A mother worries about her children. Day, night; healthy, sick; happy, miserable – she worries. Time without end, Amen. It also goes without saying that mama’s love their children equally. She loves each one with everything she has, with absolutely all of herself. To the moon and back – or so the story goes. But that’s not quite how it goes with worrying. Worrying is as reactive as it is instinctive. Sometimes one of her littles needs a little extra worrying over, a little crisis that needs attention. And right now, my someone is Bee-girl and her schoolwork.
I was hoping this “right now” bit had ended. I dangled the promise of gymnastics in front of Bee and she leaped for the bait just as I’d hoped. She focused and focused and talked about nothing other than how she was going to have a good day at school so she could go to gymnastics. She started pulling out 100s on her reading comprehension tests (a miraculous feat if ever there was one), and her math was going swimmingly, and before you knew it, she had turned her Cs and failing grades right around into As and Bs. I was so proud!
You have never seen a little someone’s face light up the way Bee’s face did last week during her very first gymnastics lesson. It was like all the Christmas Eves and Christmas mornings and first bites of chocolate put together. I was so happy for her! And proud of myself for finding a situation that worked perfectly for us! J. and N. across the street attend this tumbling class and had already taught Bee the basics, so she gets to go with her best friends. The class is on Saturdays. The price is affordable. The Ex bought in. And even though the class was full, the instructor was willing to give us an override for Bee. Everything had lined up! And Bee was so at home. I watched her practice, as I sat in the parents’ waiting area and peeked through the giant glass window, and I was amazed at how natural everything seemed for her. She learned back handsprings, and bridge rolls, and nailed the first cartwheel (which she had never done) on her first attempt. This is where Bee belongs and she knew it. You could see it right there in the giant smile on her face and in the grace and fluidity of every movement.
We had done it! My heart was overflowing for my Bee-girl, whose moment was so long coming. She had earned it! And by golly, I had earned a brief respite, too! It was glorious.
Yes: was. Because Bee-girl has been bringing home papers with low grades. Papers marked “redo” have filled her Wednesday folders. Anxiety started gnawing at my stomach again. Bee’s next report card isn’t going to be as happy as her last one. And our deal was that she could only attend gymnastics as long as she had all As and Bs on her report card. If she has even one C, I have to pull her. I’m not sure which of us will be crushed more.
Last night Bee complained of a headache as soon as we got home from After Care. She held her head in one hand as she finished her homework, and I thought it was because that’s not far off from her usual “homework is hard” homework stance. But as soon as she was done, she went to her room where I found her face down in her bed, fully clothed, shoes still on, when I went to tell her dinner was ready. She dragged herself to the table, Lifted a bite of food, and burst into tears. “I don’t feel good!” Poor thing. She said she was nauseous, so I didn’t make her eat. I did make her change into her pajamas before she crawled back into bed. I kept checking on her, but she didn’t wake up until it was time to get ready for school this morning. And she’s feeling much better! But…when I checked her Wednesday folder last night, there were five redos waiting there. Some marked “0”, one “25”, none of them great. Even after a mad dash tonight to complete them, they will still only get Cs, the best mark possible as “redo” papers. Whatever hope I had that she could pull out a miracle on this next report card vanished.
One week. One week of not worrying. I know she’ll be fine. I know we’ll get through this. Just for once I wish we landed on a space that advanced us past all the pitfalls and tough spots instead of having to take the long way around, slaying dragons every stinkin’ step of the way.