Max, my little nine year old, waited with his bike outside the grocery store today while his sister and I grabbed a couple of things for our last day of summer holidays picnic. When I came out, he said, "Mommy, I don't like teenagers." He was near tears. He then told me four teenagers had walked through the parking lot swearing and being annoying, and then they swarmed around him while one crouched down, right in Max's face, and shouted, "What are you looking at, kid?!!" Then they all laughed and went in the grocery store.
I got Max to show me who did it. I was expecting a group of fourteen year olds. Max pointed out four people who were standing at the meat counter. They were four men of about 22 years old, nicely dressed, clean-cut university athlete types. Big, tall, strong men. What the crap?
I stormed up to them and demanded, "Which one of you is the tough guy who thinks it's fun to bully little boys?" Three of them looked completely embarrassed and stepped backward, leaving one guy right in front of me holding his ground. Body language is a beautiful thing. Tough guy laughed in my face and denied doing any such thing. He came way too close to me and tried to use his size to intimidate me. I can't believe now the way I handled it. I shook my finger in his face and hissed at him about being a bully and a liar until finally he admitted what he had done and apologized to Max. He said, "Sorry about what I did, but..."
And I cut him off. "Don't say but! That negates the apology!"
He then said, "But...I'm an A-hole."
I'm a freaking mama bear.