My heart crumbled when I watched the older boy shove him down, grab his toy, and run away with the other children. My son’s lip puffed out, then was immediately sucked in and bit down on as he balled up his tiny body and fought back tears. I rushed over to him as I pushed down my own ball of tears lodging itself in my throat.
I wrapped my arms around my son and rocked him, feeling so helpless and triggered by my own memories of rejection.
Then, the little boy who had pushed him down returned, handed my son his toy and asked him if he wanted to kick a ball. My tiny man hopped up smiling and ran after the boy howling the toddler cry-of-joy.
I stayed on the grass, continuing to rock myself.