Hi everyone, I’m back.
You thought maybe I was on vacation, seeing as how school is out and it’s officially summertime. That’s what people do, you know. They pack up the kids and they take a fabulous, fun-filled vacation that they’ve been saving for, hoping for, waiting for all year.
No. I didn’t go anywhere. I’ve been here all along. Here, but not really here, you know?
The school year came to an end with a first-grade awards ceremony, and then summer started, and it was like being buried alive. For a few uncertain moments, I heard myself breathing in and out, but it was loud, so LOUD, and I could hear my heart beating in my ears as the panic started setting in, adrenaline coursing through my veins and the feeling that my heart would beat so hard it would come right through my chest cavity.
At the awards ceremony, all the kids had multiple ribbons of different colors pinned to their shirts. As the principal read each category, from spelling to reading to perfect attendance, if they had the ribbon of the corresponding color, they would stand up.
But Connor, he had only one ribbon. Just one, for “making strides.” I know that you know what that category means, so I won’t say it. I won’t say it, not here, not ever.
See, the thing is, that even though Connor was proud of his one ribbon, I hurt badly. I hurt for him. I let this one event create foreshadowing in my mind, and created a hurt for all the years to come when my son works so hard, harder than we thought he could, and still barely squeaks through.
Of course he is enough. He is absolutely enough for me. But how do I take that precious self-esteem, wrap it in a bubble, and protect it from all the realities that are coming his way? How do I preserve that when, even now, he says he is stupid, so stupid, for “always making bad choices?”
I can’t think about that anymore. I can’t cry anymore, I can’t worry anymore, I can’t think about wanting to scream at the top of my lungs, over and over until there is nothing but a rasping, scratching voice left.
And then summer camp started on Monday. And oh, hell, last summer was a horrible, draining experience for all of us. The fourth summer camp was the one that finally worked, but not until we were emotionally drained and my job was hanging by a thread from all the calls to come and pick up Connor.
This year will be better, I tell myself. He’s taking a different medication now, and he’s older, and it will be better.
It will be better.
Summer. And it’s already 97 degrees, and my Scotch-Irish genes are freaking out, turning me into a freckled, sweaty, mosquito-bite-ridden irritable mess.
And there is no vacation. That ship sailed away with our money, straight to the summer camp administration office. And that’s okay because, frankly, I’m not much in the mood to go anywhere right now.
Luckily, I have Special Needs Ryan Gosling to look forward to every week, thanks to Sunday at Adventures in Extreme Parenthood. Somehow I know he will help see me through the summer, and get me back into the safety of the school year.
Until next week…