Moms Columns & Blogs

Facing fallout

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I have never felt so tired and still so driven; this must be what salmon feel like after struggling to swim upstream.  I am stubbornly determined to preserve what remains of my family, but I’m worn out from fighting the swirling currents of emotion trying to sweep us away…  

Yesterday was Labor Day, so I had an additional day to sit around and stew.  I spent it alternately fuming (after all we have been through how could you put us in this position), worrying (am I doing all that I can to help her cope with losing Brian) and ignoring it all (I am too weary to think about any of it anymore).  I really needed this extra time to muster my resolve and set my mind to standing strong beside her, facing the fallout yet to come...  

Grace received the dreaded call to the principal’s office first thing this morning.  I promised her I would come to the school immediately if and when it happened, so she wouldn’t be alone.  As I signed in, I recognized other faces; apparently she wasn’t the only one being questioned about the events of Friday night.  Our turn came quickly…  Grace submitted to the interrogation without a fight; she conveyed the same story to the staff that we ultimately received.  She firmly stood her ground when cross examined over inconsistencies between her narrative and another person’s account of that evening.  After judgment was rendered, I sat, shell-shocked, crocodile tears streaming down my face as I watched my child fall apart upon hearing her fate.  I don’t even know how to describe it…words fail me…  I felt compelled to remind them of our loss, in case they were unaware, as so many at school were completely ignorant of it less than two weeks ago.  I wasn’t excusing her behavior or choices…  I sat there, silently raging, as these adults dismissed the impact of her brother’s death as irrelevant to the matter at hand.  I beg to differ…  What could they possibly know unless they have lived it themselves?  

I have never been the parent that believed my children were perfect and incapable of wrongdoing; far from it.  If anything, I have always assumed them to be guilty until proven innocent by at least two reliable sources…  Grace hasn’t had trouble at school other than the usual female ‘drama queen’ scenes; nothing has ever warranted detention, much less suspension, prior to now.  Wham-ten days, effective immediately.  She will be allowed to serve her time at a supervised alternate school site in order to avoid absences, being as it’s only the second week of school.    Brian was kicked off the bus a few times in middle school; he loved to try and get the last word on his bus driver, who would then promptly give him a referral (as he should have).  But I have no frame of reference for this crime or corresponding punishment…  What lesson is this really teaching?  I absolutely agree that some action must be taken, some punishment meted, but I’m not sure that this is accomplishing anything more than setting her up to completely fail her sophomore year.  I do not see how her suspension is going to deter this same behavior in her peers.  If her friend’s trip to the emergency room hasn’t driven the point home, I don’t know of anything that will…  

I hope and pray this tragedy averted will be the catalyst for change in Grace.  She has spent the summer sprinting away from this life she is loath to accept.  She literally fled the scene of the crime after determining her friend was being helped.  To the world looking in, she appears to be fully in control; only I see the bedlam behind the hazel eyes and mayhem in her movements.  Others cannot grasp the extent to which anxiety, fear and panic threaten our precarious perch here on the edge of reason; we face down these and other demons like them daily, with varying degrees of success and failure.  Grace made a serious mistake, and now the dominoes are tumbling... 

To say that I am ill-equipped to cope with all that this entails would be an understatement…and it’s only just begun…  

Original blog posts have been re-posted under the month of March, identified as Archive-Part 1, etc.  Wishing you hope…TG 

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator 

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