a day in the life
I'm sitting here literally crying over some of the emails I've received today. Not just the support and advice, but the stories you are telling me.
I don't mean to harp on the subject, but this is all my day has been about. I alternate between wanting to rip the eyes out of this kid and wanting to pull DJ out of school. Which is not an option, though I wish it was.
So many of you have told me about your kids or your own problems of this manner as children. It amazes me that so much of this goes on in our classrooms. I was one of those kids myself. I know the pain that comes with being bullied and I know all too well the fear of school that develops because of it.
DJ is a good student. He is one of those effortless A kids. He is a natural at math and science, a whiz in reading. I want him to love school. I want him to be proud of his skills. But for him, school has become a dungeon, a place of imprisonment. He has developed a nervous twitch in his eye. He has constant headaches and stomach aches. This is not how it's supposed to be. This is his childhood and he's hating it.
My son is not a kid with great self-confidence. He's small for his age. He speaks softly. He's shy. The only time he radiates confidence and is self assure is on the baseball field. It's winter. There are no home runs for him to hit, no strike outs for him to throw to make himself feel good.
My sister Lisa had a talk with DJ about this tonight. He told her - and this is something he never told me - that Big Bully pushes him. He physically touches my son. I am livid and I am sad and I want action.
All you want is for your kids to be happy, to have that carefree childhood that you read about in books. No ten year old should sit in his room at 3am, staring at the glow of the digital clock and counting the hours towards another day of torture. You do everything you can for them to keep them out of harm's way; they wear seat belts in cars and helmets when they are on their bikes and you keep the cleaning fluids out of reach. You give them vitamins and make them brush their teeth and tell them to look both ways when they cross the street and don't take candy from strangers.
But once they leave your house and enter the school building, you can't buckle them in for that. They are on their own for the most part. My son is ten. I cannot stand over him every minute of the day and guide him through life. He has to learn how to cope on his own and how to solve his own problems.
But what happens when the problems are bigger than they can handle? What happens when the problems aren't solveable at all because the agitating factor is out of your hands?
Unfortunately, they don't leave the situation behind at 3:15. It's not like when I walk out of work at 4:30 and I am no longer thinking about motions and mandate letters and attorneys. Kids are different. They drag every emotion they have around with them like a blanket. They don't let go as easily as we do. They want to know why. Why can't everyone like them? Why can't that kid just stop teasing him? Why can't you fix it, mom?
Being a parent is at once heartbreaking and wonderful. Sometimes more of one than the other. And it's a juggling act. With one hand I'm trying to deal with Natalie's fast-paced walk into puberty and with the other I'm dealing with DJ's withdrawal from his former light-hearted self. It leaves me shaking by the end of the day. Now I know why my parents always had the extra large bottle of Bayer Aspirin on hand when we were young.
I can teach my own kids manners and respect and morals, but what other children learn at home is out of my hands. It's like being on the road on New Year's Eve. You're not drunk, but you have to watch out for all the people that are.
Right now DJ is in his room playing video games with his stepfather. He's laughing and having a good time and I wish like hell that this is all his days could ever be. Unfortunately, there are people out there, bullies and bosses and backstabbers that will come for our children through every stage of life.
The question is, do we teach them to avoid these people, try to change these people or just beat them down?
Yea, I know what we would like to do, but we're not like that, are we?