- Posted October 6, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bullying awareness: Your story
The Rabbit Hole
It is important that we have this agenda, and it helps us to stay on the sunny side of the street. I may smile and nod while listening to you speak about your child and what you have going on. I love hearing your news as well, even though it may honestly hurt a little bit. I envy some parents while pitying others. The ones that I pity are the ones who are simply going through the motions, never bragging or encouraging their child no matter how small the accomplishment.
I may fill the room with fluff and butterflies, attempting to hide raw emotions of that day. Masked with a smile, there may be something threatening to surface at any moment. These are the hardest days, because I am not on the sunny side of the street but not in the dark either. I am in limbo, on a tightrope, trying to keep the pace while running in sand.
There are also days we may meet for coffee and a chat and I will grasp your hand tightly and pull you down the rabbit hole, inviting you through the door into my darkness. I know you will not know what to say..I don't expect you to fully understand.
For a time last winter I found myself residing in that rabbit hole, searching frantically for light. I felt anger, sadness, despair and heartbreak. Some may look at my situation from the outside and not understand how I can be so deeply hurt by something. They may think it's something that parents just experience, and it isn't a huge deal. They may say 'suck it up' other kids have it so much worse. While I know all of these things, I slid down that slippery slope, grasping for anything to slow my descent. While I never hit the bottom, I stayed out of the light for a time while trying to pull myself back up.
What sent me to the ledge, part way down that hole was one simple sentence. "There was an incident and Logan was hit in the face." I know this is a typical situation for many boys and boys' parents. My older child is a daughter, I only have a sister, I know about catty girl fights with gossip and backstabbing, I don't know anything about boys slugging it out. I was confused, because honestly Logan wouldn't hurt a fly unless provoked to his breaking point. I needed details my head was spinning with so many thoughts and fears.
For Logan's entire life we have feared the possibility of him reaching a point of frustration where he would lash out. His lack of language did cause him to get angry when people misunderstood what he wanted to say. Could this be the beginning of that? What happened exactly? How will I find out details? Will he be able to describe to me what went on?
Logan was hesitant to discuss the details. I watched for a change in behavior and saw little to clue me in. The teacher and staff did their best to investigate and eventually some of the facts came out. While wanting to know what had happened, once I found out my stomach lurched and my throat knotted. I felt a fire creep up through my body, over my face and into my scalp. I wanted answers and I wanted this to stop.
How dare someone target my child, who cannot verbally defend himself. What kind of disturbed kid were we dealing with? What anger did this kid carry around with him and why wasn't someone helping him deal with it? As it turned out, this kid was a friend and Logan had trusted him. It was very easy to abuse Logan, because if you turn it into a game, he won't really "get it" for what it really is.
Logan has an innocent heart. Yea, of course he can get to be a pain in the ass. He can be defiant, stubborn, do things he isn't supposed to, but the one thing he is not is cruel. He has the kindest most caring disposition of anyone in my life. Because he would not purposely hurt you, he cannot comprehend that you might want to hurt him. This type of behavior confuses him and hurts him, which absolutely crushes me.
Hearing details slowly emerge made my Mother Bear instincts kick in and I reached out to the boys father, who was also a friend. I laid it out very clearly. I was curious if he knew what was going on, I needed it to be addressed immediately, and if it didn't stop I wanted him to know that Logan could end up pummeling his boy. As kind as Logan's heart is, his strength is extreme and if poked and poked and poked, he could snap. He could potentially cause serious damage considering he probably outweighed this kid by about 100lbs. A gentle giant by nature, but a Tasmanian Devil by force.
The dads answer was one of part disinterest, part blame place, and ultimately police were called in to end it for good. If I received a message from a parent telling me that my child had hurt their kid, I would be pulling my child by the ear to their house to apologize.
Police and teacher interrogation revealed many instances of Logan being hit in the face, hit in the head with book bags, and being ambushed while this bully lay in wait for Logan to be alone. I was absolutely sick over this with the images swirling over and over in my head on replay. I know my child, and I have seen the confused look he gets in his eye when he doesn't understand. The look puts a vice around my heart and just squeezes until I can't breathe.
I thought about the call I had received one day at work. The caller ID revealed it was from Logan's cell phone, but it was this so-called friend, who I still believed to be a friend at this time while unaware of the things going on behind the scenes. The boy asked if Logan could come over to his house after school. They rode the same bus, could he get off at his stop?
Like I said, at this point I considered him a friend. While an odd, out of the blue request, I thought about the fact that Logan needs to do this type of thing, so I said it was okay if his mom was going to be there. He assured me she was. I asked if I could speak with Logan and ask him if he wanted to go? He hung up on me. I called back..no answer. I sat there in a cold sweat trying to convince myself- this is Logan's friend, he wants him to come hang out, this is a good thing...
While trying to rationalize to myself that he would be fine, I called my husband to inform him Logan would not be home after school. He said 'what are you talking about? He just got off the bus." Apparently the bus driver had seen enough that he would not allow Logan to get off at this boys stop. After discovering all of the info I now know, I have to wonder what might have happened had Logan gone to that house?
I can't even let my mind go there. If I let my mind keep going down that rabbit hole, eventually the sun will never shine on me, and I absolutely refuse to let some punk bully take the light away from us.