Last spring my son spent a lot of time playing with a boy that I really like. His friend would come to our house and Joe would go to his house. They got along really well and because the boy came from a good family, we encouraged the friendship.
Then, suddenly, they didn't hang out as much. His friend would call him and he'd tell me he didn't really want to play. I wondered why the friendship had cooled. I continued to encourage him to call this friend and he occasionally did, but he often dragged his feet about it. When they'd get together, they had a good time, but Joe was always reluctant to extend the invitation.
Today he wanted to play and he called a couple of friends who were unavailable. I suggested this friend and he said he'd wait for one of his other friends to be available. He was a little moody that no one was available and I suggested this boy again. When he was uninterested I asked him why he didn't want to play with him.
"He said something that..." Then Joe wouldn't finish.
"What Joe? What did he say? Did he use bad language?"
"Then what is it? What did he say?"
"Never mind. I don't want to say. It would hurt your feelings."
After some cojoling and then some insistence, including mild threats, Joe said, "He said you were fat."
Even though I'd been asking him to tell me, I was still a little stunned. Joe was searching my face with concern. "Sorry, Mom. I told him he shouldn't say things like that about people." He put his hand on my arm. "Are you okay?"
And I WAS okay. I know better than anyone of my struggle to lose weight. And so I smiled at Joe and told him it was fine. I wasn't worried about it. I told him I appreciated his concern for my feelings and I always wanted him to be careful with other's feelings.
I gave him a hug and he left to play. Then I cried. A tiny part may have been for the unkind thing said by his friend, but a bigger part of it was for the compassion and sweetness of my son.