The bully. Parenting and the bully. This can be a doozy for all of us; the forever continuing conflict over time; the thorn in our parenting side; the papercut of all childhood papercuts; the Oscar the Grouch on our very own streets – the bully.
I will never forget my first bully. Oh sweet nostalgia.
One sunny fall morning of my 4th grade year I woke up and greeted the day like I was the lead in a Sunny D commercial. Arms outstretched with an I had a great night sleep yawn I was ready to tackle the day and see the man I believed to be the very best teacher ever! He was so nice, so old, so funny and so forgiving; his smile made me feel as if I curled up into a warm cherry pie and school was good again. I remember bouncing out of bed, picking out my terrible neon outfit, skipping a Lou downstairs for breakfast and watching The Great Space Coaster. I had a note from my dad to get on the yellow bus after school with my best friend and Doritos in my lunch -This day was going to win the award for the best day in our planet’s history!
Unbeknownst to me there was a disturbance in the force – I know this is not a reference from Marvel but it works! I have done my research and have a son who is a professional Marvel and DC master; I will let you decide if I wrap this up with Comicon perfection! Now back to the disturbance.
After I squished my backpack in the narrow locker and nervously waved a hidden pinky finger at my crush (nailed it!) I walked into the classroom towards my desk. I smiled at my buddies who all sat in a row next to me and as quickly as a lightbulb burns out every familiar face looked down at their desk and pretended not to see me. The blood in my body went straight to my feet and so I was paralyzed. I was confused. I said hi one more time and still the silence seemed to get louder and louder as if I had a thunderstorm in my brain. I began to turn so red and my skin felt so hot I assumed what people saw was a 9 year old going up in flames and not the proud 80’s vision of Punky Brewster I thought I brought into room 22. I then looked hard at my best friend until she looked back up at me; she moved her eyeballs to the right and mouthed the words ‘She made us do it. I’m sorry.’ I understood. We all understood. I sat down in my seat completely defeated.
I tore up the bus note and rode my own bus back home. I stayed in my room until my dad got home and then sobbed the Pacific all down his crisp work shirt.
“ACH! Pay no attention to her Jessie; she is not worth your time and that’s not a true friend.”
He could have told me the sky was blue and the grass was green and still the logic and truth was as blurred as my vision through the salty ocean in my eyeballs.
The next day I woke up, stubbed my toe, forgot to snap buttons on my shirt and didn’t brush my hair. I told my dad I had a fever of 300 degrees and therefore could not attend school and probably needed to stay home for the rest of my life.
My dad got on his knees, put his hand under my chin and lifted my face upwards as if we were in a Hallmark movie, and repeated, “Pay no attention to her Jessie; She is not worth your time and that’s not a true friend.”
When I got to school my best friend grabbed my hand and said, “She’s stupid” and we walked into class together.
That day I found my Captain Marvel; justice was served. In every DC and Marvel movie the bad guy never really goes away; hence, the continuous success of the multi billion dollar franchise of the SuperHero Movie. Nonetheless, there will always be a Yon-Rogg; there will always be a bully. As a parent we need to teach resilience through what will be unavoidable. I wish we could all put the Incredible Shrinking Captain Marvel in our children’s pockets, but we can’t. What we can do is help them find their own Captain Marvel, in whatever shape or form that may be, and continue to tell our kids that good will always win over evil. That is the reason the bad guy always falls off a cliff or disintegrates into thin air at the end – he/she is never worth our time.