What I wanted to tell you, after yesterday’s post, was that my fears were for naught, and Monkey had a great day and a hard but meaningful farewell with his parapro.
What I wanted to do was gently poke fun at myself for always fearing the worst, for always tensing up for the collision. I would make a joke about how being angry and worried had clearly appeased the Gods Of Suck, and everything worked out okay, after all. We would all exhale together and Otto would tell me I worry too much but look, everything’s okay, and then life would go on.
What I do not want to do is to detail the phone call I got, the chaos that ensued, the broken down little boy who came home to me yesterday afternoon and crawled into my bed and whispered that he always ruins everything. I do not want to tell you about how he cried himself out and then slept, brow sweaty, while I rubbed his back and cried silently behind him.
I want to tell you that yesterday was awful but perspective arrived with the morning and all was well today, but that would be a lie. Because the truth is that sleep was elusive, and fear is my constant companion. I want to be angry at the people at school who failed him. I want to be angry at his parapro for sending him off into a crowded situation by himself for “just a few minutes,” because it was the wrong choice, and maybe if that hadn’t happened, maybe the rest wouldn’t have, either. But the truth is that no one has a crystal ball, and I don’t know how it all came down, and mostly I am angry at myself, because I feel like I let him down. Again. Somehow.
[Do not ask me how I could’ve avoided or fixed this. WITH MY AMAZING PSYCHIC ABILITIES, perchance. By firmly outlining the expectations for the day. For not specifically instructing the people who have worked with him for a year that HEY, TODAY IS GONNA BE A HARD ONE, maybe? I don’t know. But my job is to protect him and he was not protected and ergo, my heart and conscience buckle accordingly.]
I want to tell you that I rallied, that I pulled myself together, that we had a nice morning and it gets better and we’re okay, but that would be a lie. I don’t want to tell you that I dragged around this morning until we got into the car for baseball, that I found tears slipping down my cheeks as Otto drove, and by the time we got there I quite honestly didn’t think I could get out of the car. I don’t want to tell you that I sent my family ahead and sat there sobbing and wondering where the hell my mythical bootstraps were.
But I do want to tell you that I picked up my phone and called a dear friend across the country, and it was too early there and I probably shouldn’t have, but she answered the phone and it all poured out: yesterday, today, I can’t see a tomorrow that doesn’t hurt all the time, I can’t get out of the car, help me.
And she did. Without telling me it would all be fine or that I was being unacceptable. She sat with me and let me cry until I was done. She held me up, she held up my sweet boy and reminded me to take each day as it comes, reminded me that I have Monkey and Monkey has me and we will figure it out. She offered to make me a cup of tea and we laughed. I found myself breathing again, finally.
So I can tell you that I made my way to the field and I cheered for my boy and the rest of the kids and helped a little bit with first aid (it was a bad day for scraped knees). I was thanked for a band-aid by a young man much older than Monkey, with arguably more challenges, who smiled at the bandage and trotted off to continue playing.
We’re having a houseful of Otto’s students come over tonight, so it was a day full of errands and preparation, but we invited Lemur over after baseball, anyway, because it was the closest thing I could think of to a Monkey-sized band-aid. The boys have been bouncing around together for hours, perfectly content, far away from the classmates who taunt them, calling them weirdos or assholes or—their latest favorite—fags. (Fifth grade, people. Yeah.)
I can tell you that right now, this second, my son is happy and safe. And I will keep trying to string those seconds into minutes and hours and days as much as I can. And when I think I can’t, I am so grateful for those who help prop me up and remind me I can keep going, even when I can’t see the road anymore.
Somehow, we’ll get where we’re supposed to be going. I have to believe that.