Posted on | July 18, 2013 | 28 Comments
J is a pretty easy going kid.
Even on the days when he didn’t want me to leave him at his old “school,” he would sort of pout or put his head down and fake cry. It was more for effect than being really sad or really not wanting to be at school.
This morning, we got up in time for me to make breakfast. We snuggled on the sofa and watched Curious George. Mid way through, he looked up at me and said “I don’t want to go to school any more” and I broke a little. We talked briefly, me making light of it until he moved on to another topic, and I thought the worst was over. Then I pulled up to the little Primary Building at his new school and he grabbed my hand and held it like a vice. We walked up the ramp and through the door, while he quietly whispered “I don’t want to stay here. I don’t want to stay here” like a violently soft dagger into my heart.
We walked in and he went straight to his cubbie, squeezing his frame all the way into the slim space, his feet dangling out. He stared at me with those same eyes that looked at me the moment they wheeled him into my hospital room… big, open, scared… and I wanted to wrap my arms around him, lift him up, and run away. I asked him to show me around the room a little and he did, pointing out the fish and the gecko. When I picked him up to hug him, I realized he’d gotten syrup on his shorts and told him he needed to change pants. The teacher walked over, held out her hand and he took it quietly. She started to walk him towards the restroom to change and he looked back at me once, eyes wide.
I plastered a smile on my face and waved.
“I’ll be back. Have a great day! I love you!” My voice sounded artificial, pouring out and around the cracks and breaks in my heart. He didn’t speak. He didn’t scream or cry or pout. Instead, his head fell to his chest, his bottom lip shook slightly, and tears poured out of his eyes.
He didn’t even look at me, didn’t even stop his walk to the restroom, hand in hand with his teacher. With his face turned down and tears streaming down his cheeks, it was just the barest murmur… just the sharpest arrow from his mouth to my heart:
“Don’t leave me here.”
And I broke into millions of pieces, spiraling out of myself and into this new place where my baby is a boy and I can not fix his hurts.