I'm not silent here - I'm silenced. When I figure out how to talk coherently about this situation, I will. But right now, I'm - oh, dammit, grr is just to prissy for an anger this visceral.
But want something afterschool special to go with incoherent rage? Try this:
I called my mom the other day, and apologized. I'd just had the Eldest's parent-teacher conference, and now I understood how packed those meetings are with hope and worry. I went in there wanting to know if the Eldest, now a sharp-edged grump after school, was a terror of the classroom.
They wanted me to stop fidgeting at them so they could sing the child's praises. For lo, unto the 1st grade, an Eldest is born. And he readeth at the 3rd grade level (just finished reading Mary Poppins to himself, and damn if he didn't understand it), and he computeth far beyond his years (and occasionally beyond mine, but that's not hard), and he spak and wrote and thought in manners astonishing. Handwriting's not bad, either.
No slouch our lad, and the chess club leader popped in to remind me. He's won a what? a tournament? The instructor looked at me pityingly, but really, now. Isn't this faintly absurd?
Oh, and he's a mensch in class.
So, I asked, what the hell is going on when I pick him up? He looks and acts like he's been through a wringer.
Ah, said the teachers, and looked somewhat embarrassed.
It seems that the allergy table in the lunchroom is now populated only by one allergic kid: mine. But last year a non-allergic child or two opted to bring Eldest-friendly lunches, so that they might sit with him. This year, the table is packed with the non-allergic and their allergy-friendly food.
It's become a real social hot spot, the teachers admitted, and none of those kids are eating a proper lunch. They're all grumpy at the end of the day.
I thought it over for oh, a millisecond.
That's just fine, I told the teachers. Do what you can, but I'm not complaining - I'll just pack him a bigger snack when I pick him up.
The Eldest's year has begun, shaped by community and friendship - and there's been a ripple effect in my direction. This year I've been watching friendships bloom with a number of 1st grade mothers who are perfectly happy being quirky and totally unafraid to discuss something taboo. They are taking me back to school, pushing me to rethink any number of complacently held ideas. And above all, laughing at me when I thank them for vacuuming, or shopping, or even baking for my crew.
Apparently the Eldest's friends get it from somewhere, and friendship really is more important than what you eat, or where you eat it. Damn.
(and now, a return to incoherence.)