mercredi, septembre 21, 2011

Tears, Fall

Yesterday began auspiciously enough -- but it soon deteriorated.

A text from the DQ -- she'd forgotten her dance clothes, could I bring them to school?

Pouring the cereal for my son is a morning ritual on the days that he has to get on the 7:09 a.m. bus. When he gets into the kitchen, he baptizes it with milk. Yesterday, the ritual went wrong, and my normally mild-mannered son went crazy.

Cereal flew all over the counter and the tiles. Yelling, Mr. C stalked out of the room.

A few minutes later, the same scenario...

And then he went out on the breezeway, sat on a chair, and wept.

Then I finally heard what had happened. The day before, a few of his lunchroom pals had taken his food out of his lunchbox, and begun throwing it at him. It got so tough that eventually, he left the table, and found another place to eat lunch (what hadn't already landed on the table or floor).

And, of course, he's worried sick about his father. As are the rest of us. He apologized to me for the mess. Somehow we pulled ourselves together, and drove to the middle school.

I didn't yell -- the situation seemed too dire for that, and besides, I'm not a yeller. I confess that I did consider consequences -- but after I heard why he had the meltdown, I decided not to be punitive.

I did feel crushed, though. Bowed down by his pain, and by not knowing how to make it better. Overwhelmed by the weight of what I'm carrying right now. Aside from a quick word with the guidance counselor, letting her know that my son would be in touch, there wasn't a thing I could do.

While he doesn't always have good judgment (he's only fourteen), my child moves differently through the world than many of his middle school friends. For one thing, he has a steely sense of integrity, a lively moral compass, and the ability to reason through complexities that might defeat some adults.

And he can't believe that others mean him harm, or find him expedient -- a pawn in their own game.

The blood of my reforming, principled, hopeful grandmother flows through his veins -- but it's too early to know if he'll have her charm.

He'll suffer for his independence, predicted his dad. I fear that he is right.

Rightly, or wrongly, I see a lot of myself in the boy (in my daughter, it's there too, but harder to recognize). I have many character defects -- but they don't include being mean. Like him, I will go overboard to take the feelings of others into account. I'm shocked by unkindness.

You'd think I'd be better equipped, have a harder shell by now.

Their dad went to the hospital today - too early for me to drive him. He should have had a family member with him. There are so many times when he will feel alone, or sick, and no one will be there.

I am so inadequate to all the needs around me.

Nothing left to say right now, but the tears, flowing down my face, as I watch the leaves on the trees outside fall gently, inexorably, to the ground.

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