The room is full of students, parents, grandparents and teachers. It’s the annual Thanksgiving Breakfast at school. I see my son’s teacher with his class and I head over to find a space to sit with him. When I get there, I don’t see him.
His teacher sees me and tells me he is in the bathroom, he’ll be back.
So I stand and talk, watch and then wait. Twenty minutes has passed and his class has already stood to go get their food. No sign of my kid.
I am frustrated and quite irritated. Where is he?
I go to the door of the boys bathroom and shout in to see if he’s in there. I hear feet shuffling and a small cough. But, no answer.
I call his name again.
I ask him if he’s in there and I get a quiet answer, yes.
I ask him to come out and he says, why?
Because I’ve been out here for 30 mintes waiting for you and your Thanksgiving Breakfast and you have been in the bathroom the entire time! Doesn’t he understand how busy this season is- I don’t want to just stand here.
He peaks around the corner and slowly comes out. He has his sketch book in hand and his face gives him away.
He’s been hiding in the bathroom, drawing. Also, I can see the tears pooling around his eyes.
I pull him to the side of the hallway and we back up against the wall. We both slowly slide down and sit on the floor.
The story comes and it’s a typical story of his. The hard work of being a middle schooler and navigating life. Frustration with people, teachers, himself.
I take a deep breath in and slowly let it out. We are both tired.
The days are good and bad. These moments happen much less frequently, but they still happen.
Today, we both cry.
I’m able to coax him back into the large room with the rest of the school. He and I are dead last in line. Everyone behind us is getting seconds. It’s the fifth grade kids standing and waiting near us who look over his shoulder at his book of drawings and tell him how cool they are. He says thanks and then turns to show them more. I notice a bit of energy sneak back into him.
We get our food.
We are quiet.
Sitting next to me he slumps over and puts his head on my shoulder. He wants me there.
Happy Thanksgiving all.
I’m thankful for all the good days we’ve had. I’m thankful that I was able to be outside that bathroom door to listen to his teary story. I’m thankful I kept my temper under control and didn’t scold him for wasting my time. I’m thankful I’m not alone in parenting and life.
He went back in the room, he kept drawing, he used my shoulder as a place of rest.