Thursday, September 20, 2007

A time to weep

Well, I'm doing a bit more of the blogging now and am naturally behind. Tamara says she is on vacation from the blog. She didn't mention when she is coming back, but I'm sure you will all agree with me that you hope it is soon.

Today, Thursday, September 20th, one day after the meeting with school officials, school principle, the teacher, I woke up and was not overly excited about life. After meeting with the school and asking for an apology on Wednesday, but only receiving partial apologies with excuses regarding why they didn't do more, it was hard to get up and get going.

On top of that I had been a bit weepy this week, you know, like a faucet turned all the way on weepy. I thought it might end after the meeting, but it didn't.

What happened is as follows. I prepared notes for the meeting Tuesday night until very late. I printed out the first draft for review on the bus the next morning. For me this preparation is a must in a foreign language, since I can only do so much without notes, whole sentences, etc.

On the bus I read the draft of what has happened to Spencer in the last year and what I expected from the school. I was crying as I thought about why I hadn't done more in February, when Spencer was attacked by 6 children in the school classroom. While in the bus I remembered that his only prayer on the night of the incident was "Father, please help me to make friends!" I still feel horrible for not helping to answering my child's prayer and forcing more action from the school and other parents back then.

Between working I made updates and asked a friend to review the 2nd draft. She made some great edits in the German. I finished out the 1/2 day and was ready to go to the meeting with the school. I hopped in the elevator and looked in the mirror at the back of the elevator. I thought I looked pretty good (in a suit) and was ready to go, except for one little fleck on my nose. To my horror & relief (that I saw it now), the little fleck was dried snot that I thought I had taken care of (did I mention the time to weep).

Then as I turned around I noticed my tie in the mirror and that it was tied with a small knot. Suddenly a flash of memory popped into my head. I remembered when my dad first taught me how to tie a tie. He gave me two options: one that I couldn't follow - with the big knot, and a second option with the smaller, and for me, simpler knot. I never looked back, even now that I think the big knots are back in style.

I got on the bus, train, bus to go home. I got off the last bus and on the walk home I ran into the school principle. She was taking a walk between school and our meeting at 3:00 p.m. We talked about how nice Homberg is and how it is important to be outside in the fresh air. She then asked if Tamara was coming to the meeting. I said no, and thought because it would be impossible to find a babysitter for five kids in the middle of the afternoon.

I went home to use the restroom and kiss my wife. Our friend was there with her daughter (who is Hannah's age), which I had totally forgotten about (I wasn't planning on going home except that I had to use the facilities so badly and I had an extra 10 minutes that I did not want to wait out in the school). I asked if the friend would stay with our children and let Tamara go to the meeting with me. She agreed. It was so nice to have Tamara in the meeting.

We went to the meeting and spoke with the officials. I felt that the school principle was nicer to us in the presence of the district officials. The teacher was about the same. They seem to be making an effort to improve and the discussion was generally positive.

They asked why I was seeking an apology and why I feel the children, who attacked Spencer should still apologize to Spencer now (six+ months later). I read my written version of the attack by six children from February and couldn't make it passed the 2nd paragraph. I started to cry again. Gratefully Tamara could take over.

The meeting ended well, but I was still a bit confused about what happens next. There wasn't enough time to discuss what the school was exactly doing to prevent this from happening in the future and to make right what they had not done in the past.

We went home and releived our friend from babysitting and decided to go to the park together. Emma (our 2 year old) said I want to go with her (our friend, whose name she didn't know or couldn't remember). That was very cute.

Thereafter we rested, got the kids in bed, and spent the evening together. We called my dad a few friends from the states. It felt really lonely that night. Tamara chatted with her sister via instant messaging.

As stated in the beginning of this blog, I woke up today feeling not quite 100%, maybe only 73.5%. I drove to work today and was already weepy again. I listened to the scriptures on cassette in the car. The passage was a father's advice to his sons just prior to his own death, and the words seemed to touch my heart directly.

Alma 38:
3 I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the Zoramites.
4 For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word’s sake; and thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee; and now thou knowest that the Lord did deliver thee.
5 And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

When I arrived I work I spoke to my friend and colleague (whose wife stayed with our children the afternoon before) about the day. I wanted to thank him for his kindness (and that of his wife's) and tried to say how much it meant to us and just broke down right in front of the computer for at least 3 or 4 minutes. It continued thereafter for several minutes as well. I was trying to say that our kids really miss their aunts and uncles and cousins and how important the time his wife spends with our family and kids is to us, but it just wouldn't come out.


Jo Anne said...

God Bless you Both!! Sometimes those tears just need to come out!

I know many people who pray Psalm 91 over their children daily. Psalm 91 is such a beautiful chapter in the bible. I hope it will ease your pain too.

Sounds like you guys are really homesick too!!

I will keep you in my prayers!!

Gardner said...

Thank you for the kind words and prayers.

You get so busy being strong and making it through that you forget that it's normal and O.K. to be lonely and sad sometimes.

That is a great Psalm. Thank You.

Kim said...

I just wanted to tell you and your family that you are all in my prayers. I'm sure this is not what you were anticipating by being in Germany. I hope that this gets resolved soon for everyone's sake. Continue looking to your faith to guide you through this and I know you will all come out strong.

Big hugs to all of you!

Maria said...

I'm sorry you are having such a tough time. My husband and I have lived in three different countries (other than the US), and it gets quite lonely. ON the other hand, our relationship got a lot of attention, and we were closer to one another than ever before.

Love one another, and the important stuff will make up for the cruddy events.

Gardner said...

Hi to all. Thank you again for your kind words, affection, and prayers.

I believe the prayers have definitely helped.

March 2007