little boy in Fisher’s kindergarten class. We’ll call him "Wayne."
Wayne and Fisher did not start out on the best of terms. Fisher’s… well, you know Fisher. Academic, rule-follower, anti-violence, honestly kind of a teacher’s pet (go Buzz!). Wayne showed up on the first day of school with an "Army of One" t-shirt. Things went downhill from there.
At one point several months ago, Fisher started crying when it was time for him to go to school. He *never* does this. So after some gentle interrogation, I found out he was afraid to go out to recess because Wayne was hitting him and calling him names ("dumbass?" who in kindergarten calls another kid "dumbass?"). Cue mama-tiger mode. At the end of that day, Rhys and I marched into the school to go have a few words with Mrs. Gorman. As we stepped into the crosswalk at the entrance to the staff parking lot (emphasis on STAFF, as in -only), a giant filthy pickup truck came roaring through without even slowing down; we had to jump backwards to keep from getting squished. I made eye contact with the driver as she blazed past… it was Wayne’s mom, "Cora."
Ahhh, Cora. Now, if Wayne’s a piece of work, it’s entirely due to the gentle influences of his mother. She’s close to six feet tall, tweeker-skinned, given to wearing halter tops and low-slung jeans that do not at all suit her daunting body type (honestly, she looks like a cage fighter). Her life is a litany of sorrow and she responds with rage.
Fisher’s teacher is not a gossip, but I managed to pick up a little information about Wayne’s family situation from overheard snatches of conversation and comments made by other classroom moms. (The regular unscary crosswalk-respecting ones.) Apparently Wayne, his mom, Wayne’s little brother and sometimes Wayne’s mom’s sister and her brood spent most of the school year bouncing from motel room to motel room, sometimes getting child support checks from Wayne’s dad and sometimes living on a whole lot of nothin’. At one point Cora spent a couple weeks in jail. And for the entire last month of school, Wayne did not show up.
Then on the last day of school… poof, there he was! He told his classmates he’d spent the last three weeks playing video games with his mom’s friend because his mom was too tired to take him to school. When Cora showed up at the end of the day, Mrs. Gorman asked her to stay behind and talk to her for a few minutes. Cora did so, reluctantly, arms crossed, face fixed in a scowl, leaning against the back wall of the classroom as the new graduates made their tearful goodbyes. Fisher was staying behind to give his teachers big hugs and get some photos… so when Mrs. Gorman approached Cora, I stepped away to try not to hear their conversation. Mrs. Gorman used a soft enough voice that I couldn’t hear her, but Cora bellowed:
"I couldn’t get him to school. I couldn’t call. I was up pukin.’"
"I don’t have any support at home. There’s nothing I can do about it."
"Well, I’m not LIKE the other mommies!" At this, she grabbed Wayne’s arm and stomped off.
So despite all the problems that Wayne and Fisher have had this year, my heart is just breaking for this little boy. For god’s sake, he was truant for a month in kindergarten. He has no chance, no hope, unless by some miracle his mom cleans herself up and gets her life right, or if someone can step in and make a difference for him. I feel like I should do something… but what? Honestly, I don’t know if it would be safe for me or my family to have anything to do with them… scary people tend to have scary friends and the last thing we need is to get mixed up with people with a meth lab in their single-wide. And if I did approach her, how would she respond? She seems rather the sort of person who’d be happy to beat the crap out of me for suggesting she’s not exactly mother of the year…
What would you do?
In other news, Jim said we can move back to California. *happy dance, happy dance* Probably about a year from August, i.e., when Rhys starts kindergarten.