Saturday, April 28, 2012

Monday, Monday

On Monday I start a new job, my first since November.  I'm ready to work again, and more importantly, ready to work with children.  The job I held from August until November did not involve working with children—it involved data collection and (supposed) mentoring of teachers.  I had numerous concerns about the way the research of the study was being conducted and it was being conducted by a major research institution.  If lil ole me could see massive problems in reliability and validity, I could only imagine what was wrong with the entire study.  That experience taught me to question all research I read and consider.

But I digress.  On Monday, I start a position working with kindergartners.  It's an extremely part time position—only fifteen hours a week to start—and very little money.  At this point though, the money is secondary to me.  Most important is the ability to work at something I love.

I have had mixed emotions about many jobs that have been offered to me—that they are not the caliber of job I should be working at this point in my career, that I am being grossly underpaid, that my talents are not being utilized.  Those may all be true, but I have not been disturbed by these issues at this new job.  I have put my faith in God and recognized that the purpose of this job is no longer to support my family; it is to revive my love of teaching and one of my great purposes in living.

I know this job is a stepping stone; in fact, I anticipate it will be a very short stepping stone, as I have a potentially more appropriate job in the works.  But I am grateful to get back in the classroom.  I am grateful to have purpose and to give excitement and learning opportunities to children again.  Thank you God, for that miracle.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


As I went to wake my son up this morning, I noted that his bed was empty.  We had had a huge blowup last night, and at first I thought he had left early for school.  But something in my gut said no, he was here, and I needed to find him.  After a few minutes, I found him curled under the bed, covered with blankets and pillows, his wily hair peeping out.

I tried to wake him gently and at first he responded as angrily as he usually does, grunting and telling me to go away.  Today, for whatever reason, I didn't go away, and after another few minutes he began to cry.  Ten minutes later I persuaded him to come out from under the bed, and he, now bawling, pressed his face against my shirt as I held my grieving, depressed boy on his birthday.

He didn't want to go to school, and his mood quickly flipped from horribly depressed to horribly angry.  "I hate you!" he screamed at me.  "You're pathetic!  You can't even tell when your kid is upset!  You don't even care!" I ignored the words and waited for him to be ready for school.  The ride to school was full of angry words from him, ending with, "Thanks for ruining my birthday, Mom."

For whatever reason, those tears lit a fire under me.  When I got back home, I called to arrange for him to see a different, more competent psychiatrist.  I consulted for intensive in home therapy.  I called his school to insist on a 504 plan, since they denied him an IEP.  For once, I felt powerful again; I felt motivated to improve things for my child.

And we had a good birthday after school.  We got him presents for his hobbies.  He got a gift card and another present from his grandparents.  We all wished him a happy birthday and told him how much he was loved.  And he thanked everyone and smiled before returning to bed.

And a bit later, the doubts returned and I found myself wondering what I could have done to cause this problem.  How did I make it worse?  Did I cause this?  Logically I know he came to me with fetal alcohol effects and attachment disorder.  I know that if he is indeed battling bipolar disorder, it is genetic and I did nothing to cause that.  And yet I feel I failed him.

I hope one day he knows how very much I tried, and how very much I love him.  This disorder, or combination of, is truly bigger than us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To My Dear Boy

To my dearest son,
Tomorrow you turn fifteen.  It is a birthday we will not be celebrating.  There is a heaviness in my heart that wants to break the decision I have made, feeling I am being cruel to you.  The feeling that a mother should always forgive her child's trespasses, even when they are abusive and ongoing.  Then your words fly up like daggers—hateful things like, "dummy!", "duh!", "you're a pathetic mom", "you're a loser", "I hate you!", "you're the reason our life sucks", and "you can't get a job because you're such a loser".  And I remember why I hurt and ache and must follow through with our family's decision.

I know your days in our house are limited.  You are not functional at home.  You sleep or scream when you are here.  You are failing all your classes in school.  You have broken the law several times.  You are no longer the child I knew.

I pray every night that someone, somewhere, will help me find a way to get you into a psychiatric hospital and on the medication you so desperately need.  If not, I know your time is ticking away before you will be in juvenile detention.  My heart, as a mother, breaks for you as I know you are mentally ill.  But I cannot allow you to continue to hurt everyone in the house, and physically endanger your family.

In my worst moments I am lost in a hell of our own making, of your making, that I willingly enter with you.  I don't know why but I can't let you dive in alone.  I can't let it be your problem.  I am your mother, and some part of me believes if I just argue hard enough I will win the fight.

In our best moments I laugh with you, hug you, remember how much I love you.  I'm not afraid of your explosions.  I want to be with you.  But those times have become so few and far between, I miss them terribly.

Tomorrow you are one year older, and I realize very heavily that you have only three years left in my care.  I miss you already, but I pray that we can work things out together before it is too late.  I pray that one day you will understand why your family has chosen not to celebrate with you, why we cannot manufacture a false joy for you tomorrow when our hearts are so heavy.  I hope that one day you will read this and know that your mother not only laughed with you, not only cried for you, but held you in her heart every moment you breathed a breath.
I love you,
Your mother