I’ve been waiting for this day, this morning, for a long time. I haven’t been waiting in an anticipatory I-can’t-wait sort of way, but rather more of a the-other-shoe-has-to-drop-sometime sort of way.
See, even though Jack has been struggling, struggling, struggling at school, and often says he doesn’t like school, he has remained pretty compliant about going. This morning that changed. He was in a bad mood to begin with and balked at the clothes on his shelf and the breakfast in his bowl.
But the worst he saved for leaving the house. He started sobbing and refused to walk. True to form, he couldn’t articulate why he didn’t want to go to school. When I asked, all he could come up with was, “You!” But it was clear he didn’t want to go.
Usually when I drop the guys off at school, I pull up, push the button to open the van door and they get out. Today I didn’t even bother trying that. When I pulled up, I put the car in park, put on the emergency brake, got out of the car and walked around to the side door. The principal happened to be standing there.
“This is likely to be quite a scene,” I said.
I dragged Jack out of the car, flashing back to the solid month or two last year that Jack screamed and cried and went limp twice a day when I dropped him off at his two different schools. The principal offered to take Jack to his class, and I drove off, my free hand at my temples.
The rest of Jack’s morning was hard. Both the principal and his aide took him on separate walks to calm him down. He still had a hard time. When I stopped by to drop off his backpack, which I’d forgotten to pass to the principal, the school secretary, who I’ve barely spoken to, but who apparently knows Jack well, told me to hide in the office while she took the pack to Jack—something that doesn’t usually happen. (Trust me, I’m a backpack forgetter.) The assistant principal stopped me to tell me that he’d had a rough morning. The principal stopped me to offer words of encouragement.
Here’s my thing: if it’s this hard for me to hear about it, how hard must it be for Jack?