I’m taking a lot of deep breaths today.

I got a note from my son’s teacher that he’s having a hard time at school. When I asked Jack about it he declared that school makes him miserable. That he doesn’t have any friends. That he has to bang his head on the pole at recess because otherwise he will scream and yell and lose his temper and get in trouble.

Y’all. This is my boy. My baby. Here is one side: I know how he is. He is a perfectionist. I often say that he’s an old man trapped in a child’s body. He has a temper. He is over competitive. He doesn’t see the other people in the world, he sees himself. And then more of himself. And then also himself. He has all these grown up ways of looking at the world but isn’t capable of handling it. And no one at school understands that- teacher or child.

He says the other kids bully him. Tease him. When one kid grabs him by the hood and swings him around Jack is the one that gets in trouble for telling. I want to punch that kid right in the face, little troublemaker. Picking on my boy for spiking his hair, for having to wear glasses. Making Jack feel bad about himself. Making him feel unsafe. Making him hate himself because no one wants to be his friend.

Jack is tall, and slender. He has friendly brown eyes, and a scatter of freckles across his nose and cheeks. He has the prettiest teeth, and kind of shrieks a little when he thinks something is really funny. He’s good at saying things like “AGH! I’m really mad!” when he’s really mad. He chews his fingernails down to nubs trying to behave and sit still at school. He curls into my lap and almost purrs because he loves me that much. He tells me in a husky voice before bed “I love you mom” with such feeling I can almost swallow the words whole.

He can be hard to get along with. Unbendable. Unwilling to take any blame, any at all.

I feel so in the middle. So caught between the “third grade team” and my little boy. I want to shake him and blame him and curse him. Just be normal for god’s sake. Normal! Is that so hard? Why do things always have to be so wonky with him? Why can’t he be kid of the year and have forty-seven best friends and I can bask in the glory of my wondrous son? Why can’t it be easy?

Screw that.

I had thought that my being was calming down a bit. I mean, I was soul searching. Feeling like things were steady enough to get that soft hide-a-way part of me out and wave it around some. Feeling like fall was here and that we were all settling in for our long winter’s nap. Now here I am, in the middle of molting during an uproar without my hard enough shell.

I know it can’t be easy. I know I will listen and advocate for my not-so-normal beloved boy. I know that my mama ego can take this imagined blow, and many many more. It’s just so hard feeling so judged, or imagining that we’re being judged since we haven’t even had the conference yet. There I am, me with my conference ahead of the horse again.

These are the things that are hard to deal with without two bottles of wine. These are the things that make me almost vibrate with frustration. These are the things I want to eat all the cookies in the world about. That I want to just throw my hands up and say FUCK. IT. and then run far away about.

But.

These are the things that I know I need to breathe in about. That I need to put on comfy pants and grab my book and maybe watch a movie with the kids piled on the couch while the cold mist rains and rains outside. That I keep practicing dealing about. And practicing. And practicing.

So I’m going to put down my arms. I’m going to stop the fight before it even starts. I’m going to get my cart, and my horse and arrange them in sensible order. Make it OK for me to not be in control, but to let the thing run its’ course. Make my thoughts and words belong to me, to open my heart and do what I will feel is right. Let the time come and stay now in the meantime. And mostly not feel scared, or ashamed, or afraid. Breathe in, breathe out, and trust that I can surrender to the dilemma.