I hate Mondays. I mean really detest them.
On a Monday morning I start five days worth of battles to get Leon to school.
It starts when he refuses to get out of bed. He cries, kicks, wraps himself up in his quilt. We lift him out of bed, he run away and hides in someone else’s. We give him 5 or 10 minutes while we organise the girls. When we do get him downstairs we have the fight to get breakfast into him, to get him to take his medicine, and then to get dressed. We will do this at least twice on a daily basis. He will strip off, run away, hide. It’s exasperating.
The girls by now are dressed, fed, washed, teeth brushed, hair tied up, bags at the ready and coats and shoes waiting for them. Leon however, still looks like he has been dragged through a hedge backwards, his eyes are red and his face blotchy, he has cried so much. His uniform is on in a fashion but pristine is something he will never look on a morning.
By this point the girls have gone to school, and Im still fighting to get Leon to eat something, drink some water, clean his teeth and most importantly take his bloody medicine!
By 10am I have him in the car… we are on our way.
My head is pounding, I’m exhausted and in reality my day has yet to start…thats when he coughs. Not just a little cough. A great big dirty hacking sound that sets my heart on edge. His nose is streaming and I look at him out of the corner of my eye and wonder what the hell I’m doing taking him into school.
When we arrive, I’m met by the sympathetic faces of the two school receptionists. They have known me for years and all of my other children have excellent attendance, so I think they see how difficult things are with Leon. They um and ahhh over whether he should stay when he is clearly not well.
Well, would you look at that! I’m the worst parent in the world. I’m so concerned with attendance issues that I failed to see that he was unwell.
Eventually it’s decided that he should stay and we will see how he goes. If he gets any worse or if he develops a temperature then they will call me.
I leave him with a kiss and an I love you, and he toddles off into school with one of the receptionists. He is happy, and he gave me a little smile on his way…but I walked out of there feeling like my heart might break.
I am raising 8 children, and I think I do a pretty brilliant job of coping with all that life throws at us, but today, just for a little while I felt like I couldn’t do anything right for my little boy. I felt like I was failing him as a parent. That I missed something vital because I was more concerned with school and attendance and what people will think of me. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is there a constant need to belittle ourselves and our choices? Why don’t we accept that we know our own child better than anyone else. I realise that he would rather stay in bed and laze around at home all day, I also realise that he knows when he is not quite right and yet I choose not to listen to him.
Leon will be fine, I know he will. There are plenty of people looking out for him, and his three sisters are all in school today too. They look after him. Beatrice will be mothering him and wiping his nose for him. They play together because Leon finds it difficult to form friendships outside of the home.
Me however, that’s a different matter.
Oh well, onwards and upwards, mustn’t dwell on it. Time to paint that smile on and get on with the day