The defining trope of my childhood was that I was the underdog. I was the picked-on, the teased, the friendless, sitting alone on the playground with a book. This shaped my self-image for a long time, and is still something I struggle with today.
From conversations with my father and brother, I know that they had similar experiences, so I have been, consciously or unconsciously, waiting for the same thing to happen with BB.
This morning, he and I had a long talk on the way to school, about friends and teasing and getting along. It seems to be that he's a pretty happy kid. I asked him about a teasing incident he'd mentioned to me fron a couple of weeks ago, and he seemed surprised that I remembered. It hasn't affected his friendship with the boy in question. I asked him if he had a best friend, and he told me it was hard to pick one, and he has at least four candidates. My best friend was always just the one who picked on me least.
I'm beginning to have some hope. Not just that BB himself will escape his school years with self-esteem intact, but that maybe the whole system has gotten better. At the very least, I feel proud of my son, who is growing up to be a good and decent young man who has a hard time even grasping the concept of bullying.