Once the wedding was over, I almost shrunk into myself even more if that’s possible. My relationship with my son was deteriorating and his problems at school were coming to the forefront. Freddy had been held back in first grade because I was moving jobs and he had gone to three different schools that year. When we landed where we landed the teachers and counselor recommended that he repeat the first grade for his own good. At the time, it didn’t seem like a huge deal but it came back to bite us in the ass when he failed 7th grade and summer school was not an option because he couldn’t make up the necessary work.
He came to me with tears in his eyes and was so ashamed of himself for failing. I tried to tell him that this was just as much my fault as it was his. I had been so wrapped up in the disaster we were living that I’d let my motherhood duties slide. Although we had fought through his ADHD with no medication and I had spent so many hours advocating for him at school, it just quit being as effective in middle school.
I tried asking the principal for a 504 representative to help with a special education plan for my son but was told that wouldn’t make a difference, he’d have to repeat the 7th grade. The principal and my relationship had declined into an adversarial association. Freddy had gotten into trouble for fighting and for being restless and disruptive in class and the principal had little to no people or management skills and there was no gray area to him. Kids were either good ones or bad ones. It should be noted he took a demotion the following year and was no longer the principal. It didn’t help us however, Freddy was doomed to repeat the 7th grade and what made it worse in a tiny town with the entire K-12 in one building, he’d be in the same classes all day with his little sister.
I was cleaning the bedroom and hanging up clean clothes and I had pulled Tucker in to talk to him privately about Freddy. When I told him what had happened and how upset Freddy was and he could see my obvious upset, he told me that Freddy was playing me. I looked up at him in complete disbelief, stopped in my tracks with hangers in my hand. Of all the reactions I thought I’d get, this one did not occur to me.
“Yeah, he’s playing you. You’re his mommy and you always rush in to defend him even when he’s wrong. You’ve turned him into a first class momma’s boy pussy that comes crying to momma when things don’t go his way.”
“You know even if that’s the case, even if I decide he’s being a little player and pulling the wool over my eyes, what do you suggest I do? Put him in the same grade with his sister?” I looked at him with what I know could have only been interpreted as disgust on my face.
He studied me and was silent for a tick and then quietly said, “It would teach him a lesson.”
“Yeah,” I said. “What lesson is that...that I don’t give two shits about the fact that he’s been struggling and he’s been affected by our lives being drastically and systematically flushed down the toilet over the last four years?”
He came unglued then. Seriously unwound. I could see it coming and I knew as soon as the words were out that even though I meant them, it was the worst possible thing I could have said.
He got up off the bed where he’d been sitting and came towards me, “You think I have ruined your lives? You think that everything is MY fault when all I’ve tried to do is support my family and take care of them?!”
I just looked at him, I couldn’t speak. I was paralyzed between wanting to say, “Yes you egotistical, maniacal sociopath.” And “Honey, that’s not what I meant.”