I rarely got the chance to come home early. If there wasn't an active case then there was paperwork, court preparation or some cold case that needed attention. So that day having snuck away by 1600 I was looking forward to having supper with Abby and the boys and sitting in front of the tv with Lucas playing PS3 games. I am not sure if it was the dashed expectations that enhanced my frustration or the look on Luc's face when he explained that he looked good compared to 'the other guy' or a combination of both but I went from 'happy to be home' to 'livid' in a matter of a nanosecond.
I will also allow for the fact that my part of my anger stemmed from the fact that Abby hadn't told me about Lucas at all; no email, no phone call, nothing. It was an ongoing internal battle of work versus home. Cases versus the boys. And when something as significant as my son's first fist fight happened I did feel that I should have at least been notified if not consulted as to what should be done to make sure that Lucas learned the right lesson.
It's not that I had ever disagreed with how Abby had ever dealt with the boys in the past. It wasn't that I felt I was better equipped to handle the situation. It was just that in this particular case, in this particular circumstance I felt like Abby had been fleeced. Her motherly instinct to protect blinded her to what was actually going on. Again I don't blame her, I can only imagine what it would have been like to arrive at the school to find Lucas bruised and torn; it was shock seeing it when I walked through the door myself.
Abby and I have had our differences in the past. We've had our standoffs, at work and at home. But that night was the one and only time I can say that I yelled, screamed even wouldn't be too harsh a term for the decibel level at which I spoke to my loving wife. It stemmed I think from a deep seated fear for my child. I'm not just saying that. I really do think that looking at Lucas' face, hearing the pride in his voice and seeing the strut in his step I realized that if we didn't nip this in the bud so to speak that he would have learned that violence is the solution to your problems.
He was 6 years old and had literally attacked a schoolmate. Yes, I know the kid deserved it… I understand that point as well. I get that standing up to a bully and protecting a friend is very commendable. I also understand the bravery and loyalty my son showed that afternoon, although those wonderful traits need to be tempered with reason and self control.
Since the boys were born there was always a part of me that worried that my job and that of many of our family would skew the beliefs and interpretations of the world for my children. We all carry a gun, often come home looking 'beat up' and talk about the difficulty of this or that arrest. Glorifying violence is not what I want to do. I want my sons to understand that I fight only as a last resort, that words can be just as powerful as a punch.
And so there I was standing in the home office trying ineffectively to make Abby understand what Lucas was really feeling. Trying to get her to see what was actually going on his little head. What Abby didn't know until later that evening was that when I was just a little older than Lucas, I too was in a low down brawl with the school yard bully. I remember the overwhelming rush of adrenalin and testosterone that pumped through my veins as I was dragged off Michael Horowitz by Mr. Parker. I too spent the day crying or at least on the verge of tears. And those uncontrolled emotions were not poured out due to my need for contrition and absolution. Indeed I was extremely proud of my accomplishment. I had not run from 'danger' I had stood up to Michael and I'd 'shown' him. I had become revered by a much larger group of children as they too had been tormented and enjoyed seeing him get his 'come uppance'. Having hero status does a lot to reinforce the wrong message about solving your problems with your hands instead of your head. This was the message I didn't want Lucas to walk away with.
So it was mixture of my own experience as well as the tone in which Luc said "I got in a fight with Liam because he was bullying Sean. I got him good Dad, he looks way worse than I do!" that had my blood boiling. Now yelling never works, you can't be as articulate when your voice is at such a pitch. I know that but at times of turmoil you sometimes forget such thing. I stayed in the office only long enough to get the nod from Abby that she understood I needed to this 'my way'. It took a lot of talking later that night to get things right between us again. In the end she saw my point and even though she wasn't perfectly in agreement with everything Abby knew I respected her and supported her in her decisions about raising the boys. And in turn she knew that my actions and words came from a place of love and wanting only the best for our children.