So Tate got in the car yesterday and he didn't want to talk to me. This is so out of character for him! Not only did he not want to talk to me but he had tears slowly streaming down his face. Granted, we had a hard morning (adjusting to the time change) so I was prepared for aloofness but this was way beyond what I expected.
I quietly asked him what was wrong and he said he didn't want to tell me. That he was embarrassed and he thought I would get mad at him. Again, my mind went to the morning when I had gotten frustrated over his anger of not having more time to play before school. Keep in mind the kid wakes up at 5:30 so he's used to having hours to do whatever he wants before school starts. The time change has eaten into his morning time!
I asked him if he was still upset about the morning fully expecting him to say yes. I heard a soft tear ridden no come from the back of the car. This surprised me. I asked him if something had happened at school. This time a yes. When I pushed for more information he just kept repeating he didn't want to tell me. This of course gets my brain working and dozens of scenarios go through my head the rest of the way home.
When we got home I carried Cole up to bed, he tends to fall asleep while we are getting Tate, then I went back to the car where Tate and Hailey were waiting. We all went inside and I got Tate a snack while trying to figure out how to get Tate to tell me what was wrong. It was quite obvious he was upset. He denied the snack and instead went to the chair where he curled up in the fetal position where even more tears silently fell. What was wrong with him?!!
I sat on the floor to play with Hailey and started asking questions. Did someone say something to him, no. Did he get in trouble, no. Did he use a swear word, no. He had said he was afraid I would be mad at him so I am trying to go over what might make me mad. Did he kick someone, no. Since he was answering so feebly and because I needed to see him smile a bit I tried a different tactic to get him to laugh or smile and lighten the mood. Did he start a food fight, no. Did he fart boogers, no. At least I got a little giggle. Yes, he's a boy.
At this point Hailey had started to fuss so I knew I needed to get her down for a nap. I let him know I would be down soon and we could get started on his homework. While sitting with Hailey in her room my mind started going in another direction. Had someone tried to get him to drink something he shouldn't have? Were there drugs at school? Were there inappropriate pictures being passed around and he had looked at them?! My head is spinning with all these possibilities and I am starting to panic and I know I HAVE to get it out of him!
When I made it back downstairs 30 minutes later Tate was sitting at the table making a coloring page for Cole. He had paper, scissors and glue and seemed pretty happy. I sat down across from him and he looked up at me and asked if I wanted to know what had happened at school. "Yes I do!" I wanted to scream out but I controlled myself and said, "If you're ready to tell me." He looked at me and said he had been pretending to cut his shirt in class then he actually did cut it. He then showed me the hole he had made in his sleeve.
I reached over and grabbed him and pulled him on my lap for a hug telling him it was ok and that we could fix it. I felt relief coursing through me but at the same time there was shame and fear. I wondered if I would have gotten upset with him had he not told me he was scared to tell me what had happened and honestly I don't know how I would have reacted. I would like to think I would have said the same. It has made me really think though about how I want my children to always know they can come to me with any problem or concern they have. Tate is 8 years-old right now. The teenage years haven't hit. If he won't talk to me now there is no way he will come to me in 5+ years.
So now I need to reassure all three of my children that they are loved and will always be loved by their parents. That we will always be there for them and want to know about their fears, concerns, life. I remember my mom telling me that family will always be there for you and this is so true. Hopefully this was a lesson for him as well to know that he can talk to me and that I will respond in a positive way.