Our life this month has coincided beautifully with the 4th of July… some change and some freedom. Physical and emotional change that has been wonderful and sweat-inducing and scream-ridden and terrifying. You’ll read about and see more of that in a few days. But first, a little bit of freedom, and what precipitates freedom more than some long overdue atonement. I like to think that although I struggle with this messy and overwhelming thing that is parenting, that eventually I just clumsily bump into enough that it will all work out in the end. But the truth is, sometimes parenthood ins’t a series of adorable bumps and Jack Tripp stumbles; sometimes it’s like being a bull in a China Shop, and that kind of damage requires an I’m Sorry. And with that, some of the boulders holding me down at the bottom of this ocean fall off, and I inhale a bit more ready to fight for someone I love more than life… my son.
As I sit just outside the cracked door of your therapy appointment, the place you nervously make me promise to sit every Wednesday, all I want to do is bust in, scoop you up in my arms, cover you in kisses and tell you how sorry I am. I’m so sorry.
I’m sorry that it took me a month to figure out you were being bullied in school. That you were being taunted and shoved into a playhouse and punched and tied up and whipped with a jump rope. I’m sorry that when I asked what was wrong and you said nothing, I didn’t ask three hundred more times, until you were sick of me and annoyed with my concern, waving me off like you do when I absent mindedly play with your shaggy brown hair.
I’m sorry that when I found out, I didn’t burn down the school and hand you the ashes in a jar to throw into the ocean. I’m sorry that when I busted into the office and screamed and shoved my fists into the air, I left there accepting their word that it would be fixed. As if that was ever even possible.
I’m sorry that I chose to be polite and smile at every field trip and in the hall every time I passed his parents, instead of pulling up your shirt each time and making them face the emotional scars you’re left carry around on your chest like an anvil. I’m sorry for just accepting that they wouldn’t acknowledge what happened to you as a way of life. I’m sorry that the phrase “boys being boys” is a phrase anyone can utter with any sense of compassion. I’m sorry that he gets to move on with his life laughing and smiling and you’re left with fear and worry.
I’m sorry about the dreams you now have each night that leave you sobbing at my bedside. I’m sorry that it’s hard for you to trust teachers and adults and other children. I’m sorry fear keeps you from so many amazing kid experiences. I’m sorry so much of this has been tainted for you so young. And I am so incredibly sorry you now hate school. Instead of a place of wonderment and knowledge and exploration, it’s a place of fear and harm, and it destroys me watching it destroy you. I’m sorry that I gave it another year and didn’t pull you sooner.
I’m sorry I don’t own enough sorrys to ever make this right. Please take my heart to keep in your pocket, my arms molded into fists to walk around with always, the dragon I’ve adopted to protect you at night, and this village of loving heros I’ve assembled for you. They love you so obnoxiously much, they walk around with one hand in your beautiful shaggy brown hair, and the other resting on their sword.