I can't promise that it will be a successful metaphor, but I hope you'll stay with me.
This morning, I drove to the local middle school. I've been doing some editing work for one of the administrators, and planned to pop in and pop out to get a paycheck. I felt good on the drive down--sunny, hopeful. Paul and I had talked last night after a difficult conversation the evening prior, and I felt like we had made headway.
Marriage with young children is tough. It's easy to give everything away, and leave nothing for each other. We came up with all sorts of solutions, but we're trying this strategy: I will stop doing non-essential chores if they make me resentful. For example, if I don't feel like doing the dishes or picking up Paul's dirty clothes, then I won't. He will either do it himself, or I will do it at a time that it no longer makes me resentful.
It's not passive-aggressive, because we agreed on this strategy together. I've just started it, but I already feel a bit empowered.
But, oh, the fighting and the discussing is challenging. I spent yesterday emotionally spent, writing and deleting blog posts that were full of the drama and the darkness. It is work to figure out how you're feeling. It is work to push up from the darkness and bring issues to light. It is so much easier to stay underground. And yet, Paul and I made the decision to push, and to seek the sunshine.
This was on my mind as I drove to that middle school. I unloaded the boys and stepped into the office. While we were waiting to get the envelope, Joel bumped his head on something and started crying.
I rushed him out of the office, but not in time. There was another boy in the room, probably an eighth grader. Big kid. He was getting visibly agitated by the noise, started screaming, and the next thing I know, he had shoved me, twice, and hit Joel in the face before an incredibly quick and compassionate secretary restrained the boy.
Joel was wailing. Owen was terrified. I was shaking. I was quickly whisked into another room, where we all settled down. The principal was apologizing, as she explained that the boy, who had severe Autism, was triggered by noise.
I understood. This was no thug. This was a terrified young man, already in the office for whatever reason, now faced with too much noise, too much overload, just too much. They were not excusing him-as they were attending to the boys and I, the young man was talking with the vice principal---nor were they dismissing the fact that my boys and I were physically attacked.
Somebody hit this face?
I'll admit that the thought passed through my mind--Why was that kid unsupervised? Who allowed him there?
The mama-bear inside me wanted to rip his face off.
Of course, I don't know this kid. I don't know his history, or what makes him happy.
I don't know anything except that somebody loves him.
Somebody rocked that baby to sleep.
Somebody is going to get a phone call today saying that her son attacked a crying baby, and that mother is going to despair, and hope, and pray for answers. She will cry for her son.
And while I am sad for my sons, and scared, and furious, I am also crying for her son. Hoping for him. Sending love his way. Praying that he gets the support he needs so he can flourish, and grow.