I woke up the next morning, ready to start the day out right. I climbed out of bed and began my morning routine.
After making breakfast and wishing the boys goodbye, I got my cup of coffee and went out on the back porch to have a moment to myself. While settling myself into my chair, I heard a shuffling in the bushes near the the stairs. I quietly glanced over and spied a mop of brown hair huddled under a bush.
“Hello,” I said, “Who’s there?”
The figure was completely still. I looked through the bushes and spied Rodney, my son’s “arc-nemesis” between the bushes, Lego set in hand.
“Rodney, I can see you. Why don’t you come over here?”
When he turned around, it became clear. A bruise had formed on his right eye, and, upon closer inspection, I noticed bruises on his arms as well.
“Rodney…” my voice trailed off. It was almost too much – I had always suspected that his father was an abuser, marked primarily by his mother’s timidity when in the company of others. By Rodney’s bullying behaviors. The proof to back up my claim lay before me, but I had never hoped to see it.
“Rodney, I’m not going to hurt you,” I said quietly. “Just come out whenever you’re ready.”
I went back up the steps and sat on the porch. A few minutes passed until I heard the sounds of his movements. I didn’t turn around or startle him in anyway – any creature that’s been abused needs a space to grieve and lick his/her wounds. Instead, I waited for his retreat before glancing back at the bottom of the stairs.
And there was the Lego set, all in one piece.
I picked it up and took it up to Luke’s room. Then I did what I knew I had to – something that would probably change Rodney’s life forever. I called Social Services to report a case of child abuse.