The Dreaded Phone Call

Yesterday, I was sitting in my snazzy new office space with an unfamiliar feeling- maybe it was stability or contentment or some amalgamation of the two. I had half-finished a blog post about how great T did at Thanksgiving, how much progress we’re making, how much healing we’re seeing in his trauma-related behaviors (you see where this is going, right?).

And then…the dreaded number lit up the cell phone. The call from school in the middle of the day.

T bit someone. Again. The last time it happened, I marched in there and said, this is not going to happen again; he’s not a danger to other kids; this incident was an anomaly. I’m embarrassed that I was wrong. But mostly, I’m just panicked about what happens now. He’s home today and we have a meeting with the school tomorrow afternoon and I’m having one of those hopeless moments. I find myself thinking- I have been praying and reading and googling and arranging meditation lessons and OT sessions and martial arts and therapy. What now? Where do we go from here?

I deleted the whole Thanksgiving post, but I’m kind of sorry that I did, because that day happened (it did! it was awesome! I was there!) and I could probably benefit from reading my own words about it right now. We have been having so many days lately that end in overwhelming gratitude, as opposed to crushing anxiety. Even in my despairing moments, I try to remember that we’re making progress. Healing rarely happens in a linear way. For him or for us.

Right now I’m vascillating between feeling bad for him (he loves that school) and being so pissed (he knows better than this! wtf are we gonna do now?). I’m semi-successfully trying to not to take my anger out on him. Really, I’m angry at my own helplessness in the face of his hurt and fear. My instinctual reaction is, how could you do this. That’s a pretty sucky reaction. I can do better than that. At the very least, I can tell him, I know we’re all upset, but we’re going to work this through together. It lets him know he’s not alone on this journey.

8 Responses to 'The Dreaded Phone Call'

  1. T was a hero at Thanksgiving. I still have the drawing he made for me and he quietly, and intently, created art for everyone in the room. It was amazing.

    I hope the school helps him. It’s a long road and he’s made such dramatic leaps in the past year it is sort of astonishing. If they can find a way to be there for him it would be so great.

    He’s definitely not alone. That evening I saw the people Tariku should really be thankful for, his two parents guiding him through the tough times into those amazing moments where he is surrounded by people who appreciate him.

  2. Ugh. So sorry friend. I definitely know that phone call feeling, and the follow-up reaction (how could YOU do this to ME). I hope the school can manage it. Biting really is so typical – it happens more than you think, even in kids without trauma. Hopefully they can have a game plan. Also, yay for progress, however imperfect.

  3. Jenn says:

    That T is having more good days than bad is testament to the fact that he is moving in the right direction. You don’t need perfection to see progress—and great progress, at that! Relish in the good, let him learn what he can from the bad, then move on. Despite what you may feel at times, based on your posts, you’re an awesome mom and that adorable, spunky boy of yours is thriving! Xo

  4. April Heath says:

    Keep your chin up, you’re an amazing mother! Try and think positive! Growth takes time!

  5. jamie Ivey says:

    Hey girl …oh yes i get this too. I always know it can’t be good when he actual teacher walks the kid out to the car in pick up line and not the pick up line worker. Ugh … I can see it coming. We had this yesterday. Hoping the meeting goes well and a plan can come into place.
    :)

  6. Karen Cain says:

    Hi Jillian, I don’t know you but what I’ve learned from your posts is to respond with love. love. love. Thank you.

  7. MAC says:

    Wow, wonder if it is the time of the year. I read this because I went through almost THE EXACT SAME THING this week. Thank you for helping me to think about a more productive way to handle this. I was currently in “how could you do this?” and “sigh” mode. And, this makes me feel less alone in this. Thank you.

  8. Indiana Lori says:

    While Greg and I were in a Parent Teacher Conference which involved a 20 minute high five for the miraculous progress our special needs daughter had made the in past year, our oh-so-precious daughter was down the hall, cheating on her spelling test. Life is weird. And you are correct…rarely linear. The best things we’ve done for Sara are (despite her defiant, sometimes enraging behavior) is to let her know she’s not alone, and ask for help. We got it. It’s working. I wish for you peace and progress. Hugs.

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