And then, there was that moment. The one where I almost started sobbing like an infant in front of four false smiles and a collective know-it-all attitude.
We are waiting for results from a psychoeducational evaluation. They won’t come back for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we had the default five minute conference that lasts forty minutes, speaking with the whole educational team, observed by administration, with me battling the world for my son’s peace. I would say battling for his sanity — it feels that way, but it sounds too dramatic.
He is private and reclusive. His visible emotions are false, and he won’t allow himself to break in front of anyone except me. Broken bones get a grimace and then stoic acceptance. Bad grades and good grades both are greeted with a shrug and a forced laugh. He will not share his real self with anyone.
He is brilliant, planning how to cure cancer and debating whether boron could replace diamond in industrial application if there is a future shortage. He tells his teacher that obsidian is igneous, and she says he is wrong… it is just smooth lava rock. Furious with the so-called correction, he collects each finger into a tight fist and swallows rage. (Yes, rage over a rock. Rocks are important, at least in his world). He comes home, and packs up his rock collection and field guides for a time, until his teachers are smart enough to teach him.
Most tests are perfect, and then there will be packs of failure. He will bring them home and continue to study and learn for four hours per night — more than I did in college, and he is only nine. He feels stupid because he can’t remember that capital letters and punctuation are important. It takes that four hours daily and pain and fear and tears for him to achieve as he does.
In the conference, they say that since he is on honor roll and fakes his sweet smiles in class, that there is no problem. That he achieves to his ability. That I shouldn’t worry about an occasional 63… it is a high f. That the only person who is worried about him is me. And then they close the grade book and look at me expectantly. At this point, the experts have spoken. They have spoken, and closed the book, and they are finished with the conversation.
“You don’t understand. Yes, he is on the honor roll. I know he isn’t telling you that he hates going to the board. He won’t tell you that; he would have to expose his humanity.”
“The child you are describing is not the child we see.”
Ok. Yes, I get that. But just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
Am I wrong for trying to make them understand? Does it matter? I want to cry. I don’t want him to cry. No more tears, damnit. It is time to be done with that.