Parenting With a Heavy Heart

My heart is so heavy tonight and I just cannot seem to get past the emotions I am feeling. I tried to sleep but my tears won’t stop flowing and and the gut wrenching emotional pain is not letting up.

My 6 year old is the kind of boy I want with all of my heart to raise. He is the kid who when he pulls an opponents flag in flag football, he picks it up off the ground and hands it to the person he “tackled”. If one of his classmates forgets to bring an afternoon snack to school, he shares his snack with them. When his classmates are spending their reward tickets in their school store and one of them is short a bit of being able to get what they want, Jacob offers up some of his tickets to them. He is a kind and gentle boy with such a warm heart and I love him dearly for that. 

We had parent teacher conferences this week and it came to no surprise to us when Jacob’s teacher shared with us how quiet and shy he is in class. He is succeeding in all of the academic areas… reading beyond where he needs to be, scoring high in math, etc. He is, however, painfully shy at school. His Kindergarten teacher brought this to our attention last year and we knew before then that he was shy around adults. He is such a rule follower at school and does not want to take any chances with getting into trouble. At home and with our neighbors and family, we see a different boy. A boy who is outgoing, who laughs a lot and who likes being right there in the middle of the action. It is sometimes hard for me to believe that the boy the teachers talk about and the boy at home are even the same child. Jacob does love school, which I am so happy about. When we are out of school on breaks, he is often anxiously counting down the days until he gets to go back.

When we asked Jacob’s teacher about his friends and recess, she said “Jacob is such a nice kid. At recess he is what I would call kind of a tag-a-long… he isn’t aggressive like the other boys, but he always tries to fit in and do things with the other students.” The concerned mom in me said, “He is playing with other kids though, right? He isn’t a loner playing off in a corner by himself, is he?” She assured us he wasn’t and that he just wasn’t as aggressive about getting into the center of things as some of the other boys.

Today out of the blue I decided to ask Jacob this question… “Jacob, are you ever lonely at school?”. His response shocked me as he has never let on to feeling alone at school. “All the time. I am lonely every single day at both of my recesses. Some of the kids are mean to me and I hate going to recess.” I tried to get more out of him… he named a few names and indicated that part of it was because he isn’t any good at kickball, which is apparently has taken over tag, which was the popular thing to play at the beginning of the school year. My.Heart.Broke. Right then in there, I wanted to snatch him up in my arms and shelter him from this world we live in. I wanted to put a magic shield around him so that he never had to feel alone again. I wanted him to know that someday…hopefully soon… his kindness and warm heart will matter so much more to the world than his ability to play kickball. 

It is official…I hate recess now too. You can bet that each and every day, during those two periods in the day, my heart will be breaking all over again for my sweet boy and I will hope and pray that he is finding his way and is not feeling lonely.

Why does parenting have to leave us feeling so raw? I am certain that the pain he feels, I feel ten fold. I can only hope that he does not feel it as strong as I am feeling it. 

I know that this isn’t my family blog and I typically reserve this type of post for that blog, but for now they are being combined until my mojo returns! I appreciate you listening… I feel better having had the opportunity to get my thoughts out there.

With that, I will leave you with a recipe. A recipe that is so simple… I could only wish that life were the same.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta (from Recipezaar)


30 min | 10 min prep


  1. Boil pasta in water till tender, save 1 cup of pasta water for use later. I always put some oil, salt, and fresh herbs in with my pasta when I boil it. Drain and set aside when done.
  2. While pasta is boiling, wash shrimp.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat. Add shrimp.
  4. Let cook till a little pink and starting to curl. Then add garlic.
  5. Cook 5-7 min., add oil. Continue to stir till shrimp is pink and curled.
  6. Add pasta to skillet. Add seasonings. Add just enough saved pasta water till it is not dry but not swimming in liquid either. Depending on amount of pasta this requires 1/2 the cup or all of it. Start with adding 1/4 of it then work up from there.
  7. Keep tossing all ingredients around in skillet till all is incorporated and hot. Enjoy!

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  1. JSC says

    As a parent and teacher , I feel your pain. I wish social interactions could be more simple for our little ones. Wishing you and all of your family some good Mojo!

  2. Erin from Long Island says

    oh hun, i’m not one to comment much, but this time i can’t NOT say something. it seems like only yesterday i was in your son’s position. i was shy in kindergarten, felt like an outcast by 2nd grade, and by the time i was in 6th grade it had snowballed. there was an “I hate Erin” club formed by then…and guess who the ONLY person who wasn’t in it? anyone i thought was my friend turned their back on me. i only hope you keep an eye on this and step in if it doesnt get better. kids can be downright evil sometimes and would hate to see your son suffer as a result. best of luck

  3. Laura says

    I totally feel for you. As the mom, this must be excrutiating. There were so many times I felt alone at school, especially after we would have moved (my dad was in the military) that I feel like I understand where Jacob is right now. He will be fine! Better than fine, believe me. Kids worlds change in an instant – either a new kid being transferred to his school and them becoming best friends, or these current recess kids taking him more into their fold. It’s hard to feel like you’re the tag-a-long, and that is lonely, but that’s what I did too when first trying to meet people. You have to invite yourself. Be thankful he is strong enough to do that, and not the loner you feared at first. He’s obviously very capable of putting himself out there, standing in the middle of a not-so-fun situation, and dealing with it. Better even than ‘dealing with it’, he’s engaging and trying to make it work. That is a life lesson he will take with him and be able to manage as an adult. We all get into situations we dont like, and some of us are better at understanding, dealing and being patient at those times. Jacob will be more than fine and come out of this an even better person than the one you originally talked of. I would be sure to tell him that you’re proud of him for trying, proud of him for sticking around at recess and joining in the games. School changes so fast, just like it did from tag to kickball. Hang in there (both of you!). :)

  4. says

    My heart is crying right with yours Kristen. It’s not an easy job we parents have – on one side we want to protect them from the big bad world and on the other we want them to be strong and make it in that same world. Would inviting a friend or two home from class after school for a play afternoon help?

    For Soeren who is also a rather sensitive boy this was a great way to make a friend or two. This way they got to know each other out of the school environment and at school played together.

    Kristen, if you need to talk please just email – sometimes it helps when mums cry and lament on each other’s shoulders!

  5. mary says

    I have two shy sons, who are now grown.

    It is soo painful to not go to the school at recess and try to fix this situation for your son!

    But, have your son choose one or two kids and have after school play dates once a week to start. Have them at your house, because Jacob feels safe there. And his “home” personality will come out there.

    That’s what I did for my sons, just let them invite someone over. Little by little, he had someone to play with at recess. It’s a start.

    Good luck, I know how you are feeling. It WILL get better for Jacob.

  6. coco says

    Just know that just like you feel better for having shared your pain, I’m sure that Jacob’s burden is also lighter knowing he has his Mom to share his feelings with. It took SO much for you to try to understand this child the teachers see at school – and to talk to him about it. Hopefully he’ll also share very soon with you that recess is a better time because of a new game that he’s good at!

  7. Nicola says

    I don’t have kids, so I can’t imagine what your going through, but my heart broke reading that and now I just want to pick him up and give him a huge cuddle. I was a very quiet kid at school, take heart from the fact that he is playing and engaging with other kids at school.

  8. says

    Beautifully expressed, sadly true about a mother’s pain.
    Children go through so many phases…remember the terrible twos? Hopefully, this too shall pass, but you did the right thing by opening a dialogue. Give him space, encouragement, and a loving family sitting in a warm, aromatic kitchen filled with goodies that Mommy made to come home to.

  9. says

    I thought when I grew up I would leave painful heart breaks behind. I was so happy to have survived elementary, middle school and high school. And yes it felt like surviving. BUT NO ONE TOLD ME…

    Going through those years with your child can be SO MUCH more painful then when you went through them the first time. The Mother bear comes out, the helplessness of watching your child heart break…breaks yours even more.

    Praying your boy can find one good friend he can hang out with.

  10. says

    I feel for you and Jacob! My oldest is not the most outgoing boy at school and is not very good at playing catch. He’s not a big sports kind of kid – loves baseball, but that seems to be it so far.

    It’s so hard to watch your child be the one who’s not included or asked to join in… Aaron is quite a different kid at home, like your son, so it’s hard to reconcile how he’s not always a part of the “action” at school. I ask each day (gently) who he played with and what they did – sometimes he joins in for tag and those type of games, but that’s about it. He’s got one really good friend who doesn’t like sports either, and when that child is not at school, he tends to come home sadder than on other days.

    I second the suggestion of inviting a friend or 2 over for a play date. I did that recently for Aaron and he now has one more boy who he feels he can go ask to play at recess.

    This parenting thing is so hard to do. Wouldn’t it be easier if there were a handbook so we would have the perfect solution to all of these questions?

    patsyks last blog post..Mom’s Lemon Poppyseed Bread

  11. says

    My heart breaks for you, too. When I think of “school” it is always like a commercial…kids working happily, school pictures, etc. It’s not like that. I worked as an aide for 2 years in the “good” school district here. School can be brutal. What I heard come out of the mouths of 3rd and 4th graders made me cry…literally.

    After our son completed 2nd grade, we made the decision to homeschool. It’s not a decision for everyone, I know, but it has worked beautifully for us. Yes, he still has interaction with kids through sports and school groups, etc. It’s actually made him MORE outgoing.

    Well…if you want any info on homeschooling, please feel free to email me. My email is on my blog. :)

    It sounds like you have a really wonderful boy there! :)

    Bridgets last blog post..Church Bake Sale

  12. says

    K… I am right there with you … and don’t have ANY answers for you.

    Know that you ARE raising a wonderful boy … and those traits and quiet spirit will benefit him as he grows into an adult.

    I too heartily SECOND the playdate suggestion … ask his teacher who another “loner” might be .. intervene (just a bit).

    Keep us posted? (no one minds that you’re posting this over here, I promise!)


  13. says

    As a mom, reading your post just breaks my heart! We always want the best for our kids and for them to be happy, and how heartbreaking to hear that he is lonely! I don’t have any amazing words of wisdom for you, but I do think that it’s great that he’s sharing his pain with you. I’d keep that conversation rolling and as long as he’s willing to talk, you can be the one to listen and heal his emotional pain.

    Sarah Cooks last blog post..Changing Your Ways

  14. Lucy says

    Oh my gosh, my heart is breaking for Jacob,too! Is there a way you can find out what the other kids that don’t play kick ball do? A friend of mine had a similar situation with her son and she found out the other boys were into Bakugan so she bought some for her son and now he’s in the “Bakugan group.” Good luck!

  15. says

    Oh Kristen, I’m so sorry!!!! Kye has those days too sometimes. Makes me want to come over and bully some kids on the playground myself!!! :) I agree with the playdate thing, a playdate with Kye won’t be helpful as they don’t attend school together….ask his teacher who in his class would be a good choice. I would definitely revisit with her again. Hopefully she’s the teacher we all want our kids to have and can help. Recess is hard for all kids sometimes, even the ones who are good at kickball! :)

    Whitneys last blog post..BASEBALL


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