Who am I saving?
Leia usually gets up at 6am to get ready for school. I should preface that by saying, on a good day, Leia gets up at 6am. On a bad day, which usually means we have had a bad night, I send a message to the woman who escorts Leia in a taxi to her school that she won’t be coming. Then I send another message to the school. I am lucky. I have help at home so if Leia doesn’t go to school, I can still theoretically go about my day. That all sounds fairly normal, right?
This morning, Dov, my husband, woke up at 5.30am to go kayaking. He says, “Geula (Leia’s taxi escort) has taken her husband to ER. She can’t pick up Leia. The new fresh facts start to sift through my head. I had planned to do yoga with my friend at 7am. I would have to can that. I would also now have to take Leia to school and Maya to school. I send a message to Yael, no yoga today 🙁 Then I fall back asleep. Around 6.50 I wake up and go downstairs with Maya the two year old. Leia is lying on the couch downstairs ready to go to school. I can see she is tired. For me, Leia being tired always brings up concerns. I start to jump ahead and think about the ride to school. Getting her out of the car. Walking up to the gate of her school. Taking her into class. How will all of that be? Will she be upset? Will she start to hit her head. I see my mind wondering off with worries that aren’t helpful and certainly have nothing to do with the present.
I eat some fruit and make some green tea and get everyone in the car. First I take Maya and drop her off. She already is bitten by two mosquitoes. It’s summer time and she is always so sensitive. Why didn’t I think to put some anti-mosquito spray on her? I take her up to her nursery. Will she just give me a hug and say goodbye, or will it be hard for her? Maya loves to wear dresses but the nursery insists even with dresses, that she wears a pair of shorts. It’s always a fight at home to put on the shorts, so I wait until we get to the nursery. Is she going to be annoyed. She might even start to cry? I bring myself back to the present. We are just in the nursery saying goodbye.
I walk back to the car and drive Leia to school. I turn on music but it feels noisy and switch it off. “Leia,” I tell her. “The drive is going to take around 45 minutes because we have a lot of traffic.” I don’t want her to suffer in the car. Again, I start to imagine how it will be in school. Will she not want to get out of the car? Will she hit herself. We arrive at the parking lot. I brace myself. She doesn’t want to get out of the car but she doesn’t put up such a fight. I promised her I would pick her up early today. We get to where the guard is sitting. She is pulling me back a little, but I keep going. Inside I am telling myself, “why is this so hard?” “Why doesn’t she want to go to school?” “Maybe inside she understands everything and this place is unbearable to her?” “Maybe her sensory stuff is so strong that she can’t find peace here?” I think about the kids in her class. Who can she be close to?
I get to the gate of her school. She is slightly whimpering. I am telling myself, it’s ok, she will go to her class. I will pick her up early. What am I to do? Always keep her at home. Keep her wrapped up in cotton wool? Shield her from any challenge in the world. We walk past the principle’s room and I tell her that I will be picking Leia up early today. She says, “no problem, they have music class now.” Music class! Ah it sounds so normal. I love music. So does Leia. We walk up to the class to hear a popular Israel artist on the speaker and a guy playing a guitar.
Leia farts. I know this is funny and I guess it is, but she had a gassy stomach all morning. It’s from the parasite medicine I am giving her. It always makes her bowel movements super smelly but at least, it calms her down. Helps with her sleep. The assistant in the class rightfully pulls a face. The smell was pretty bad. But I look innocent. For whatever reason I decide to pretend like the smell isn’t coming from my daughter. I tell her I am picking up Leia at 2.30pm. “Really?” she asks, “because if you say 2.30pm then it needs to be 2.30pm. She will get upset if you don’t arrive on time.” Ah another lesson I think to myself. I find it really hard to be on time. It can drive my older daughter nuts. Now I see it’s hard for Leia too. “I will get back to you all with a final time,” I say to her.
I look back at Leia who realizes that she has to go into the classroom. Seven kids are sitting on chairs in one state or another listening to the music. I don’t find it stimulating or particularly fun. I think to myself, how can Leia enjoy this. How can I send her to this place for the next ten years of her life? What is so great about this? Then my mind jumped to the typing classes we have started recently and and a conversation I had with a woman who was telling me that I should now be helping her with Rapid Prompt Method (RPM). I left Leia. Waited for them to unlock the gate and burst into tears.
I hated seeing in that classroom. I hate pushing Leia to do anything that she doesn’t like to do. I am not always sure I am excited by the vibe of the class. I am sure if I visited my older daughter’s mediocre school classes, I would feel the same, but of course with Leia it’s different. Everything is different. I feel such responsibility to help her in any way I can. I start to think how I can integrate teaching Leia RPM, we are already doing a special typing methodology here, but I want more, I want it faster, I want her to succeed more quickly. I want her to be able to express herself. To pull her out of this very difficult place where she is possibly doing things all day that she doesn’t want to do and nobody can really know.
As I walk towards my car, still crying, I bring myself back to the present again. I take a big breath. All this sadness I can see is primarily my own frustration with myself. I am not saying any of these thoughts might be true. But I will never know and I am not sure if all of these thoughts are true or just some of them. I am also not sure if the sadness is to do with truly seeing my daughter’s helpless state, or the fact that I don’t want to be in this position thinking about how I can help her more. When I come back to the present, I look around me and see trees and my car. Nothing has really happened. I took her to school that’s all right? But as usual I see how distracted our minds can be. How easily we can go into trips about this and that.
I am not saying I don’t want to help move my daughter forward, but let’s be clear here. I think I want it so that I won’t have to think about it anymore. The more independent she becomes, the less reliant she will be on me. It’s not that I am doing everything to be rid of the responsibility, but perhaps at some level it is.