I missed kindergarten last week. My car wouldn’t start. Nearly two thousand dollars later I’m back, ready to try again. Then just before getting ready to go I got stung while doing yard work.
There are small yellow and black stinging bugs on the way into my house. I think they are yellow jackets. They are right next to the steps to the front door. There is no easy way around them since they are directly on my path into my house.
The ivy has grown up nearby and I need to trim it. They think otherwise. They think I’m threatening them. I got stung twice before, about a month ago. I’ve found I’m not allergic to their stings fortunately, but they sure don’t feel nice.
I went inside and doctored up my sting. I’d gotten stung on my earlobe. It could have been worse. I should have worn a headscarf like I’d thought I was going to, but I didn’t. I shouldn’t have waved around at the bug when it got near my ear, but I did.
When it was time to leave about thirty minutes later, I walked carefully by them. I was terrified. If these things read fear I was an encyclopedia. But I kept walking. I prayed, afraid, but I kept walking. I think there is something to this. It isn’t about not being afraid. It isn’t possible to not feel fear all the time. But I didn’t let it stop me. I kept praying, and I kept walking.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you are feeling. It matters that you just keep going.
So I got to school and I had V. again. I could tell she just wasn’t into learning today. Maybe she just isn’t ready for school yet. Her Mom thinks this too. It took a bit to figure out if she was playing or just wrong. She would count two cars as 6 by going over them again and again. This happened a lot. I’m only able to be there for an hour so I told her we were done and went to the next person on my list. Quality over quantity, after all.
It was J., a boy I worked with briefly the first week I was there. He was very eager to show me how much he knows, and bragged about it. I was ready to be dazzled after the first student. He was fabulous with his numbers. He put everything in order and did it quickly. He’s still counting on his fingers but then again so do I sometimes.
Then he wanted to show me that he could write his name. It is a long name and he did well until the end. He wasn’t sure what the last letter was, and wanted me go to his desk where his name was written for a prompt for him. It took me a little bit to understand what he wanted. I’ve since confirmed that he is in speech therapy. I realized he wanted to see his name written so I wrote it for him on the white board. He was very surprised that I knew how to write his name.
Then we started to work on matching capital letters to little letters. This did not go as well as the counting did. The biggest problem was that he likes every letter in the alphabet that is in his name, but not any of the other ones. Now, all told that is a fairly large percentage of the alphabet, but still it’s not going to cut it. You have to know them all.
I went to find the wooden alphabet board and we worked using that. There are a lot of different tools to use, and I’ll try them all. It was interesting to watch him work. He had very specific ways of doing things and ways he expected things to be. It turns out that he is having problems making friends because of his need for rules.
Sometimes rules get in our way. Sometimes we use rules to make things make sense. Sometimes our home lives don’t make sense so we cling to rules. Then the rules start to strangle us.
People don’t always follow rules. We all do things a little bit differently. Some things need to be the same, otherwise we will have chaos. We can’t arbitrarily decide what letters look like for instance. But some things have wiggle room.
So it was slow going. I’ve asked to work with him again. He reminds me of my husband. I want to save him. I want to rescue him from the pain of these rules. I can see a certain sadness in his eyes. I can tell there are a lot of rules at home, and they don’t always make sense.
But then am I helping, really?
That pain of being stung this morning gave me a valuable lesson. I’d learned about walking through my fear. I’d learned that it was ok to be afraid. Perhaps this pain is something he needs to walk through too. I can be there to cheer him on, and guide, but I can’t rescue him.
Sometimes pain is our greatest teacher.