For months now I have escaped upstairs to my study and sat at my desk and looked through the papers that have come to represent the first three years of my son Teddy’s formal education. It has been surreal going back in time, rereading these long ago stories. I know them well, but it no longer feels like they happened to me, 2012 Charlotte. It’s like it all happened to someone else. I guess you could call her 2000 Charlotte.
Poor 2000 Charlotte. She had so much to contend with and fear dominated her life. She had the hard work. Like a foot soldier, in the muck, carrying the weight of her worries as she fought for her child. Her constant companions were isolation and ostracism. Kids who go to Emotionally Conflicted class don’t go to birthday parties. And mothers of kids who go to EC class, when at the park with their child don’t have the luxury of sitting around the perimeter chatting it up with other mothers. No. That Charlotte was right beside her child, keeping him from exploding around the kids and also using him as a protective device, a shield, an acceptable means to stay away from the other mothers to avoid taking part in the inevitable conversation.
“Where does your son go to school?”
She couldn’t even imagine the response to naming the elementary school “on that side of town.” Not to mention, “Oh, he’s in a self-contained class for emotionally disturbed children.”
2012 Charlotte can laugh a little knowing so well the women who comprise the small southern town in which she lives. A town where there is only one kind of school you send your kid to, private. So a public school, on “that side of town” in an EC class. I think looking back she could have given several of those belles a stroke.
2012 Charlotte has the peace that the wide-angle lens of perspective brings. She has the luxury of seeing how it all came together. How those disjointed, rough, apparently missing pieces were all there and how they eventually fit together in the most beautiful way. 2000 Charlotte could not see that as it was happening, she did not have this peace.
These stories I share with you are the layers of my life, and explain why I appreciate what is, for I know what was and what could have been. Moreover, it is because of these stories and knowing both 2000 and 2012 Charlotte that today I don’t worry. I have this steadfast peace that all will be okay.
One day I will get to the story of the day I was overcome with the peace I speak of, but patience, it didn’t come until November 2008, Teddy’s senior year of high school. Just know for now friend, when I speak of peace, it is there, it is real and if you are struggling today, it will be there for you, someday. It will. And when it does come, it will be sweet, divine, profound and appreciated. It will quench your thirst at last.