The Third Day

Every three days or so, my feelings catch up with me. Before that day arrives, I think all is going swimmingly well. Annie likes school so much more this year. She is making new friends! KK’s teacher calls to tell me that my daughter is awesome! Heck, she compliments me on my parenting. My longer mileage for half-marathon training is an excellent escape valve for my emotions.

Then, bam, I can’t see for the tears threatening to spill out of my eyes. It reminds me of grief. I guess it is grief. It starts simply enough. I see a dad on campus that I have wanted to talk to since the school year began. I know he has a son named Drew who receieved tutoring services at Greenwood last year and he should be in kindergarten this year. His brown-haired child is tucked into his chest as they walk back to their car.

“Is your son in preschool again this year?”

“I’m five. I’m in kindergarten,” says Drew.

“No, he is going to kindergarten at Loyal Heights,” the dad says over Drew’s answer.

And I am off and running. We talk for maybe six minutes but my brain has left the earth. Maybe Annie should be going to public school. She has an IEP, too. Maybe I shouldn’t be taking her to appointments at another school and tutoring places all week. Maybe I should have pulled her out of that preschool that didn’t work so great for her. Maybe I shouldn’t have sent her to kindergarten last year when I knew she wasn’t really ready. Maybe every avenue I have chosen for my child has been a street filled with pollutants and bullies.

I can hear Drew’s dad telling me the truth. “She is in two loving environments. Mrs. S loves her and you love her. You can’t go wrong with that. The kids who have it bad are the ones who don’t have that.”

I know he is right, but the sunshine ends right there. It might as well be pouring rain with a forecast of an 8.0 earthquake. Because I can’t hear reason. I only have ears for someone else’s decisions and I second guess every choice I have ever made for my girl. Seriously, Annie wants me to change her name to Kiki right now and she sobs when I tell her no. Did I choose the wrong name?

The fact is we are all doing the best we can. Each of us, in our shells we call home, good or bad, right or wrong. I push at the chatter in my head with a run, by talking to Chris, by reading, by picking words to think about my life in new ways. But sometimes grief is just grief, and even reason can’t change the sadness pushing its way out of my body. There isn’t a thing to fix. There is just me today, being sad about the road Annie has already traveled. Sometimes, it just sucks to have a child with learning issues. There is no way around that feeling. If I sit with it today, I am guessing tomorrow may be better.

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