He didn’t want to go to school. And I didn’t make him. Why is getting to school on time more important than me listening to him when he says No!
I listened to him.
It wasn’t easy listening to him because I’ve got a sick lurch in my stomach of the panic arising in me.
And all the shit I’ve been clobbered with about getting to places on time.
It’s deep, deep fear about being late and when Zeca invokes the power of the 4 year old and SLAMS down his foot on my fear and squelches it into the ground. No! Your fear is meaningless. These laws are validated by absolutely nothing. I don’t want to go to school. School doesn’t exist. No!
This is after numerous attempts to start from scratch, trying to find a game to play on the way to school, trying to make him fall for going to school while thinking of something else.
“I know! Let’s take your batman mask and show it to everyone at school.”
“Do you want to see what I’ve got in my bag. Here. Close your eyes. I’ll put it in your hand. He opens his eyes to stickers that he’s already been given and that were in my bag for safe keeping. He knows he’s seen them before. I commit to my material.
“I know! Let’s find places to stick them on the way to school, signs posts, cars. No not cars. I know where I’ll put a sticker. On the Flodden Road sign.”
“Where is the Flodden Road sign?”
“It’s on the other side of the road. I don’t think you’ve seen it before. Let’s go and put a sticker there!”
“I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay at home today.”
“Ok, well I’m going to do something else.”
I washed up. I went out the front to write. People passed by on the way back from dropping their kids off at school. I dropped into myself again, writing and stopped caring about being on time. The pumpkin outside was going all soggy and tiny black flies were tucking into its flesh. The coffee grounds all around the plants in containers were going mouldy. Russet leaves were piling up in corners. It wasn’t cold.
I went inside.
“I found some toys inside your bag.”
The contents of my bag were scattered all over the table and he’d found a little train and some plastic insects.
“Oh thanks you’re giving my bag a sort out.”
He was stretching an elastic ghost between two slats of the chair.
“Look! A bridge!”
I tidied up a bit.
“Are you ready to go to school now Zeca?”
We got dressed. I dallied a while to clean his teeth, we were late anyway, he might as well have clean teeth. He raced outside, popping with excited giggles as his new proper school trousers – the ones he refuses point blank to wear, the ones he shrieks in horror at, that I’d managed today to sneak onto him without him realising – were falling down to his ankles. I pulled them up. They fell down again. Little bare boy legs and orange and blue stripey pants. An old lady walked past.
“Oh come inside Zeca. We need to put your old trousers on again.”
Zeca’s late today because it’s more important to me to listen to him and if the head teacher has a problem with that and wants to tell me how it is compulsory to be on time, I’ll say I don’t care about mindless rules that drive people apart from their children. The most important thing is that Zeca comes to school and more importantly, he comes because he wants to.
This is a parent’s struggle and as from Tuesday this week, it’s a single parent’s struggle.
The most important thing is that we arrive with our connection intact.