I have, in the past few months, really agonized over my son's place in the world. School, friends, family - it seemed like everything has been such a struggle for him. I kept telling myself that it was going to be OK. That he just hadn't found his spot. That eventually, he would find more people who knew and understood and loved him and recognized him for the great, amazing, generous and loving soul that he is. Have I mentioned his eyes?
When people describe eyes as "the windows to the soul" they are talking about these eyes.
And over the past few months, these eyes were sad. The whole boy was sad. He was lonesome and confused and frustrated and sad. And I have been trying to hold him up, to help him find his way, find his place in this big crazy world, because I am his mama, and that is my most important job.
And then this week, three things happened. First we got another rejection letter from a local private school - one we had hoped he would be attending next year. One that, in retrospect, clearly, definitely, absolutely wasn't the right place for him. (Because how could you say no to those eyes? Are you made of stone????)
But really, that letter was the best thing that could have happened to me. It was as though someone had taken me by the shoulders and looked me square in the eyes and said what my friends had been murmuring for a few months but which I had refused to hear until now. "This is not the right place for your boy. Find a place that is right for HIM - not one that looks right on paper, not a school that is right for you, find the one that is right for HIM." And that voice - my little mama voice in the back of my head, that had heard the whispered gentle coaxing of my friends - that little voice put her hands on her hips and hauled up her big girl panties and said at the top of her very powerful lungs "Stop fiddling around. Get serious. This is YOUR BOY and he NEEDS YOU TO HELP HIM."
So I listened to the voices - the ones both real and imagined, and that mama voice I really should listen to more carefully anyway.
And I pulled up MY big girl panties and put my hands on my hips and I said "I know just the place." And I took my sad, brokenhearted little boy and I put him in the car and I drove him out to the far reaches of the island where the wild ocean meets the cliffs and the grasses blow in the breeze and the trees whisper and the birds sing and the children play in the garden and I said "Here. This is your place. It may not be my place, but I know in my heart it is yours." And he looked at me with such hope, such trust, and he hugged me hard and he took his little sister's hand - the one who seems like she could just float along happily anywhere we set her but who really only wants to be with her brother - and they walked into a big sunny room filled with children and sat down on the rug at the feet of a teacher with golden hair and a sweet voice.
And I left them there, with these children and these people who had greeted them with open arms and big smiles and bare feet and a warm welcome. And I turned and walked away.
Six hours later I returned, to find them disheveled and muddy and grinning from ear to ear, clutching papers and tumbling over each other to tell me stories about their day and Max ran right at me across the yard and swept me up in a huge hug and looked me right in the eyes and said "Mom, it was the best day of my life." And I have to say, that this was more important, more thrilling, more affirming then any acceptance letter would have been.
So that was the second thing.
And then that night, I read something on The Bloggess that just......explained it all. Explained my broken little boy who was so sad and now was miraculously so full of joy that it was spilling out of every pore.
A special note to every single person reading this who thinks that they are alone or different or forever broken…you are not. You are part of a special tribe that you just haven’t found yet and we need you. All the best people are broken. Keep fighting until you find your place. It does exist. I promise.
My boy, he found his tribe yesterday. And this morning, with a trembling hand, I emptied my savings account to pay the tuition to ensure that my beautiful wonderful lovely boy will be loved and cared for and nurtured and encouraged and protected from some things in this world that I am just not ready to accept myownself, and certainly don't want for him. He may not be a baby anymore, but he is still my baby, and he is still a little boy, and he deserves to hang on to that for just a little longer. Starting now. Max is officially enrolled, and attended his first day today. The second best day of his life, he says. Homeschooling is over, he has found a place - his place - in the world.
And next year, when she is old enough, my sweet baby girl will join her beloved brother, my great big boy, at the school in the field by the ocean, with the gardens and the barefooted children and the jungle all around.
26 minutes ago