Sunday, September 06, 2009

59 Months

So Lucas is going to school. Kindergarten beckons and he does not want to go. For most of the summer Xtimu and I have been trying to prepare him for the big day, without alarming him or causing too much pressure. We just wanted him to understand what was going to happen so that he wouldn't be surprised when we dropped him off in front of the school with, "see ya in six hours!" We even sent him to an extensive half-day camp at the YMCA to get him comfortable with the type of environment that he would be facing day in and day out. Up until that point he hadn't been in anything like that, spending all of his time at home or with relatives. No preschool. Nothing.

And the thing about it was that whenever we spoke about our plans with him, Lucas always seemed okay with them, saying that he was ready and pretty dismissive of most of our concerns. He asked interesting questions and accepted our answers with quiet resolve. Like most things with our boy, he acted like it wasn't such a big deal.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the truth began to come out. He started saying that he didn't want to go or that he wasn't going to go. He began making his own plans for the type of school that he wanted to attend and no matter how hard I tried to find it, there was nothing out there in the district that fit his description, not even a charter school. These were our first warnings but like two parents who are completely confident in the power of their own children (aka ostrich parents), we went forward assuredly saying to ourselves that he always has adjusted before so it'll be okay this time.

Well, apparently Lucas was beginning to feel the mounting pressure because as the day grew near, he began to act out more and more. He stopped eating, started talking back with ever-more frequency, moaning and complaining about every little thing, was aggressive with Quinn, manic and hyper all the time and didn't want to do anything except watch teevee. He even had lost weight since his doctor's appointment from a year ago. The day came for his orientation and Xtimu called me three times to tell me that he was throwing up all morning but it was nothing but water because he hadn't put anything in his stomach. By the time we went that afternoon, we were seriously concerned but he met his teacher and saw his desk and ran around with some of the other kids so we were hoping that would be the proper ice-breaker.

Well, the shit had yet to hit the fan, as they say and Lucas completely went over the edge causing an incredible meltdown here at casawex. He destroyed a bunch of plants in the garden, ones that had been growing all summer and were blooming toward harvest. It was heartbreaking and devastating. Needless to say, we all succumbed to enormous depression and anxiety over the incident resulting in a loss of many toys and a probation period for Lucas. This is the fifty-ninth time I've written about parenting Lucas and sixty would mean that he just turned five. He may not have a birthday because of what happened. We'll see.

This is all terrible and we are very concerned about our little guy. The love in our heart toward him is enormous but there is another part of us that understands how important it is for him to be responsible and have some sort of discipline in his life. Both Xtimu and I have had to deal with the reality of those who do not have these two factors in their lives and the results are even more devastating. We want Lucas to overcome anything and he most certainly won't be able to do that if we cannot guide him firmly and resolutely nor if we simply do everything for him. This school preparation fiasco has been the most trying time with us as Lucas' parents.

Like I said last month, there's a part of me that aches when I see the fragile child in his eyes. I was so scared for so long when I was his age and I don't want him to feel that way. When I remember those deep feelings in my own heart, I'm really able to have an incredible amount of compassion for him. I can sit down and talk with him closely and warmly. I can connect with him, heart to heart. I never had that with my own father and I don't want to close myself off to Lucas, no matter that other side of me that wants him to just buck up because I know that he has nothing to fear, no matter that part that wishes I could just give him confidence, infuse it into his soul so that there's nothing to worry about. But it's a long, long road to maturity and Lucas has to gain that knowledge for himself. Besides, he isn't even five after all.

Tonight I was able to get him to open up to me and I saw clearly some of his fears. He told me that he misses me and Xtimu, that he wants to stay with us and that's why he doesn't want to go to school. It makes total sense, having never been apart from us and We miss him too. My heart wrenched when he told me how he felt but what can I do? We've put him upon the path and now we have to let him go out into the world, no matter how much we want to pull him back. He's almost five so we can still do so much to be there for him; hold his hand and envelop him with our wide wing-span and we can still tell him how much that we love him and we can help him to feel comfortable so that he'll be reminded that he has nothing to fear when he wants to let us know what he's feeling inside, no matter how confusing or terrifying or desperate those feelings may be.

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