Monday, August 23, 2010

Epistle: To D., on the Occasion of His First Day of First Grade

Dear D.,

When Daddy and I first started dating, The X-Files was popular. (Yes, we are THAT old.) And Mulder had a poster in his office, a poster that said, "I want to believe." D., I want to believe. I want to work towards the future I want for you SO BADLY.

Daddy thinks that your new school is full of people with the best, the very best, intentions. But, he says, and I have to agree, they have NO IDEA who you are. They want you to succeed. They are committed to your success. I get that. I do. But I'm not sure that I see, with the clarity that they seem to have, how we get you from where you are to where we all want you to be.

Daddy took you to school today. You were crying when he left, and Daddy was pretty sure we'd get a phone call telling us to come get you. Somehow, that didn't happen. I came to school early to check in before I picked you up. In the office, the Assistant Principal and Principal both came to tell me what a great day you'd had. The resource teacher didn't pull you out today because of some scheduling thing that I didn't quite follow, so you were in the regular classroom all day. And although you did tell everyone you saw that you were leaving at 3:20, at 3:20 Daddy would be there, you made it.

The Principal and AP were very proud of you. I asked them if you had any idea what was going on in the classroom, though, and they reminded me that it was the first day, and it wouldn't be until the resource teacher pulled you out that we'd see if you were getting anything from the classroom.

I went down the hallway to peek in at you. I saw you sitting on the floor with all the other students, listening to a story. And then you all got up and went to your desks. And you saw me, and you told the teacher, "My mom! It's time for me to go now." And she said, "No, it's not, sit down." And you must have said no, although I didn't hear it, because then she said, "You don't say no to me. Don't say no to me. You don't say no to me. Do you understand me?" And then you probably said no again, because she repeated herself, and I really hated her in those moments.

Maybe you need someone to be tough with you and just expect you to function. Lord knows, I lose my temper with you.

You were so happy to see me, but you didn't burst into tears and run in terror from the school. You told the teacher you'd see her tomorrow. And I was feeling okay until we came home and I saw the homework you had, which is so far above your level that it's frightening, and I don't even know what to do with it. You attempted it. You did. But you're just not there yet, and it scares me so much.

Here's what I know, D.: I know that I love you more than I can adequately express. And for know, that's all I feel like I know.



Ruchi said...

first of all, why does school start so early in texas? the board of ed here starts on september 8th. second of all, this stuff is so so hard. To give your vulnerable child over to strangers who will be with him many hours a day and hope that they will understand him, care for him and maybe even teach him something. Let us know how it goes..

Thy said...

You do not say no to me???!! Is she for real? In this century? I want my kids to be able to express their opinion (in a respectful manner).

Ellen Seidman said...

This just totally made me cry. First grade sees like such a big deal, the first day even more monumental. But really, it's just the START, and surely many things will fall into place. Maybe that teacher was having first-day jitters, too.

Unknown said...

Keeping fingers crossed for you and D. My little SOTOS girl starts 1st grade in two weeks with a similar setup. She did amazing last year in a similar setup also so hopefully D will see similar success.

WriterGrrl said...

Hey David -- any way you could email me? You commented once before and I wanted to talk to you, but your Blogger profile isn't public.

Mara said...

FWIW, I hated that teacher, too. Ditto Thy!