Is Love Enough?
With two sweet arms wrapped around my neck, how could I EVER let go. And more to the point, how am I supposed to just say, “Too bad kid. You’re going to school no matter how much it breaks your heart.”
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back up and start at the beginning. Paint you a proper picture, and then if you would be so kind as to give me some parental guidance….
Once upon a time…
a girl had a baby and became a mommy. That baby grew up and turned 4 years old and called himself a ‘big boy’. One day he crawled into her lap and in his sweet child like voice said a few short sentences that shattered her soul and sent her into MOMMY DRIVE.
“Mommy, do you know why I don’t like school? Do you know why Mommy? It’s cuz O and J always want to play toy-fighting, and I tell them I don’t want to play toy-fighting, but Mommy they don’t listen to me. And they hit me like this Mommy (he demonstrates) and it hurts a lot and I can’t see the teacher cuz they are hitting me. And Mommy? That’s why I don’t like school.”
Behind the scenes
Jude started school (J/K) this past September and from day one has cried and cried every day, and every night said he doesn’t like school. Up until this moment, though, he lacked the words to fully express the ‘why’ behind this emotion. I naturally assumed that he simply was having a difficult time adjusting to the new demands of his life schedule. And that given a little time he would be able to adapt and be ok. That all of this was natural and would eventually go away. After all school is a rite of passage that we have all walked. Right?
With those words, that little voice all wavering, those sweet blue eyes glassy as he looks up at me, my heart broke. I knew that in that moment he was pleading with me to keep him safe. And that is my job. I am the Mommy! And the Mommy protects her baby.
After I put him to bed that night, I readied my letter of resignation for the morning, because I was quitting my job, pulling my son from school and staying home to protect my babies from the horrors of this world.
Then Wado came home and talked me off the ledge… (a daily routine for him let’s be honest.)
Instead, I took a deep breath and I called his teacher…
Parent Teacher Interview (a little ahead of schedule)
We arrived at Jude’s class and met with his teacher for the first time. She was so nice, and understanding and ever so patient. She answered all our questions and listened to me recanting the mournful sorrows of a 4-year-old boy. Not once did I feel dismissed, ignored or patronized. She did not look at me with those, “Oh brother, here we go again with the over-protective, crazy Mom routine,” ‘au contraire’ she listened, trouble-shot, and helped come up with solutions. She commended our choices with Jude and the way we have and do parent.
She also painted another picture of a little boy that I rarely encounter. She shared that my normally very exuberant child who can’t sit still for more than a minute, who has up until this point been the leader in his groups of friends, is studious, sits at carpet time and listens attentively and quietly. Participates in group learning, raising his hand and answering questions and more importantly, he plays alone. Rarely seeking the company of his peers, he refrains from joining in their loud (and sometimes aggressive) play. Up until recently the only person’s company he seeks is that of the teacher. Who is this child? A little boy who is not comfortable and feeling out of his element.
Although she never, not even once said that Jude’s story was untrue, she did however say that she has not seen any instances of bullying or abusive play with the children. She validated my sentiments though and agreed that there was something happening causing Jude to feel unsafe and that they would be very attentive to his interactions with his peers.
Was everything solved? No.
Does Jude want to go to school? No.
BUT I’m willing to give this another shot. A few more weeks, and hopefully we will soon see positive changes.
I went from ready to quit my job, pull Jude from school and stay home with my kids to willing to send Jude back to school and wait (briefly) for change.
What would you have done? I mean come on – look at that smile…
Any words of encouragement or advice to offer? Feel free to comment below. I love hearing from all of you my friends.