Today I am filled with new, unchartered emotions.
I arrived at Roosevelt to pick up Little Man from track. Overall his first week of middle school has gone amazingly well, contrary to what I had envisioned. He was invited to be in an accelerated math program, he started track intramurals, and has adjusted quite nicely to having multiple teachers in a new building. It has been a much smoother transition than I anticipated.
As I sat in the parking lot waiting for him I was immersed in thought. One led to another until I convinced myself that I had been wrong about this school- the school that I tried not once, but twice to get him out of. I talked to every person in position of authority I could think of, wrote multiple letters, and when the answer was still no, I had to surrender and accept defeat. You can read more about that here.
My thoughts were abruptly interrupted when I saw my little man walking towards me… his face was red, his eyes swollen, he was quivering, and his entire body was writhing between sobs. I jumped out of the car to offer comfort and before I even had a chance to learn all of the details, my blood was boiling. It was hard to make out, but something about a boy punching him in the face in the locker room.
Now I was livid and mama bear was ready to go in for the kill. The claws were out.
I was told he had already gone home, but I hunted that kid down and demanded answers. He claimed he was defending himself.
Any ounce of level headedness was now gone. This was my little man. And he’s not called little man for no good reason. He is just that, little.
“Are you telling me that you had to punch this little boy? And there was nothing else you could do, like use words?”
He continually told me he had to defend himself, but it wasn’t gonna fly. Not with this p-o’ed mama. Heaven help the one who messes with my kid. I dragged his sorry butt up to the office because there was no way I was just gonna let him get away with this. There is no acceptable reason for punching anyone in the face.
We aren’t even through the second week of school and little man is getting punched for no good reason?
Little Man sat with the principal and the big fisted bully sat with the vice principal. They both shared their stories while little man iced his face.
As I listened to more of little man’s story between intermittent sobs it became blaringly obvious that this kid was your stereotypical bully, plain and simple. He had been tormenting him since the beginning of track, trying to trip him and kick him, then he locked him in and wouldn’t let him leave the locker room. Turns out the door handle broke off yesterday. Then after he cornered little man, shoved him, and nearly strangled him, he punched him twice.
As a mother I want nothing more than to protect my child from the evils of the world, but as hard as I may try I can’t keep him encapsulated in a bubble forever. He will and must experience hurt and even pain. It is inevitable and imperative for his progression.
(Oh, and if little man doesn't look so little, it's because he's standing by his 5 foot tall mama.)
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again… motherhood is not for wussies. It is the epitome of the agony and the ecstasy. And every emotion in between on the spectrum.
And just as our children need us less we want nothing more than to keep them by our side 24/7. The idea of snuggling to Cailou and Blues Clues sounds like a walk in the park about now. There are days I mourn my precious babies. Those sweet little kissable, lovable pockets of chubs nestled up with you for hours on end… back in the day when I could do no wrong and I was their entire world.
But we must let them go… and make mistakes and fall down. And get hurt. As much as it pains me I must allow this to happen. For them.
But there are also those times that as a mother there are battles that I must fight. Battles that exist because of extenuating circumstances outside of their control and things that they shouldn’t even be subjected to.
Little man may not need me to nurse him or clothe him or change his diapers, but he still needs an advocate rooting him on.
Call me what you will, but I will go to any lengths to ensure that my kid has the best. He deserves nothing less. And after all, if I don’t fight these battles for him, who will?
So, we are stuck at a school that is located in a rough neighborhood with kids from all walks of life with exceptionally low scores because contrary to what Cedar Rapids claims, they do not allow open enrollments. (Unless you want McKinley or Roosevelt.)
Who knows where this kid lives or what his home situation is. All I know for certain is that I was promised a positive experience at Roosevelt and this is anything but. Don’t even try to convince me otherwise. I should have continued to fight and never accepted this for my son.
And you can mark my words… this is not over yet!
I wrote this in the throes of raw unadulterated passion earlier. And not the good kind. Since this time I have received a phone call from both the track coach and the vice principal assuring me that they will do right by this and that little man will be safe at school from here on out. The VP also complimented me on my demeanor today. So, although I was initially steamed I did have a few mintues to cool down and collect my thoughts prior to our meeting.
They told me that they had an eye witness that backed up everything little man reported and that for whatever reason this bully just had it out for him. They also informed me of my rights as a parent of a child who was assaulted. And although I will probably not be pressing charges, it's a comfort to know that he is aware that we have 6 months to a year and that we will be watching him.
Although this is not an incident I would wish on anyone, I am pleased by the manner in which the school responded and are dealing with it. Their concern and kind regards are certainly appreciated and my only hope is that the rest of the week is not as tumultuous for little man. But I still can’t help but feel a little irked. Wouldn’t you?
The one thing I have learned from all this is that it pays to know the staff. We had already had two meetings with the vice principal prior to this incident to express our concern about the school and little man. I think the development of personal relationships with the individuals who look after your child is key to a successful experience.
I'm willing to give it a few more days, but in the end... mama bear will do whatever it takes.