I just sent an unwilling child to school. Not a sick child, but a sad one. You need to know that I am not without empathy in this area. I used to be the unwilling child.
My entire seventh grade year was my unwilling year. First year of junior high. At a new school. Didn’t know a soul. New home. Two less people in my family. I played the guilt card. The scared card. The sick card. The sad card. A lot.
I was going to say that I don’t know how my mom handled it…and when I say ‘it’, I mean me. But I do know. She let me stay home…often. Then, I was thrilled. Looking back, I know I can’t make the same decision for my son. Because it fed into my fears and my sadnesses.
My son is adjusting to middle school. It’s been bumpy. It’s been more homework than he’s ever had and friendship politics that make me want to go right over there and knock some kid-heads together and changing classes and being on the small side and his football team’s losing streak and everybody else buys hot lunch so dot dot dot. You remember all of this, right? I sure do.
I remember the dread.It would start the night before.It was worse on Sunday nights after two nice days of being home with my mom.
Jack’s dread started last night in the car on the way home from a great afternoon of playing with his cousins. We got in the car and, bam, sadness, quietness. He didn’t tell me until two hours later when he was getting ready for bed that that’s what the sadness was about. I don’t feel like I want to go to school tomorrow, he said. Oh, I said softly, and held him.
This is so hard. My kid is not trying to get out of anything. He’s the kind of kid who was mad at himself for getting sick last year and ruining his perfect attendance record. So for him to not want to go, well, that says something.
But I told him that I wouldn’t be doing him any favors by letting him stay home because of fear or sadness.Just like I needed to make myself drive on 47, he needs to make himself go to school.And I need to help him make himself.Even if I can tell he’s about to cry.Even if I cry.
So we prayed. We prayed last night and we prayed this morning, twice. I will pray throughout the day. I’m praying for things like bravery and strength. I’m reminding him that he can do all things through Christ. That Jesus is right there with him. Things like that. But my loudest and most repeated request is this…Jesus, be real to my son. Be his best friend. Show up for him in this. This would be a great time to show Jack who you really are. I hope He does. I obviously believe He can otherwise I wouldn’t keep praying.
My mom let me stay home during seventh grade because she loved me.I’m making my son go to sixth grade for the same reason.
If this post helped you, “Moving On as a Christian Single Mom” is for you, found here.