’m happy to report, however, that I’m not bitter about all that stuff and finally stopped dwelling over it years ago since I know the people who teased me probably don’t remember it at all.