This week I waited patiently, as I do every day, for your teachers to bring you out of school at the end of the day. One by one, your classmates slowly emerged from the building, but on this day you didn’t follow.
Hmmmmm, confused yes, but then I thought maybe it was simply that you needed a change of clothes as a result of a potty issue - that wouldn’t necessarily be out of the norm. Unfortunately, today that wasn’t the case. I made eye contact with our beloved Teacher Assistant Ms. Heather, and her face said it all. She motioned me closer and said it’d be best if maybe I went inside because you were having a pretty rough day.
Addie today was not a good day, today you were unfortunately “that kid.”
My heart sunk as I made my way into the school passing all the kids carrying their backpacks happily chatting with their friends as they headed out to the buses. The thought of listening to you have a conversation with a friend or effortlessly jumping onto a bus to get home - these are things we hope one day will happen for you too, but not today.
While you are never less than anyone else my dear, we are always surrounded by constant reminders that you are different.
I turned down your classroom hallway to see your teacher, with a flushed faced, teary eyed version of you making your way towards me. Today was not a good day indeed.
You looked completely spent. Your behavior today was so out of the ordinary for even “MADdie,” that the teachers recorded it for us to see. To say you were struggling would be putting it lightly! The agitation escalated as the day went on, and by the time afternoon came and you were asked to simply color a number 5 on a worksheet, you had finally had enough. You erupted with anger and frustration.
Screaming, crying, throwing and pushing your chair to the ground, your whole body was tense and ridged. All this over a number 5? What was going on? They knew you weren’t hurt, not hungry either - you had just eaten lunch, something was angering you but super sleuthing was getting everyone nowhere. You were exhausting yourself by the minute with rage type behavior. Truly heartbreaking to watch. At the end of the video my heart officially broke as you simply laid your head down on your desk defeated by your own emotions as Ms. Heather gently comforted you by stroking your hair. While this was all very sad and difficult to watch, you couldn’t help but take notice to the calmness and patience your teachers seem to possess in all this. If we can find beauty even in the worst situations, that was simply beautiful and very reassuring as a parent (and to you too I’m sure).
While I was surprised by your extreme actions on this day, it’s definitely no surprise that you've been struggling now for quite some time.
You see Addie, this journey is like a giant game of chance or trial and error, but the scary part is that it’s not a game, it’s your life, and mommy and daddy are moving all the pieces. No pressure, right?!
The education is endless, the nights are often sleepless, we try anything and everything because as parents we do whatever we need to do to help our children. Different diets, medications, oils, therapies anything from holistic to medical because we just want you to live your best life with ease and not struggle in your own skin. Is that really asking too much?!
It’s moments like these that I feel like someone kicked my feet out from under me and pushed me into a dark hole where I’m trying to climb out of again. Things we were working towards - airplane trips, restaurant dinners, family movie nights at a real theater - it suddenly seems unobtainable. Simply out of reach in our dark hole.
You were “that kid.” The one that just needed more. More attention from your teachers, more space, more reassurance, more in so many ways. The worst part, I didn’t have any answers for them as to why this was happening and more importantly, how to make it better. I had nothing.
We came home and you spent the next hour decompressing on the swing in the backyard. You knew what you needed, but we still had no idea how we got here today.
You see Addie, this journey tests us almost daily. Someone blowing their nose, or the seam of a sock can send the whole day down the drain in a matter of seconds. While many will show up on this journey and claim that they have the answer to fix it all, the truth is there is no one size fits all approach to easing the stresses of the journey we walk.
Ironically, I read an article recently about “that kid.” You know, the one that the other kids come home and say “XYZ was naughty in school again today,” or describe how socially awkward they are. It went on to talk about how we shouldn’t be quick to judge “that kid” because they are probably trying really hard and are struggling with not only outward distresses but internal ones as well.
I’m sorry this was how this week played out for you baby girl, but we will continue to take deep breaths, and find grace in the fact that tomorrow is a new day, while mommy and daddy will continue to look for those much-needed answers.
Remember Addie, Menzo’s don’t give up!
While I question myself quite often, there are a few things I know for sure. Even when you are “that kid” we still love you the whole world full. Even when you are “that kid” you have a whole team of dedicated teachers that are fiercely committed to helping you work through it. Even when you are “that kid” we all know that sweet, smart, amazing, funny girl that is still inside you.
We all have bad days, sometimes even weeks Addie, but we should never let those moments define who we are.
Deep breaths baby girl. We love you. We’ll get through this together.