I should probably admit, I suppose, that I dreaded today. I knew I had to meet with the school about Noah’s behavior and the school year beckons. It’s not that the school or the principal or anyone was being mean or obstinate about it, they wanted to talk about what the school year was bringing and what my observations over the summer might be. The reality is, I base much of my observations on those of my kids themselves and of my parents who filled me in quite often to how they were doing.
But the day was about as I expected. After finding out the appointment was at 1pm and I work 40 odd miles away . . . and the fact that the school dismisses at noon on the first day with no Extended Day Program (EDP) I was ready to carry a fire extinguisher because I knew my hair would be on fire. Add to this having to deal with the fact that my son has his behavioral challenges and the school’s want of trying to help him through those and I could literally hear the Tums fizzing as they hit the excess acid in my stomach.
I don’t want you to get the impression that the school itself has relegated Noah to some sort of emotional brig, either. He’s been through the ringer himself and they’re very cognizant of everything that’s happened in our lives. Still, the one saving grace I was able to tell them all is that we’re stable. I have a job, and a contract, and a new boss who I’ve worked with before. I have a 2-year lease on the home now and so we’re stable there for that amount of time at least. The inspection the owner wanted seemed to pass with little issue so I’m happy there. Where I spent so much time trying to get a routine together, the necessities – home, job, food, life – they’re all in place now.
That was a piece of comfort for the principal as we’re finally able to breathe a little. No worries the house is being sold or leased to another. No worry that I’m losing my job, unless I totally screw up. (don’t say anything, it’s still possible) I have a year before Abbi goes to college, and they’ll worry about that, but it’s on the horizon, not facing us.
The interesting thing is that the people around me at the school marvel at how I prepped for the day. I had made a triple batch of pancakes over the weekend, so I had those in the toaster and ready for breakfast. Last night I’d browned meat and put the fixings all in a crock for the slow cooker to have stew when we got home. Knowing full well I’d not be home to make dinner I told the kids they could eat when they were hungry.
I also try, when I’m home, to make sure we eat together, at the table. I’ve said this before, I know, but it’s a necessity. Time isn’t a luxury I have all the time. I utilize what I have. I know what the kids’ school day was like. I learn about Abbi’s tryout for the play. I hear what the teacher told the kids they still need for school supplies. This is an hour or so that would be spent wiling away the hours independently otherwise. It’s my sneaky way of getting them to tell me things.
The meeting, I have to say, went very well. Sure, I’m trying to get Noah into counselling, but it’s not because of his Mom. It’s because, just like his Mom – my late wife, Andrea – he has the ability to go from super sweet to insane in the beat of a heart. He will act on his impulses without thinking. Andrea had figured out how, much of the time, the stop that. The problem is, she never told me how she did it. Now poor Noah has to suffer through the both of us trying to understand how to fix his issues alone.
That’s where the loss hits us most. It’s not missing her or not having her around. It’s in the things we needed help because she understood them. Noah suffers because she left, and it’s not necessarily her fault, but the genetics that are hers swimming around in the nuclei of his cells are affecting him and the only person who could tell us how to deal with it is gone now.
But I’m around. I’ve managed, through a bout of depression and funk over the summer and a year of struggle, to give us a bedrock to build upon. I still can’t see past the next few days as I work, but I can at least show them I’m looking forward, not back.
Noah has a parent volunteer who I’ve known since we moved here that is taking him under her wing. He has me to stand for him when he needs it. It’s not his fault all the time, the kid’s just 9. His brother, Sam, has his own issues that get relegated to the back because of Noah’s behavior.
It’s that pre-planning again. When Noah needs attention, you give it to Sam, too, whether he asks or not. It makes me laugh occasionally when others marvel at the pre-planning. No, I’ve never been good at it.
But it’s necessary for us to survive.