Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.
This week passed in a blur. My world turned on its side precisely at 11.30am Tuesday morning. Forgive me if I am being dramatic but that’s what happened. At least that’s what it was to me.
Tuesday, 11.30am – Got to school ready to present Russel his choice of lunch only to be told by his teacher that he had the worst day ever in school. He apparently had been bumping into his friends, spitting, swinging his jacket at one, ignoring his teacher’s instructions and basically ‘didn’t have more than 5 mins of good time’.
Tuesday, 11.50am – Had a family conference. Reminded Russel of the rules and expectations of being in school. Denied him his watermelon treat as punishment. With a million questions racing through my head, I worked out some sort of sketchy reason/excuse for his behavior.
Tuesday, midnight – Googled, forum-ed, killed my eyes out on page after page, screen after screen of advice, stories, horror stories and more advice.
Wednesday – It just passed. Just passed.
Thursday, 8.30am – Before leaving Russel in school, I told the teacher the possible reasons for his behavior on Tuesday. In my mind I was hoping to death that I was right. The teacher asked if I could stay to shadow him for the day but I declined because it was too short a notice and I had work to do. I did tell her to ring me if the situation got unmanageable.
Thursday, 9.30am – No call. Nice.
Thursday, 10.15am – No call. Breathed a sigh of relief.
Thursday, 11.30am – Bad news. ‘I had to shadow him the whole day to make sure he stayed out of trouble’. That’s all I remember. Thursday, 11.35am – Little conference with teachers. I hear ‘a parent informed us that her daughter refused to come to school because Russel hit her’. I hear ‘he is now getting a reputation’. I hear ‘the children are not playing with him because they are afraid of him’. I hear ‘I don’t know what to tell you. We have no solutions.’ I hear ‘Maybe you should look for someone more professional’. I hear my heart breaking.
Thursday, noon – I get lunch. I cry. I am beyond words. I just sat there. Sat in my couch, tissues in hand, watching my son eat his lunch. I ask myself a thousand questions. I ask my husband a thousand questions. An hour later, I have more tissues on my lap than I have answers.
Friday – I was sick to the pits and grazed throughout the day. My body, mind and soul ached. I was looking for a solution to a problem I couldn’t even identify. I cannot understand how this boy, who moments ago, stopped insisting that I play with him after I told him I was unwell, can be causing this much trouble in school. I asked if I was too tolerant of his errant ways, if I was the insufferably dotting mother, if the school was a misfit, if he was not getting enough attention, if there was miscommunication, if I was too rigid, if i was too flexible. Maybe he’s just cheeky, maybe he’s not being heard, maybe he’s tired, maybe he’s going through a phase, maybe I am making these excuses? For myself? For him?
Saturday & Sunday – As my body began to heal, my thoughts cleared up a little more. I observed Russel for the entire day, looking out for disruptive behavior that I could have previously discounted or dismissed. I talked to family and close friends about Russel’s behavior and that helped me review the kind of boundaries I have for Russel. After two whole days of acetaminophen-induced calm, I finally have a sense of how and where this situation should be headed.
So I guess I spent my Mother’s day reflecting and not celebrating motherhood. Not the shabbiest gift I would say. Wish me luck on Tuesday!