Thursday, October 10, 2013

Surrender to the Dilemma

I'm taking a lot of deep breaths today.

I got a note from my son's teacher that he's having a hard time at school. When I asked Jack about it he declared that school makes him miserable. That he doesn't have any friends. That he has to bang his head on the pole at recess because otherwise he will scream and yell and lose his temper and get in trouble.

Y'all. This is my boy. My baby. Here is one side: I know how he is. He is a perfectionist. I often say that he's an old man trapped in a child's body. He has a temper. He is over competitive. He doesn't see the other people in the world, he sees himself. And then more of himself. And then also himself. He has all these grown up ways of looking at the world but isn't capable of handling it. And no one at school understands that- teacher or child.

He says the other kids bully him. Tease him. When one kid grabs him by the hood and swings him around Jack is the one that gets in trouble for telling. I want to punch that kid right in the face, little troublemaker. Picking on my boy for spiking his hair, for having to wear glasses. Making Jack feel bad about himself. Making him feel unsafe. Making him hate himself because no one wants to be his friend.

Jack is tall, and slender. He has friendly brown eyes, and a scatter of freckles across his nose and cheeks. He has the prettiest teeth, and kind of shrieks a little when he thinks something is really funny. He's good at saying things like "AGH! I'm really mad!" when he's really mad. He chews his fingernails down to nubs trying to behave and sit still at school. He curls into my lap and almost purrs because he loves me that much. He tells me in a husky voice before bed "I love you mom" with such feeling I can almost swallow the words whole.

He can be hard to get along with. Unbendable. Unwilling to take any blame, any at all.

I feel so in the middle. So caught between the "third grade team" and my little boy. I want to shake him and blame him and curse him. Just be normal for god's sake. Normal! Is that so hard? Why do things always have to be so wonky with him? Why can't he be kid of the year and have forty-seven best friends and I can bask in the glory of my wondrous son? Why can't it be easy?

Screw that.

I had thought that my being was calming down a bit. I mean, I was soul searching. Feeling like things were steady enough to get that soft hide-a-way part of me out and wave it around some. Feeling like fall was here and that we were all settling in for our long winter's nap. Now here I am, in the middle of molting during an uproar without my hard enough shell.

I know it can't be easy. I know I will listen and advocate for my not-so-normal beloved boy. I know that my mama ego can take this imagined blow, and many many more. It's just so hard feeling so judged, or imagining that we're being judged since we haven't even had the conference yet. There I am, me with my conference ahead of the horse again.

These are the things that are hard to deal with without two bottles of wine. These are the things that make me almost vibrate with frustration. These are the things I want to eat all the cookies in the world about. That I want to just throw my hands up and say FUCK. IT. and then run far away about.


These are the things that I know I need to breathe in about. That I need to put on comfy pants and grab my book and maybe watch a movie with the kids piled on the couch while the cold mist rains and rains outside. That I keep practicing dealing about. And practicing. And practicing.

So I'm going to put down my arms. I'm going to stop the fight before it even starts. I'm going to get my cart, and my horse and arrange them in sensible order. Make it OK for me to not be in control, but to let the thing run its' course. Make my thoughts and words belong to me, to open my heart and do what I will feel is right. Let the time come and stay now in the meantime. And mostly not feel scared, or ashamed, or afraid. Breathe in, breathe out, and trust that I can surrender to the dilemma.


  1. I've got some big stuff to deal with right now about my 9-year old and his special learning needs.. it's soooo hard as a mother because you love and want everything to be just perfect and easy and nice and it just breaks my heart that things aren't straightforward for him. But life is not straight forward and how we handle these things is really what matters.. not that these things happen but how we handle them. Emotional yes, but calm and rational and seeking support and dealing with it. You can do it. xxxx

  2. Handle the things. Not let the things handle me. Thanks for this. xoxo

  3. Amy, I'm sorry you have to deal with this, and sorry your little guy does. But you sound strong and capable, in the right sort of way. Not being in control is tough. I'm not very good at acceoting it. But I think you're right about it being the way to go. There's that great line from Neruda, "When I surrender, I stretch out like the world." I love that, and it sounds like you're doing it. xo

    1. Thanks, it sucks. But we will make it- and hopefully in the long run it makes him know himself better so that maybe he won't go looking for his heart in the bottom of a bottle.

      I love that quote. I sort of stretched out, and then kind of scritched up again. More stretching practice needed. :)


  4. Boy, you took me back a few years. Sitting in one of those little desks having the teacher ask me, "Are there problems at home?" All I could think was, she knows. She can tell that I drink too much. At least you no longer have that to worry about, you have the comfort that you are being the strongest mom you can be, you aren't hiding in a bottle. This time your courage is real Give your boy a hug and just keep telling him you love him.

    1. I am so thankful that I got sober before anyone asked me that. How hard. I am the mom I am, even when I suck at it. And he knows that I love him with all my heart. The rest is up to him. Thanks so much.


  5. Awww...this gets at me, in a different way. I understand the mama bear ways...I see it kick in now and then from my wife and all the other moms I know. It doesn't matter how young or old the child is, mama wants what is best for the child. But I understand what it's like to be really bullied. I got it all - beatings, theft, threats, terrorizing, verbal, rumours, etc. All because I made other people *uncomfortable* or wasn't one of the gang. So what? Dear Lord, who cares? But your son, regardless of his outlook in life, doesn't deserve further ostracising. What broke my heart in this was his banging his head on the pole at recess. I am teary eyed as I write this because that was me. Just wanted someone to notice me for ME. And to be myself was more punishment, so I would do things to myself to take the attention away from me. BUT (before I get all negative and downright maudlin about this) it doesn't have to be that way. You are in a place that is much more centered and aware than my folks were, and you see things as they are. You have the insight, and you know that coming out in full ninja kicks probably may not solve these things, even though that is the natural instinct.

    This is something you can work on together. Even though he will resist (and boy he will), know that because you see him for HIM and not what you WANT him to be, he will be stirred. Believe me, he will. I know that if someone reached out that way to me, i would have stirred. Continue to accept, but not lie down. Continue to support, but not fight the battles for him. Continue to grow, and grow along side him.

    I hope things turn around sooner than later, because turn around they will. Faith carries a whole lot more than we think it can :)


    1. Yes, he has always been "different". Always not typical. Which frustrates me more: that people won't let him be him, or that I want him to be more in the mold so things will be "easier"?

      I have a counseling appointment for him so that he can talk about his whatevers. He didn't want any part of it, but I told him that when I started seeing a counselor it helped since she was there JUST FOR ME. I can't say he's over the moon, but at least he's willing.

      I hope things turn around too- seeing this reminds me of my hard times as a child, and that just breaks my heart some. I can totally understand how it makes you feel sad for the boy you were then.

      Thanks for understanding.

  6. Amy, public school is a one size fits all system. Its ok that not all kids fit into that system. There is not always something "wrong" with the children who don't fit into that system. Sometimes they are *just* different. Albert Einstein was different, Thomas Edison, Charles Schwab, Henry Winkler, Winston Churchill.....all were square pegs trying to fit into a round hole.
    The head banging is all he can think of to do with all of that frustration that is just boiling inside of him, in a very difficult situation. If someone grabbed me by my coat and flung me around...I would be beside myself and filled with anger and fear and uncertainty too! For his sake, he needs to be taught some coping tools which I am sure you are working on, but he also needs to be in a safe environment.

    The thing that I tried to remember when I had school encounters, because out of my 4 kids, it happened a time or two, especially with one who has to this day some significant learning challenges, I kept in mind and I reminded the staff....that while they are responsible for my child's academic life, I am ultimately responsible for the whole child.....his/her body, mind and spirit.It was my job to make sure that ALL of those areas were being tended too.

    I am praying for you and Jack. Your names just went into my God box. You have a lot of good company in there! :o)