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Son, You Don’t Need To Change Your Name: An Open Letter To My Kindergartner

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Dear Dominic,

I was so excited to pick you up from school today. All day long, I thought about the adorable outfit you picked out to wear and I couldn’t believe I didn’t get a picture. You have the best sense of style, you are seriously so cool. I was hoping and praying you still had your “accessories” on when I got there so I could snap a picture. So imagine my surprise when, as we drove away, our conversation proceeded like this:

Dom: “Mama, can I have a new name?”

Me: “Huh??”

Dom: “A new name, can I have one?”

Me: “Well, why do you want that? Daddy and I spent a lot of time picking out a name that we love and hoped you could be proud of. Don’t you like the name Dominic?”

Dom: “Well, yeah. It’s a good name. I like it.”

Me: “Okay, so why would you want to change it?”

Dom: “Because there’s a boy at school named Logan (I’m coming for you, kid) and he calls me “Dumb-inic”

Now, you probably don’t know this yet, because you’re 5… but when people mess with your babies, it creates a rage unlike anything you thought you were capable of feeling. So you should be impressed by the way I kept my calm while we were talking. Not once did I tell you to punch him in the face (even though that’s exactly what I want you to do.) Heck, that’s exactly what I want to do.

As I sit here and recount our conversation today, I’m remembering the lifetime full of lessons and reminders I tried to squeeze into our drive home, knowing you would take off running the minute we pulled into the driveway and your attention would no longer be mine. I told you that it’s important to always be kind, even when others are not kind. I told you that we treat others with respect, even if they don’t seem to deserve it. I taught you the value of using your words and not your hands… not just to tell your teacher, but to tell this boy, Logan, that you don’t appreciate the way he’s talking to you. I told you that boys who don’t care to be kind and treat their friends with respect, aren’t the kind of friends we want anyways, so you don’t have to care what he thinks or says about you.

Me: “Do you think you’re dumb?”

Dom: “No! I’m smart! I can count to 100!”

Me: “That’s right. So does it really matter if Logan calls you “Dumb-inic?”

I faintly heard a “no” as you ran off to check the mail, all but completely forgetting the ugly words hurled your way today. We went about our evening, eating dinner, playing with your baby brother, bubble baths… but as night falls and you settle into bed, the house goes quiet and my thoughts continue to linger.

Have I done enough? Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much you are loved? Can you feel it even when we’re apart? Do you carry my love with you during the day? Can you feel it strong and steady enough to use as an armor against bullies like Logan?

Do these questions plague every parent, or am I alone in worrying whether I’ve given you each and every single tool you need for this world. Have I given you enough hugs and kisses? Is there such a thing as enough?? Have I given you the self-confidence you need to succeed?

Sure, I recognize that Logan is probably just teasing you, and that this is a small thing. But it just makes me realize that you’re leaving the comfort and safety of our little family bubble. This is just a little glimpse of what could be to come and nothing in my life is more important than making sure you’re prepared. Not everyone will be nice. Not everybody will like you… I know that sounds crazy, because you are absolutely THE COOLEST… but some people just don’t know cool people when they meet them.

Will you do me a favor? The very first time you meet someone who decides they don’t want to be your friend, or heaven forbid they even decide they are going to tease or make fun of you…. You stand tall and remember how happy you make me, just by being you. As you turn away from ugly people, think about how beautiful you are, and how much better you make my world.

You, Dominic, are so incredibly special. And not in the way that we carelessly throw that word around… I mean, you are truly something magical. Your smile literally sets my heart on fire.

So tomorrow, and everyday after that, while I’m still trying to figure out how to be the Mom you need, you just keep being you. Because you, my child – are pretty freakin’ rad. And I love you mucho.

Love, Mom

Leah-sannar-dominic-owen

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