Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Somber, Stalkerish Hillbilly Mom

We had a tragedy amongst our students today. I don't want to
dwell on it. It didn't happen at school, and it was nobody's fault.
Sometimes things just happen. He was not one of my students,
but one a year ahead of my #1 son. They knew each other.
They had been in gifted classes together through four years
of elementary school. They were not close friends, but had a
connection, being the only two boys amongst the gifties. I did
not know the family, other than to see them picking up their
child when I picked up mine, and occasionally in Wal*Mart.
I can't imagine what they are going through. I hope I never
have to find out.

I am overprotective. Hard to believe, huh? My #2 son brought
home papers last week for an attendance reward party. It was
at a civic center that is about a 30-minute drive from our school.
He's been there before with his dad, and to birthday parties.
But one of us was always there to watch him. "Will you let me
go this time, Mom?" he asked. Which made me feel like a
grinch for not letting him go the last time the school took a
group there. He was only in 1st grade then. That's too small
for nobody to be watching him. He really can't swim, though
he thinks he can. He can push off the side and glide underwater,
but unless he can put his feet on the bottom to stand up for air,
he's in trouble. I let him go. Gotta cut the apron strings sometime.

We got the news of the tragedy at 8:00 this morning, after I'd
already dropped him off. Nothing like that kind of news to
make you worry some more. IF you're kind of overprotective.
All day I worried. What if the lifeguard wasn't watching him?
What if he got held underwater? What if a bigger kid did
something to him? Did they all change clothes together, or
did they separate the big kids from the little kids?

I told one of my classes about his trip.

Oh, I've been there.
He said he was going down the big slide, and getting in the
hot tub or something.
Huh? There's no hot tub. He must mean the whirlpool.
The what?
It's a big whirlpool. When I was about 5, my brother and
his friends put me in the middle and started running around
to make it go even faster. They wouldn't let me out.
A lifeguard stands right by it. It took him about an hour to
get me and my mom out of it.
There's a secret way to get out of it. I'll tell you sometime.
He thinks he can swim. He'll probably go underwater and
try to swim to the side.
If he does that, he'll be sleepin' with the fishes!

Note To Self: Do not discuss child safety fears with students.

By then, I figured if something had happened to him, they
would have called me. If they had found his body on the
bottom of the pool! I had told him that in case they didn't
get back in time for his bus, I would come looking for him
at his building.

#1 hung around the bus drop-off area after school, tormenting
the duty teachers. I went to talk to my aunt in her office down
the hall. Next thing I know, there's the #1 boy, telling me that
#2 did not get off the bus. "I did not see him get off, and Ms
M on duty says she didn't see him get off either!" I actually
think the boy was a bit worried. After re-starting my heart, I
went out to the hall. My coat and bag were there. Usually, he
sees these and drops anchor to wait for me. I sent #1 down
to the classroom to look for him. Ms M came in and said,
"I didn't see him get off the bus." The next plan was to have
the secretary call his building to see if the bus was late. Oh,
and if it's not enough worrying that he drowned, we have been
getting emails about a local sex offender on house arrest. Just
then, #1 rounded the stairwell from Lower Basementia. And
behind him was #2.

See there? I just validated my fears. If he could get off the bus,
walk 15 feet through the only open door, and down the hall and
steps to Lower Basementia without being seen by two duty
teachers and his brother and the hall lurkers, he could have
easily lain dormant on the bottom of the pool with 100 or so
kids thrashing about. He is just the kind of kid who goes
unnoticed. Whew! I must get some kind of tranquilizer
for these non-incidents. Perhaps my friend Jim knew what he
was talking about when he would look at me in his 'As we all
know, I'm probably an alcoholic' way and say "Take a red!"

On the way home, my little shaver babbled about his excursion.
"One boy lost his trunks." Great. At least it wasn't him. I made
him try on both pairs last night, and gave him the tightester ones.
Then he went on to say, "But one of the teachers found them
just before we left." I'm assuming that the kid lost them after
he'd changed back into his school clothes.

Yes, I'm a bit overprotective. I'm like that lady in I'll Love You
Forever, the book that makes all the elementary teachers cry
when they read it to their students. It's really about a mom
stalking her adult son. I can imagine what that's like.

Hug your kids.

And if you don't have any, hug somebody's kid who won't press
charges, and make sure it's in a non-perverty kind of way.


Chickadee said...

Oh wow. I hope grief counselors are going to be at that school for the next few days. The family will be in my thoughts. I can't imagine the pain they are experiencing right now.

deadpanann said...

Sorry to hear about the tragedy.

I love the young 'uns. In a non perverty sort of way.

Cazzie!!! said...

Am chasing my 10year old about the place trying to give him a hugg now.

Imma ( Alice) said...

It is so sad to hear of children dying. I am so glad that this was not anyones fault... little comfort thought that may be to the parents at this time, I think it better than if someone had done something brutal to him. My heart bleeds for his family.

I am very happy that your family is safe and sound, that #2 showed up finally.

I have no children and at this moment don't know any I can hug. So instead I will give my critters even more love tonight than I usually do... and I usually give them lots :o)

Hillbilly Mom said...

Just our regular counselors were there, and the school social worker. They seemed to handle it OK. I tear up a little every time I think about it.

Miss Ann,
Good to know.

I knew I could depend on you to follow directions.

It was so unexpected. That's what bothered a lot of the kids. They wished they had been nicer, like it was somehow their fault. But of all the ways to go, to die in your sleep is the easiest way I can think of. No worries, no stress. Many of the kids planned to go to the visitation at the funeral home. I think it will give them closure.

I'm glad my young'un showed up, and that he hadn't gone down the drain.

Kids are critters too.