Shortly after I wrote about Harry being a bit challenging these days, the worst of the behaviours started to lessen. We’ve had a few good talks, he and I – and mindful of the suggestions from that parenting website I’ve been careful to spend some one-on-one time with him every day, even if it’s only while I’m packing lunches or cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.
He’s responded by suddenly becoming my Very Best Friend in the Whole Wide World, hugging me constantly and offering to help me with everything, because I am a fragile flower that is incapable of pushing a stroller, opening a door, or putting the milk away.
Oh, and Michael? When you stepped past the garbage at the top of the stairs AGAIN today and left it for me to do? My new boyfriend was not impressed. Be warned.
Last night I met his teacher for the first time, and it was a very good / bad experience. Good because she is funny, warm, obviously still loves her job despite this being her 25th year teaching, and with a very low tolerance for the kind of generalized jack-assery that characterized his classroom last year.
“I love her,” he announced. “She’s very nice. She’s really strict, though. Like you!”
So what’s bad? Well, she’s back in the classroom now after being off on medical leave since last December because she’s fighting cancer. She had her last chemotherapy treatment on September 6th. Yes, of this year. She still has radiation every third Friday. She tires easily, by her own admission. She told the children all about it on the first day but didn’t send a note home to the parents, and we only got the story last night. I mean, the seven parents out of a possible 24 who bothered to show up did.
When I came home I sat down with Harry and we talked. Turns out he’s been very worried about that she will “go the same way Grandpa did”. In this house, unfortunately, cancer is a death sentence. His beloved Grandpa died when he was four years old and he doesn’t know anyone personally who had cancer and won.
I can’t lie and tell him everything will definitely be OK, because it might not. And I wouldn’t want her to lie to them about why her hair is so short, why she needs frequent rest, and where she goes one Friday a month. People who don’t tell their children about death are doing them no favours, because it’s a part of life and will touch us all.
I do wish she’d told the parents what was up, though. A little warning would have saved us three weeks of unsettled behaviour and upset, for sure.