I awoke this morning, ready to bake Grrrchews. We overslept , so I had to drive the kids to school. I returned home, made my coffee and began to assemble my ingredients. Not 20 minutes later, my phone rang. It was a health teacher this time. Now what? I thought.
It was his health teacher. He is failing. He is missing 12 homework assignments. Two of the items are open book, take home tests. Sounds fairly easy to me. In fact I would not even consider that "work". I always thought health was an easy A. Health is not the only sore point. He is failing 3 out of his 5 classes right now, one week away from end of marking period.
What a roller coaster I am on, and to think yesterday I considered stepping back from this. I have been on the phone all day gathering information and weighing available options. I have narrowed them down to 2, intensive treatment at a wilderness program or a therapeutic boarding school. I do not want to make this choice but have run out of options that fall within a normal range. I must opt for one or the other.
Where have I been, asleep, delusional, or just plain in denial about the depth of my son's issues. I realize that regardless of how well I think I know him or how much help I give him, I just don't have the proper tools to deal with his problems. Intensive professional help is his only option. I feel the guilt well up, along with the tears in my eyes.
About 2 weeks ago I sat in my therapist's office. She asked me to define the word guilt. I do not remember my definition but I do recall hers. She defined it as "fear under a blanket of disguise". Today I understand what that means.
I grew up in a home where parental involvement in my life was minimal . I felt more like a fixture sometimes than a daughter. It was a tough. I felt alone and learned to rely solely on myself. The fear of asking for help was instilled in me from a very young age. I learned not to trust. The guilt I feel in this moment is that fear in disguise. I had a tight grip on a false belief, that I could handle this on my own.
So! I feel the guilt. I recognize my fear. I see its truth. I got on the phone. I made an appointment with a psychiatrist to help narrow down our choices. I will get help from professionals who have proper tools and are much better equipped to help him get back on track. I can't do it all. I actually feel great relief from this admission. I faced this harsh truth today. I was able to deal with it in a calm and rational way. I believe my therapist would call this a therapeutic moment. Asking for help makes me stronger. Regardless of this setback I begin to feel my soul heal.
A few hours have passed. I am breathing calmly again. My hands have stopped trembling. I began this day in the same way I will end it, baking my biscuits. One day at a time.
*(A version of this story is an excerpt from this week’s Noticing newsletter. You can read more about Noticing here.) * In a rare interview, Italian auth...