It was fun while it lasted, but you can’t take a break from a child with extra emotional needs without payback.
I took a holiday this weekend; it wasn’t planned, I didn’t discuss it with anyone and it was much needed. I took a holiday from confrontation – I allowed Hugo to do what he liked, when he liked and with whom he liked (he was safe as his judgement is pretty sound – I haven’t lost my mind!) to avoid backlash, arguments and me feeling like the bad guy.
He slept in; played on his Xbox for hours on end; went to the skatepark; had a friend for a sleepover; watched horror movies; went to sleep at gone 1am; ate when and what he wanted; binged on Youtube and generally, he had a bloody awesome time. In return, I got to focus my energy on Casper and Mr OG (Bruno revelled in Hugo’s fun too); cooked yummy meals for everyone, watched afternoon movies in front of the fire, lit candles and pottered around doing ‘normal’ things without having to run the ‘egg shell gauntlet’. No nagging, no shouting, no negotiation, no refusals, no stress – what a time to be alive!
If it looked bliss and fun on Instagram stories, it’s because it was. But, like all holidays, it came at a whacking great price; a debt that needed to be paid this morning at 7.30am. The stress and anxiety of not having done his homework hit him; not having his football kit ready for after-school club meant he’d rather not go and argued with me about it; his class iPad not being charged left him raging – reality came knocking and it got verbally abused! I had nothing, emotionally, left to give and lost my shit. I was all out of shits to give. These weren’t MY things to worry about, they weren’t MY responsibility and in the grand scheme of things, they’re not insurmountable – but I WILL pay the price beyond this morning’s shit-show. I’ve let a raging bull, full of anxiety and unidentified emotions – with the knowledge he’ll only be at that ‘new’ school for 5 more days – loose on unsuspecting victims at school.
It will start with the pen tapping, move onto a refusal, then the shouting and defiance that comes with being asked to do something reasonable (but in his head it’s incredibly “unfair”), that hurricane could move onto shoving someone or something into a locker/table and will probably only find solace in isolation when the chaos around him calms and he can forget what’s just happened. I’ll get the email or phone call and the PR team will swoop in with their spin to limit the damage of Storm Hugo. I’m not being negative, I just know, after 10 years, how these things go.
But as I sit here – sobbing, writing this, while getting ahead by sending my own emails of “for a myriad of reasons Hugo would like to return to his old school” to negate the need to be told at the end of this week that he’s “failed” the ‘managed move’ (an emotional defence being taken by both me and Hugo – we dump them before they can dump us!) – I realise, if I’m feeling this confused, teary, wound-up and exhausted, how is H feeling? I’m 34 and of logical mind – I can articulate how I feel, even through the stream of tears – H is the antithesis of all these things. So, I’ve done the best I can do with an angry tweenager at school, sent a text of “I love you and everything will be alright!”, because it will be and I really do love him, more than he’ll ever be able to understand.
UPDATE: But, you know what? 8 hours later, not one to be predictable, H gets in my car with a “I’m really sorry about this morning!”, a hug and a “I had a good day – no one’s going to email or call you about!”
Wow. this is really amazing. I am really loving your site. I have done a post about you.
You and I it would appear, have little in common. I don’t have kids (choice), comfortably employed in the public sector with little risk of not being (save some gross misconduct), I’m not a girl, old enough to be your dad (just) etc etc
Somehow your posts make me cheer you on and hope all is well.
Your updates about ‘H’ make me think that other parents with differently-wired young people might feel some hope and comfort in your acceptance of his differences and your honesty about his (and by extension your) struggles.