Therapy…Clubs…and Good Days…

…show we are moving in the right direction. We are 2 weeks into therapy for T. We found him a really good one who does play therapy. I pull T out of school a couple hours early every Friday so he can have a “play date” with our new friend (the therapist). Today he said he had a list of things to talk about during his play date, that he didn’t want to talk me about. I let him know that this is what the play dates are for, to talk to our friend about things he didn’t want to talk to me about. He has been so excited for the last couple days about this weeks play date. I love seeing him so excited about something that will be so good for him. 

Last Saturday T talked to his dad on the phone. Actually, dad talked to him. T’s silence was extremely abnormal, as he usually can’t stop talking when he’s on the phone. I knew something was up, but I didn’t want to push the issue that night. The next couple days were full of attitude and anger. I finally sat him down and asked what was going on. He said he didn’t want to talk about it because he didn’t want to get in trouble. I told him he won’t be in trouble for telling me what was upsetting him, he said he knows he won’t be in trouble with me, but he would be in trouble with dad. 

What?!?! Wow! Now I have to know. We have been working on not keeping secrets, and in one phone call, dad puts a stop to all of the work we’d done. Apparently, according to mom and dad, he misunderstood the “conversation”. Dad said he told him that “Auntie (that’s me) is the only person you can trust. Don’t talk to anyone else. Don’t trust anyone else.” Now keep in mind that dad knows what’s going on, and knows that T is going to therapy, which by the way, I was told by both mom and dad that I had to be in every session with him, which I refuse to do, because this little boy has been through so much and he needs to be free to talk about any and all of it if that’s what he wants and needs. 

Back to the phone call…what the heck was dad thinking? Why bring up who T is “allowed” to talk to unless you’re trying to keep him from talking? Unless you have something to hide? Who am I kidding? Dad has a lot to hide. But that’s on him, and little T should not be forced to carry the weight of his dad’s burdens. T already knows more than he should about drugs, and suicide, and being the adult.

Wednesday was a not so good day at school. T hit 3 kids, punched them. All for different reasons. Then he dropped the F bomb in class. Privileges were revoked for this unacceptable behavior. He accepted responsibility and loss of privileges, so I know he realized he messed up. Uncle took T along to visit our son Sean, who had a brilliant idea to tell T about “The fresh boys club” and told him he could be part of it only if he can show he can control his anger and his language. 2 great days later, and he’s trying to earn his way in 🙂

Secrets and Lies…

…are toxic. I think that many adults, maybe even most adults, would agree that secrets can be dangerous. After all, isn’t that why we keep them? To protect those we love? Or maybe, if we’re honest with ourselves, we keep them to protect us. 

I have secrets. And I assume everyone does. I don’t have many people in my life that I trust enough to tell them to, so I just keep them to myself. I wish I could trust someone enough to tell, but I’ve been hurt too many times. Secrets weigh a lot. They weigh me down. They make me feel in control…but in control of what? They make the walls I’ve built thicker, so it’s harder to let someone in. But I still keep them. Afraid of being judged, or letting someone down (heaven knows I’ve done that enough), or of losing people I love. I long for someone I can trust enough to tell my secrets to so I can shed the weight. Sometimes I feel like it’s too late to tell anyone, too much time has passed and it won’t make a difference anymore. Sometimes I feel like it’s too soon to tell anyone, like some obscure statute of limitations hasn’t run out yet.

I got a call from T’s school. They said there had been an incident and could I come to school immediately. I got in my car and drove the 4 blocks to his school. When I turned the corner to the 4th block I saw a police car at the school and I knew the officer was there to talk to me. My mind raced as I thought of all the possibilities. T is a good kid, a great kid. I didn’t know what “the incident” was, but I knew it wasn’t good. As I walk in to the office I am greeted by the vice principal and the officer. We walked into the principals office and the door was closed behind us. My heart felt like it was missing at least every other beat. The vice principal began to explain and as reality set in, I felt lost, angry, scared, upset, unsure of how to handle the news I had just received.

T has been keeping secrets for over a year. At 7 years old he should not have secrets, especially heavy ones. Over a year ago, he was touched, and ask to do things by another student, inappropriate things. He did what was asked of him, and some others he wasn’t willing to talk about today. Sometime over the last couple weeks he asked a couple other kids to do these things with him, the same things that were done to him over a year ago. I don’t understand, and I doubt I ever will. If I’m this confused, I can only imagine how much more confusion he has been dealing with. Gathering details…recorded interview with the officer…I can barely wrap my mind around it. I need time to think and to process the information, but I can’t yet. I’ve got stuff to do today. Stuff that must get done today. 

When we finally get home I can’t stand the thought of being home, so dinner will be a dinner out tonight. At dinner I decide that I need to give his parents a chance to process the information. I need to give them the same instructions the officer gave me. “Don’t punish him. He’s not in trouble. Talk to him about private parts, about how they are his, and no one else is allowed to touch them. If he is willing to talk, then listen. Don’t pry and don’t ask questions in a way that will lead his answers. Love him. Let him know he is not at fault.” I write an email. I write it knowing that dad will not be able to read it all before calling to yell at me and freak out about what happened to his son, but hoping that he reads it all. He doesn’t. I write it hoping to give them a chance to process the information before they try to talk to him. I didn’t have time to process it, I was brought in, sat down, given the facts, and told to take him home and keep him out of school on Monday. My phone rings just minutes after sending the email. Apparently, they missed the part of the email where I tell them I’m giving them a chance to process the information. 

I talk to dad as best I can while he yells at me, grilling me to tell him the facts. I’m in a restaurant. I excuse myself to walk to the store where “Uncle” and T will meet me. Dad keeps yelling and telling me to “beat his ass” for what happened. Yup. Not gonna happen. I’ve been tense all afternoon, and I’m tensing up more talking to dad. Dad keeps yelling and I try to tell him I need to go so I can be present with Tanis and give him the attention and support he needs. Dad tells me “He’s fine…you need to calm me down!” My battery dies and I feel relieved that the yelling has stopped for the moment. Then I began to feel angry as I process what dad said during the “conversation”. T is willing to talk to me, he seems a little embarrassed, and not quite sure why he isn’t in trouble, but when we got home he told me everything. If I punish him at this point, then that open line of communication stops dead in its tracks. 

T is sorry I had to come to the school because of what happened. I’m not worried about coming to the school. I’m worried about the effects this will have on T long term. I love this little boy. My family and I have sacrificed so much to be here for him. I feel like dad thinks I’m nothing more than a babysitter he can boss around. I’m trying to protect T and help him and teach him right from wrong. I haven’t had a 7 year old in my house for almost 10 years, and it’s not easy trying to pick up where someone else left off. It hasn’t been easy, but he’s worth it.