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. says

    Kristen, I totally understand your feelings. As a parent but almost more from Jacob’s perspective. What you describe sounds so much like me. I was so painfully shy as a child. I heard my parents say it and discuss it and worry over it often. I had a few friends but often felt lonely or picked on. Even when things were stolen out of my lunch, I wouldn’t tell. The teachers expressed concern to my parents. I think the hardest part was watching my mom try to “fix” it and talk about it and stress about it. I KNEW what she was saying and stressing about. I felt like I was disappointing her and that made it hurt more for me. Junior high was the worst. High school I started having my own friends and interests but still tagged after the popular kids because my mom wanted me to be friends with them and be popular. I would say just be sure to not show him how much it hurts you because I DO think it is hurting you more.

    Most people I meet do not consider me shy now though. It took a while but I think I still have those same insecurities and it is harder to make good friends. I worry all the time about my kids having friends but have a hard time making the initiative for fear of rejection. At the same time, I feel we are not invited to playdates unless I make the initiative so I wonder … But I am working on overcoming those old childhood feelings.

    Best of luck to you and Jacob.

    Nicoles last blog post..Soup and Salad – Food and Friends for Fall

  2. DeLynn says

    Bless his heart!! My heart aches for both of you!! You were so good to me when Sarah left for college and you don’t even have any near that age yet! Here is a big hug for both of you!

    It is so hard when we see our children hurt. One nice thing about kids is things can and will change day by day.
    Keep an eye and ear out and if need be talk to the teacher. Usually these things straighten themselves out….and all is well….till the next thing comes along!

    Best of luck with it and hope you are feeling better with that baby #4.


  3. Brady says

    I completely understand. My son is not shy, but he is smaller than all the other boys. He can’t always keep up and my heart breaks for him. This past week, a bigger boy broke his arm at school. I think my son cried as much for being bullied as he did for the physical pain. I want nothing more than to keep him home and hold him in my arms forever, but he loves school and his friends. I know he will grow and catch up to the other boys. Until then, I feel the ache in my heart every day when he goes to school. I completely understand.

  4. Kathy says

    Kris–the kids life is easy for are asking folks if they want fries with that–I remember when James’ face started breaking out, in 5th grade, pleading with the Lord, I didn’t understand why he couldn’t get a break. And then I felt very strongly impressed that he needed this challenge to become what the Lord has planned for him to be.

    Which still sucks. You want me to beat those other kids up?

  5. says

    Oh geez, I am right there with you. Having a very, very warm-hearted six year old boy myself, however he’s a crazy chatterbox everywhere, I can imagine how your heart sinks. Maybe you could get a ball and kick with him every day until he builds his confidence. Maybe you’ll feel proactive. Overall, it sucks when your child is so sweet and knowing there is a little sh*t at school being mean to them…oh my gawd don’t even get me started. Talk to the teacher about the names he mentioned and don’t back down. I had to do it this year and it worked.

    noble pigs last blog post..Let Me Show You Something

  6. Julie says

    My heart aches for you and Jacob both. Calvin and Simon think Jacob is so awesome and ask all the time when they can all play again. I hope things get better.

  7. says

    It sounds like your parent/teacher conference went just like mine.

    I just keep reminding myself (and I’ve commented before), parenting is like being punched in the stomach and heart at the same time.

  8. says

    My heart is breaking for both of you. It is so hard in the cruel world out there. My younest went through this. Painfully shy and a bit awkward out in the real world, and everything in you is screaming “No!”. Childhood should be simple and joyfull, I know. Hang in there. Play Kick ball with him so that maybe he can learn. Love on him. Invite someone over that he choose. Get to know some of the moms and see if you can’t help him make a friend through them. I have been known to create positive situations for my kids so they could get the feel of success. Hang in there, and just be there for him. Find an interest for him that he can get involved in, whether it be sports, or academic, or some kind of club. Have parties and become the cool mom.
    Be proactive, that is the best thing at this age.

  9. says

    Kristin you are doing such a FANTASTIC job as a mother, so much so that it almost seems trite to try to give you advice about this, however, I couldn’t help but see so much of myself in your little boy!

    I was lonely, a loner, shy, embarrassed, and completely unsure of myself as a kid. Again, I was completely different at home. I hated school {not like crazy longer style in a black cape, but you know what I mean!}. I didn’t feel like the other kids gave me the freedom to be who I really was inside.

    You start school and immediately you are labeled and put into a box that you can’t escape until you are older and leave for college.

    School days were INCREDIBLY difficult for me. But I grew so much as a person through those difficult times. I knew who I REALLY and TRULY was because I only had myself, my family, and my Lord to lean on. Others leaned on their friends and let the pettiness and bitchiness develop their shallow characters. I’m serious. I look back now on how much I was tried and tested, and I’m so grateful for those hard times that allowed me to be who I am as an adult. I almost hope my kids go through it, though it would make me so sad to think of them feeling like I did as a kid, the way your sweet son does.

    I’m sorry, I know how difficult it must be to watch! I spent many an afternoon curled up in my mother’s lap bawling my eyes out.

    But these days I have CONFIDENCE. I know I’m pretty, smart, funny. And I don’t ever have to revert back to the time when I let other people make me feel like I wasn’t those things. And I really feel it was only through the really difficult times that I built enough character to feel this way.

    Keep up the good work, you always have the most permanent subjects on here and I love it!

    Hot Garlics last blog post..Aye Yai Yai

  10. says

    I wish I knew how to whip it all away for you both. But please know I’m thinking of you and hope that your little man finds his way at school. He is a sweet, thoughful, loving boy and those are traits that will carry him far in this world!! ~Jen

    Jennifer Mullinaxs last blog post..Sweet Angel….

  11. missy says

    I had the exact same feelings when my daughter was in kindergarten and 1st grade. I couldn’t understand why kids didn’t want to play with my wonderful, sensitive, nice girl. (she is now in middle school and that’s a whole other beast). It did pass. She did start playing with kids on the playground. It’s a hard transition from daycare or preschool or being home with mom. IT WILL GET BETTER!! Yes, kids are MEAN sometimes. It does break our hearts as mothers when we cannot alway be there to protect them. Hang in there!~

  12. says

    The social aspect of school, and how so many kids get left in the corner because of one reason or another, just breaks my heart too. It’s just one of many reasons that we chose to home school. It’s so hard to not want to go beat up some 5 yr old somewhere! I hope your little boy finds some friends. Btw – the recipe looks YUM!

    Dawn @ My Tasty Spaces last blog post..More linky love

  13. Jeff's mom says

    I just stumbled upon your blog from another site, and your post just hit home. My son, (who is now 19) was painfully shy and was bullied at school too. My heart just breaks for these kids that other kids seem to like to target. My son is a gentle, kind and considerate young man and I know your son will be the same. Hang in there…I hope things improve for your sweet boy. Hugs from a mom who’s been there.

  14. dallimomma says

    Your post brought back so many memories for me of when my son (now 25) was in elementary school. He would come home every day and sit at the table with his cookies and milk and cry “I just want someone to be my friend. I just want one day where people don’t run away when I come in the room.” So I do feel your pain. We chose to homeschool for a few years because of some educational needs that were not being met but also to give him and his classmates some time to grow a little. Huge improvement when he entered 7th grade. He is now in college part-time, has a girlfriend, a full time job and feels very confident in who he is. He has good relationships with some close friends and his siblings. He will never be the social butterfly that some people are, but he’s happy, healthy and able to be successful in the adult world. I hope that encourages you even now.


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