Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I wonder...

I feel sick to my stomach. Was it the three margaritas I had last night that allowed me two full hours of uninterrupted dreamless sleep? Or was it the email I just had to send to Samuel's teacher?

Mrs. G.:

I am emailing because I find it's easier (for a lot of reasons)...I hope this is ok. This is very personal information, but I want to convey it so that maybe I can do the responsible parent thing and keep Samuel from falling through the cracks that threaten to swallow me up personally.

First, a little background. Generally, I would just vaguely allude to a "family emergency." But in this case, I think the details may be somewhat important. In May of 2005, just a couple weeks before Sam's third birthday, his brother was stillborn at 35 weeks. In May of 2006, just a couple weeks before Sam's fourth birthday, another brother was stillborn at 20 weeks. Just this past week/end, I lost another much-anticipated pregnancy at 19 weeks (Sam's birthday is more than a month away this time...thank goodness). Samuel and his two-year-old brother spent four days, while I was in the hospital, with their grandparents. We only just returned home Sunday night and spent Monday together as a way to reassure them that everything was ok. Sam tells me he is ready to go back to school (though I must confess to a small Toys R Us bribe in order to get him to agree), so we are sending him to school today (Tuesday). He may be ready...he may not...I simply can not tell.

Sam has dealt with a lot of loss in his short life and, as a result, he is wiser than a lot of people five times his age. But still...I know from our experiences that this initial grief period can be rough on everyone in the family. I would like to ask you to please keep an eye on him and let us know if there is any significant backsliding in his academic performance or his behavior during class. He has worked very hard during this school year to get himself under control and be a "good citizen." As you would expect, he doesn't always know an appropriate way to express his grief and he may need a little extra attention or guidance to stay on track. Please watch out for my little guy while he is there at school. I would hate very much if all of this family stress were to go unaddressed and silently undermine all of his hard work.

I am only a phone call and ten minute drive away at any time during the school day. My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. And of course, my email is xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxx.xxx.

Thank you so much, Mrs. G. I appreciate everything you have already done for Samuel this year already. I hate to ask for special attention, but we have learned to hope for the best while anticipating the worst. I am hoping for the best here...but I still worry.

Yeah, I'm oversharing and hoping it doesn't result in any backlash against my kid.

Who knows what the right thing is to do in these situations? Unfortunately, the experts don't write books about this stuff. Maybe I will write that book. Though not an expert, I clearly have insight that most people don't. This crap has gotta be worth something.


marcia said...

I think the note was absolutely perfect, Catherine. You have found this teacher, this year, to be very competent and caring, and she has done a lot for Sam. Being the professional she is, I am certain she will protect and use your very personal info only in a way that will be necessary to help Sam along the way. Yes, you revealed a lot...but it was necessary to explain Sam's situation so she could help him in the best possible ways! You did well!

three minute palaver said...

Catherine, I don't know what the prescribed right approach is but I think your email was perfect and absolutely appropriate. You need to know Mrs G fully understands what Sam has been through in the past and is going through. You need to have peace of mind that Mrs G gets it. and you can't be certain of that without the oversharing. I think with Mrs G and Sam's education, hoping for the best whilst asking for her help could be a good coping strategy for now.

Holding you in my thoughts and sending much love. xClare

Beruriah said...

I don't think this was oversharing. I think this is the truth, and Mrs. G is a major part of Sam's life. The note was perfect, and perfectly appropriate.

Much love to you all.

daisy said...

Brilliant email for a shitty situation. Our kids absorb so much and it is critical for their teachers to be aware. You did not overshare - you said what was necessary. My thoughts are with all of you.

Aurelia said...

The note is perfect. Exactly what it should be. There is no exact method for anything like this, you just do what you have to do.

Please just keep writing and we will be here for you. Much love.

Rosepetal said...

I also think your note was spot on and provided Mrs G doesn't drop the ball, Sam now has an extra safety net. I don't think you're oversharing at all.

lorem ipsum said...

There is no way I can imagine there being backlash against Sam, so put away that lens. You did an amazing job—par for the course for an amazing woman.

Tash said...

Catherine, I'm just coming to this news and I'm stunned and angry and deeply sad. I'm just so sorry.

As you well know by now, children are amazingly resilient -- and whatever acting out happens regarding any or all of this may well hit next week or next year. One never knows. You're lovely to think of him, and if you trust the teacher enough to spill as much as you have, I'm sure he's in v. good hands.

Holding you all in my heart.

Pipsylou said...

backlash? i'm not sure how. when i was teaching, if i had gotten a letter like that, you'd better believe that little student would have been a little chick under my wing.

you did the right thing.

you're a good writer, btw.

Julie said...

I'm with Rachel, I would think most teachers would be a little more compassionate to the little boy whos has been through so much. I think you handled it well. I think his teacher needed to know what was going on. Either way, I am sure Sam is going to be fine. Thinking of your whole family constantly. ((hugs))

kate said...

I agree with all the others above. You absolutely did the right thing and i don't think you are 'oversharing' at all.