Friday, August 1, 2008

Big Brother Rocks Out Loud

Everyone always tells me to quit apologizing so much. It's a hard habit to break. And I am wondering if me apologizing about the last few blogs not being very interesting is worse than just owning the fact that my blogs are not filled with mirth and humor this week. I mean, I started this as a way to kind of chronicle our lives, but then I feel an obligation to try to keep things upbeat and interesting to read, because I appreciate bloggers who do that for me. On the other hand, I also appreciate bloggers who aren't afraid to be human and honest and candid about their life experiences. It makes me feel normal to see other people do stupid or hard or scary things too. So now I don't know what to do other than to let you all know that I know that I need to lighten up a little after this post. And I will. After this post. 'Cause I really need to say what I gotta say in this post. Then I'll lighten up.

What a hard week for Big Brother. I "heart" this kid so much and it has absolutely gutted me to watch him struggle this week! He's trying so hard to measure up and at every turn his efforts just get smashed! And I am partly to blame for some of his trouble this week. You know what though? This story has a happy ending, so keep reading!

First...Cub Scout Pack Meeting Fiasco:
My kid has worked his butt off the last 6 months trying to finish his Cub Scout achievements and earn his awards and belt loops. We changed leaders a couple of times in the last 6-8 months, so he never has gotten the awards he has earned and we keep getting told, "Next pack meeting."

We are trying to finish his Wolf before he turns 9, when he moves to Bears, which will be in 2 weeks. So, he busts his butt, and we finish all but 3 achivements, plus some Arrow points. I send ALL of this information to the new Den Mom, in detail, so she knows exactly what he has and hasn't done. Did I say "In Detail?" Yes...I did. My notes were very self-explanatory and complete. Detailed notes. No confusion there, right?

We get to the pack meeting last night and she tells me she had some questions about what I sent, so she didn't pick up his stuff. So then why didn't she just call me???!! Right?

"What questions?" I am wondering.

She asks, "Did he complete every letter in each achievement?"

Ummm, yes. See where I typed the words "Big Brother completed each alphabetically lettered subsection of every achievement listed here?"

"Oh, well I wasn't clear on that because some achievements have more lettered subsections than others."

I repeat the words, "Big Brother completed each alphabetical letter of every achievement listed here."

Then she tells me he'll have to wait 'til September, because there is no Pack meeting in August due to Scout Day Camp and asks if that is a problem. Seriously??!!? Ummmm...YES!!! I won't go into detail, but I let her know it was unacceptable, that my dear son will be severely disappointed and that she should have called me if there was a problem. She looked at me and walked away. The pack meeting proceeds and almost every child there received an award. My son and another kid in his Pack did not. The other kid was gone all summer and had not earned any awards. Needless to say, Big Brother was heartbroken.

I was furious with her for not letting me know in advance so that I could have either picked up the awards myself or at the very least, prepared him for the disappointment so that he didn't have to deal with his feelings in front of everyone. She did not even acknowledge him. We left early, with him in tears. His Scout leader was furious and offered to give him something he had in his pocket (that just sounds bad, doesn't it? But he's a super good guy, I'm sure it was like a knife or a compass or a knot tying kit or something Scouty!), but my son was so upset he just ran to the car. We talked all the way home about how sometimes things don't happen the way we want them to and we have to learn to deal with disappointment, but honestly, I was almost in tears myself.

Why was this such an issue? Well, besides the obvious hurt feelings, my sweet son was going to receive even more bad news after Scouts, which is why I really needed Pack Meeting to be a good experience, to help counteract the following event -

Changes at School.

The kids started school on Monday of this week. Big Brother has been in 4th grade now for 2 days at this point. We decided to hold Big Brother back this year and put him back through 3rd grade. I know...GROAN!!! I have been wanting to hold him back since 1st grade and every year the administrations at the schools would talk me out of it. I know my son. I was having to push and pull and drag him through his entire school experience, day after day. He's young, he started school the day he turned 5 and it's been a struggle from halfway through 1st grade til now. He needs the time to mature, socially and academically, before he takes on more challenge. I know my son!! I have thought about this long and hard and I know my son will do better if he is not rushed through his academic career. I don't want to have to drag him through life. I want him to learn to drag himself through life!

Anyway, Big Man and I discussed it at length, I was very worried over how Big Brother would deal with it. The school was very open to listening to my concerns, they addressed the issue with me and when all was said and done, they paved the way and had everything ready and in place for him in 2 days. I have NEVER had such cooperation from a school in my life! They were great last year about dealing with some of his issues, getting him extra help where he needed it. No questions, they just did it. Then, 2 days into this year, they step up for us again.

So Tuesday night, after Scouts, we had to break the news to him, having just found out ourselves at 5 that night that the school was ready for him to make the move, 2 days into his new school year. An important note here: this is the first year he has been at a school for more than 1 grade, we have moved a lot and he has attended a different school every year since he started Kindergarten. He was excited to have friends in his class and see his other friends at recess.

So we give him the news. He looks at me with the saddest face I have ever seen and just sobs..."What about my friends? I finally have friends that I love from last year!" I felt like someone roundhouse kicked me in the heart and the gut at the same time. My emotions went all Chuck Norris on me. How can I do this to him? I wasn't sure I could now and was on the verge of tears myself. My poor child has just had 2 major (major to HIM) life events go bad on him and I didn't know if either one of us could deal with the disappointment.

So we talked and talked and talked some more and then we prayed, because I didn't know what else to do. We prayed as a family, then Big Brother prayed some more. His prayer was so heartfelt and sincere, I could not believe for a second that a loving Heavenly Father could not answer it. After all of the talking was done and we had worked through the situation with him, he said he would give it a try. He cried for a few more moments, then stopped. Throwing his arms around my neck, he looked into my eyes and told me he loved me and that he felt so much love right now that he thought he would be okay.

Dad tucked him in and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I woke up the next morning, sobbing. I quit long enough to get him to school, his new 3rd grade teacher had his desk ready and scooped him up with a big hug and welcomed him to class. His 4th grade teacher asked me to request her for next year so that he could feel welcome in her class again. (She has cancer...I pray she recovers and is still there next year!) I got in the car and sobbed all the way home and then sobbed for 2 more hours after that.

I went back to school to pick them up, puffy-eyed and weary, but hopeful. Big Brother came running out with a cupcake (someone's birthday!) and started telling me about all of his new friends in 3rd grade and a few old friends from 4th grade who asked where he was (he told them he switched classes, nobody asked anymore questions and they all moved on to talking about Star Wars. Boys! Where's the processing, the emotion?).

I was worried and sobbing for 2 days...he was fine! He is fine. He is a kind, loving, brave, courageous boy who gives me strength and makes me want to try harder to be a better mother for him every day. And I love his guts for showing me how to handle disappointment and change in our lives. Big Brother Rocks Out Loud!!


andria said...

I think you did the right thing holding your son back. I'm sad for him that he had such an emotional upset before hand, but glad that it's worked out.

Law said...

Wow, Big Brother is a tough guy! When I was a kid his age, I did not like change and did not deal with it well - heck, I still hate change and resist it whenever I can!

But kids are tougher than you think, and he obviously has a lot of experience dealing with change from changing schools several times, so he's already well-equipped emotionally to adapt.

I know it was a tough decision, but I think you did the right thing in the long run - and besides, the longer you would have waited to make the change, the harder the change would have been on everyone, and the less good it would have done in the long-term.

And if Big Brother is still a little upset, just remind him of this - Luke Skywalker left Yoda and Dagobah before he was ready and finished with "Jedi School", as it were, despite Yoda's warnings, and what happened? He got his hand chopped off. That's right.

3boys247 said...

Wow, what a hard week for all of you. It sounds like you made the right decision.

We also do scouts, it is hard to put the responsibilty for your child's happiness in someone else's hands. Our den leader wasn't going to acknowledge our son moving into Weeblos. Apparently he didn't know he completed the requirements.

Kristi said...

I have heard so many times that boys need that extra year to mature before they start kindergarten. My son missed the cut off date so he was older when he started, and you could really tell a difference between the old ones and the young ones. I'm sure I'll be holding this baby back (he is a june baby) unless he is a freakin genius. :) Ya did the right thing. In the long run it should be so much better. It is so stressful when our kids struggle in school. You want me to come over there and get the den mom in a headlock for ya? heh heh

I am Boymom said...

Thanks for the support guys, it's always so hard to know how your decisions will affect your kids in the long run. I know the change was best, it was just so hard...apparently moreso for me than Big Brother! I'm over it all now and moving on, thanks again for listening!

Miss Hope said...

I have come to your site quite a few times and tried to read this post. Finally, today, life cooperated and I was able to give it my full attention. My heart broke with yours and I just want to grab Big Brother and squeeze his precious self.

You guys are good parents. Believe it.

This is a wonderful post he will appreciate you writing years from now.

Choppzs said...

I hope Girly has the same kind of experience when she switches schools this year!!! I am worried sick!

johnsonteammom said...

I wanted to cry as I read your post. I know you did the right thing and Big Brother will be blessed as will you. You are a great mom and a great woman.

I know your pain when it comes to the scouting thing. My 15 year old still has yet to be awarded his eagle that we finished in March. I'm also sick of showing up to scouts and them just playing basketball. I have better things to do with my time than run him to the church to play basketball when he should be passing off requirements in his scout book!!! Hang in there sister, I miss you.

Patricia said...

Chica, me has hecho llorar. En serio.
Que triste que la gente se tome a la ligera sus responsabilidades, sobre todo cuando los sentimientos de los niños están en juego. Quiero pensar que ella tenga alguna excusa razonable para su negligencia... nadie es perfecto, supongo.
Tu hijo es alucinante, valiente y fuerte. Y tu eres una madre fantástica, llena de empatía y amor.

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull post on personal achievements. It should be very much helpfull

Karim - Positive thinking

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