Seeing as the snow continued to pour down out of the heavens, and we had once again been cooped up in the flat until noon, I decided to take the boys down to the beach to an indoor soft-play centre called "Ramboland". This place is the epitome of cheesiness, with life-sized murals of Sylvester Stallone as Rambo painted all over the walls. It is also, however, Adam's favourite place, probably because we don't go there very often. No real reason, except that we usually either walk to the close one (especially when the roads are covered in ice and slush), or drive to the farther ones to use up more time and see a bit of country. Ramboland also has the benefit of being next door to Burger King, just in case you need a bit of sustenance after your play.
As we walked through the gates I had the simultaneous joy at noticing we were the only ones there, and disappointment as four moms with at least 3 kids each came in just behind us. Oh well, makes for a bit of entertainment, I thought. Little did I know!
It quickly became apparent that the kids had observed Adam's "differences", and though he didn't pay them a bit of attention they proceeded to run away from him, follow him around, and generally behave like idiots. All the while Adam was merrily doing the loop and really enjoying himself, so I didn't pay too much attention until Caleb came up to me and said "Those kids are saying we're monsters, but we're not monsters at all." I knew exactly who they were calling a monster, and that's when I stopped focusing on my book.
I'll skip the details, but suffice it to say that for an hour and a half I watched the kids acting stupid and their moms being totally blase about it. Finally I put down my book and went to play with Adam and Caleb, feeling that little bit protective, and when the boys (about 8-9 years old) were staring at us from above I lost it. "YOU! (I pointed to one) GET MOVING!" And I indicated with my hand that he could take a hike. No fingers, just move it along. I did the same with another who was watching, and added, more for my sake than anything, "LEAVE HIM ALONE, I'M SICK OF IT!!"
Well, next thing I know he's running to mama and crying at top volume. At which point I stalk over and give it to him and the moms all at once. The only defense they offered is that "they are just children", at which point I asked one "Do you know what it feels like to watch your child being treated this way?" She had nothing to say. A little while later they left, and I turned my back on them all as they went out the door.
I would like to say that I'm proud of this, but I'm not. I'm glad that I defended Adam, that I had the words to say, and just enough righteous anger, to make them hit home. I hope that every one of the kids and moms learned a lesson, but the reality is they probably didn't. I know that even though Jesus turned the tables in the temple, that was only one example of pure-D anger out of so many other examples of being patient, forbearing, gently instructive and teaching the people who didn't understand Him at all.
The real irony of the whole affair is that usually Adam has trouble and pushes kids, and it's him that I get cross with. But yesterday he was good as gold, not once doing anything wrong.
I wish I could follow Adam's example, of doing his own thing despite what other people are saying or doing about him. I wish more that I could know he would be able to live his whole life in peace with other people protecting him. Maybe that's most of all what brought out the Rambo in me. And maybe I'll have to keep fighting a bit more, and of course loving, teaching, forgiving and encouraging others to be different. Hmm, now I know why Rambo had a machine gun.
And that's why we had ice cream in the freezing cold at Burger King afterward. And it tasted very good.