I attended a basketball game at my youngest sons charter school this evening. Part of the schools March Madness celebration. I had managed to talk my Cody into joining Josiah and I for the nights festivities. Upon entering the school Cody began to show signs of feeling uncomfortable. It was his first visit back to this school since he had graduated from the eighth grade last spring. Feeling the need to encourage him I searched eagerly for teachers and staff that would embrace seeing him again. Friendly faces approached Cody only to happy to see him. Watching Cody I could still sense he was very uncomfortable. Almost not responding at times and making little eye contact at some points.
I stepped back a minute and tried to imagine why he would feel so awkward toward so many familiar faces. Then somehow, I saw what really was happening. As those so happy to see him asked how he was, and how things were going, it never entered my mind how those questions would make Cody feel.
Just a week ago his world was given a very harsh blow. Sitting in his chair I am sure he felt distraught with reality. The smiling faces before him he knew really wanted to hear that he was happy and doing well. My heart wanted to whisk him away and flee from the situation I had placed him in. I wanted to believe we had not changed. That the enormous hurt thrown at us last week was behind us. That somehow we could continue as we have everyday. Looking at my Cody I felt my heart ache for him. Yes, I was at times like a robot, use to hiding my pain and just pushing a head like a bull. Numb some moments to the emotions that consumed me. How could I have not thought about how all this affected Cody. He was being asked to watch old school mates run and play a sport he would never have the chance to play. He was sitting in a chair with wheels while other children freely moved. He was hiding the pain from shattered hope, that had been dealt to him days ago, to make others comfortable in his presence.
My son was showing strength because I needed it. Because I was afraid, if we did not continue to be apart of the world, we would get lost. I was still reading online and hearing the traumatic effects other parents and families were feeling. While I was encouraging my son to be strong, have hope, others around us were acting out in their devastation. Trying to grasp at any thing that might help no matter how irrational. We were surrounded by the hurt of so many and feeling the effects of their cries to us.
We stayed for the game, smiling and chatting to all the people who had been apart of Cody's academic life. Cody often turning to search my face for comfort and to help free him from the questions. We managed the evening with social grace. Holding back hurt that still rested heavily on our hearts. Cody did not once complain. Finally in the car he told me he was happy it was over and he wanted to go home and join his world again. The world where he felt safe and comfortable the world that did not remind him of what he could not do, like play basketball or run. He was happy to be home where he could just be himself and feel good about that, no matter what he was feeling inside.