My bosses had me in tears yesterday.
My heart is so sad for our kids. Divorce really hurts the children. So few of us divorce well. Being used as pawns to injure their other parent, being shuffled from one house to another and, often, coming home to an empty house. Parents who have “no time” and “have to work” and think nothing of telling this to their children. Every day there’s another story to listen to (and I know they’re one side of the whole story). Every day there’s another child to “worry” about.
We had a fourth or fifth grader this week who is behaving badly on the bus. His mom won’t get out of the car to talk to the bus driver because she “works” and “has meetings” … blah! blah! What this translates to, is that she doesn’t have time to help her child. She’s telling him that, at least. And he’s an angry boy. He “doesn’t care” but cries when confronted about his behavior. He’s just a little boy. He needs to know that he’s loved and valued. His parents are the most important people in his life.
I had a third-grade girl in the clinic for quite a while this week. She obviously didn’t feel well (kids get this look around their eyes) but she so wanted to talk. She and her classmate were chatting as I knitted. She said her mom is an alcoholic who isn’t working (sits on the couch all day but makes a killer lasagna) but stays out late with her motorcycle friends. They’ve moved in with her grandparents. Her aunt and cousins have, too. She’s often awakened in the middle of the night when they come in. When I called mom to see if she’d come pick her up, the angry, clipped response was, “tell her to stop faking and go back to class.” My boss said that mom was an active participant in her life three years ago but it seems that she’s just given up.
I know I can’t save the world but the boss saw me crying this week. I work every day to be a smile at the start and end of a child’s day. I hug them. I talk to them. I make eye contact. I find them food when they haven’t had breakfast and give them pep-talks. I give them permission to tell me what they would like to do – call home, rest for awhile. Most of them don’t have any idea what they want. I hope that I’m making a positive difference and teaching them that someone cares.
Sometimes it’s a heavy weight on my shoulders but I was “called” to be around young children. I missed having young children in my life. I love my job.