The Little Boy Who Doesn’t Belong

 

Baby Girl is wrapping up her third year of teaching Kindergarten. Her job is about a seven-hour drive from us and there’s not a lot that old dad can do for her from this distance save for the occasional Daddy-How-Do-I-Fix-This-Facetime call. But every spring she bundles up all of the pictures and the videos she’s taken over the course of the school year and ships it to me and I do what I’ve spent a lifetime doing: making a little television.

There’s a lovely song called “Just Be You” recorded by Anthem Lights and I make the kids and their parents a video scrapbook of their first school year built around that song. We can’t distribute it because of copyright reasons, but the limited one-time showing in the classroom at the end of the year is made more complicated by the sad state of affairs the Internet has made in some of the lives of our children.

Among her 18 charges is a little boy called Tommy.* The details of his family life won’t be recounted here but needless to say they are a little messy. Neither his mother or his father are in the picture and Tommy is being raised by one of his grandmothers. He is her’s by court order as neither of the parents is seen as being fit by the state. He’s not just in school, little Tommy is in witness protection. My daughter is under strict orders not to include him in any pictures on the outside chance that a parent or someone associated with the school system might accidentally put his image on the Internet and give one of his parents a clue as to where he is.

“Daddy, it’s horrible. Every time we’re out on a field trip and somebody takes out their phone, Tommy runs and hides behind my assistant,” my daughter lamented to me. “We’ve taught him to be scared of everything!” Group photo? Nope. Hide, little man, hide. You don’t belong here.

My edit always includes an individual picture of every child that my daughter takes on their first day of school along with their name. This year we thought of just doing away with it all, but Tommy’s grandma gave us permission to include him as long as it never ends up on YouTube. In a three and one half minute presentation on Kindergarten Award Day this spring, the little boy who doesn’t belong will belong, if only for four fleeting seconds.

And then it goes down the memory hole never to be seen again. And then the little boy who doesn’t belong becomes the little boy who was never there. Godspeed, Tommy boy. May a fleet of angels protect you for the rest of your days.

*Obviously, Tommy is not his real name.

Published in Education
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 15 comments.

  1. Member

    I want that little boy, but too darn old.

    • #1
    • May 12, 2019, at 5:32 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. Thatcher

    One so young shouldn’t have to cope with “adults” capable of such nonsense.

    Go with God, Tommy. With any luck you’ll grow up faster than your parents.

    • #2
    • May 12, 2019, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  3. Member

    I was telling my wife at lunch today. ” If we could go back to when cell phones only did calls and texts, I would do it in an instant. Society would be so much healthier. ” 

    Yes, I have a pocket computer and use it regularly. I would still give it up to go back. 

    Please God, put a hedge around the precious little boy.

    • #3
    • May 12, 2019, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • 20 likes
  4. Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    One so young shouldn’t have to cope with “adults” capable of such nonsense.

    And yet he is hardly alone.

    • #4
    • May 12, 2019, at 8:16 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    Arahant : And yet he is hardly alone.

    Unfortunately not. In my latter years of coaching Little League one almost needed a family court judge and a pediatrician on the bench to sort out who was allowed to pick your players up from practice and what ADHD meds they were on.

    • #5
    • May 12, 2019, at 8:24 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. Member

    Kiddie calls were, and are the toughest for police officers. I imagine it’s no different for those that work in hospital emergency rooms, and firefighters that are called, and stage a block away from a home until police officers determine that it’s safe to enter the home. I have some memories of those calls that come back from time to time. Things that I saw that meant after a call was completed I got a cup of coffee and found a quiet place to park the car. A cup of coffee and a cigarette. I would stare out into the night in a deserted parking lot waiting for Officer Friendly to reappear.

    God bless you Tommy. 

    • #6
    • May 13, 2019, at 6:37 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. Listener

    Oh the wickedness that lurks in the heart of man. Oh the love in the heart of a Grandmother. May “Tommy” learn to love and how to have a normal life.

    • #7
    • May 13, 2019, at 8:03 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Thatcher

    Something’s wrong with my throat.

    • #8
    • May 13, 2019, at 8:13 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Thatcher

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Kiddie calls were, and are the toughest for police officers. I imagine it’s no different for those that work in hospital emergency rooms, and firefighters that are called, and stage a block away from a home until police officers determine that it’s safe to enter the home. I have some memories of those calls that come back from time to time. Things that I saw that meant after a call was completed I got a cup of coffee and found a quiet place to park the car. A cup of coffee and a cigarette. I would stare out into the night in a deserted parking lot waiting for Officer Friendly to reappear.

    God bless you Tommy.

    You know, every time I read something like this that you write I think of a young man, a police officer, a member of my church, whose oldest child is 13. I think of what he probably sees and hears every day and I pray for him.

    • #9
    • May 13, 2019, at 8:22 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Member

    All I can do is shake my head knowingly. After 20 years as an assistant prosecutor, and another 20 years working for a state Court of Appeals, I’ve gotten tired of seeing these same stories play out again and again. At least I’ve seen the stories at two or more steps removed (unlike the cops, firemen, and child welfare workers who directly deal with them every day). Perhaps, E.J., your daughter could preserve the video and any photographs for “Tommy,” and tell him that one day when he’s older, he can re-claim them.

    • #10
    • May 13, 2019, at 10:23 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Moderator

    I know a guy who has been in a long-running dispute with his ex over the custody of their son. He wants his son full time, his ex will not allow it, though she has violated their agreement any number of times. She uses their son, and children she has had since by other men, all as pawns to maximize child support income. It’s been horrible to watch, as the father loves his son dearly. And he’s hardly the only one in this situation.

    But that’s nothing compared to what Tommy is going through. It’s horrible what people will do to children.

    • #11
    • May 14, 2019, at 6:43 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    And he’s hardly the only one in this situation.

    My brother is going through a divorce now. It can be very rough if one of the players is not interested in cooperation or the best interests of the children.

    • #12
    • May 14, 2019, at 6:47 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Thatcher

    The question passed through my mind just now – “What would someone on the Left Coast think if they read this conversation?”

    Probably that these are all fake comments and the OP was mostly fake because conservatives – fascists – don’t have hearts, everybody knows that!

    • #13
    • May 14, 2019, at 6:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Member

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    The question passed through my mind just now – “What would someone on the Left Coast think if they read this conversation?”

    Probably that these are all fake comments and the OP was mostly fake because conservatives – fascists – don’t have hearts, everybody knows that!

    It’s a funny thing. Most of us have either been on their side in the past or have been exposed to it so much that we know them well. They are not really exposed directly to conservatives and conservative thought. At work, we don’t tend to start conversations about politics. They do. We might not even participate when they start up. They might never know a conservative is beside them. But we always know when they’re close by.

    • #14
    • May 14, 2019, at 6:59 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Member

    I am so aware of this hid and seek game. My parents fought each other for my custody again and again. Then when one of them won over the other, would he/she have a home for me? No, I would be put into another foster home where the other parent had no idea where I was. Then it would be months without me seeing either of them. At age 13 my dad tried to have a home for me for about 5 or 6 months but an aunt interfered so back into another foster home. The Judge was so sick of my parent’s squabbling, that he finally made me a ward of the court at age 14. The foster homes under court jurisdiction were worse than the ones my parents found. I gave up on the whole lot of them at age 16, ran off (again) to San Francisco, found a job and did just fine. Hooked up with my mom again at 17 and she took me to New York with her.

    If I were a younger woman I would become a foster parent to younger children. I did have several teen foster children in L.A. for a short time.

    • #15
    • May 14, 2019, at 7:34 AM PDT
    • 4 likes