I was faced with a bit of a challenge this week. It frustrated me so, that I thought I should share. Forgive me in advance if my potty mouth begins to show. Sensitive eyes may want to go read yesterday’s article.
As parents our goal is to raise good, hopefully happy, self-assured and responsible children. This means teaching them right from wrong, teaching them not to lie, and how to love themselves and how to defend that self-love.
This week my elder son faced a bit a challenge that caused me to have to do something I hate to do in order to keep him happy, confident, and balanced. I had to fake it. A.k.a. I lied to him, and it is something I hate to do.
Long long long story short, Peppito ended up with a pretty severe rash on his face that has left him looking like a vampire that just finished eating. It got progressively worse all week. And every time I would go to look at it or apply medicine he would look at me searchingly, wondering if he should be scared, and I had to plaster on a smile and tell him it was fine. He was fine. He look as handsome as ever. Truth be told, I had no idea. This could scar him. He could be like this forever. Frankly I was terrified. But I faked it, and he stayed happy.
Then Wednesday rolled around. The rash was at its peak, we had just started treatment, and I open his backpack to find a reminder about picture day. On Thursday.
What I said was “crap” and he of course asked “what?” and I just said picture day was the next day. He immediately looked down, saddened. “Oh, because of my face. It’s going to make my picture look bad.” “No, no,” I comforted him, “you look fine. Handsome as ever. Don’t worry about it.” Meanwhile, in my head I am thinking, “fuck, fuck, fuck.” But I faked it, and he bought it, and all was right in the world.
It was when he came home from picture day that I did my worst though. Asked how his day went, and he said fine. Then, as an afterthought, he said, “well, Josh and Collin were calling me The Joker all day, because of how my face looked on picture day.” And my heart dropped. Josh is his best friend. He couldn’t see my face, but inside my mommy dander was up. I said, “were they making fun of you?” And he said, “not really. They were just, kinda, being funny, I guess.” He didn’t seem upset, but this was the scenario I had been fearing from the minute the rash showed up. This is the kind of thing that sticks with a kid. It is going to be in the yearbook for all eternity now. What if the nickname sticks? What if he is scared for life on his face? What if he starts getting bullied over this? I was terrified for him, but I couldn’t let it show. So I faked it.
I told him that I was sure that they weren’t making fun of him, and that they probably thought it was cool, and that I’m sure his picture turned out great, and that his face was already starting to look better. I lied and lied and lied about how I was feeling inside, faking it to make it better.
I hate lying and I hate being fake. It is unfair, and insincere and can ultimately come back to bite you in the ass. I do believe honesty is the best policy about 99% of the time. But when it comes to our kids, sometimes that is just not possible. Sometimes when it comes down to their happiness and mental well-being you just have to fake it. You have to take those fears from their shoulders. You have to grin and bear it. So that’s what I did this week. I faked it, and hopefully my son was none the wiser.
Fake it till you make it, as they say. Or at least until you make it better.