I NEVER Thought I’d Say This…

… but I’m kind of hating the weekends.

I’ve got a couple of (my favorite) kids whom I’m keeping a wary eye on lately.  Things aren’t good for either of them; Margot’s just been released from a hospitalization and is dealing with debilitating panic attacks, and Jeff is neck-deep in a really unpleasant home environment.  They’ve both come to me for support, and I’ve been more than happy to give it to them.

I’m finding, on this lovely Friday afternoon, that I’m worrying about them more than I did last night, or on Wednesday.  I’m sure this is because, on every other night, I know I’ll see them first thing in the morning (and, if I don’t, I know how to find out where they are and whether they’re safe and upright).  The idea of going two days without laying eyes on either one of them is proving to be disconcerting.

I’m less worried about Margot.  She’s got a strong family support system and is being well cared-for at home; I am confident that she’s safe and loved.

Jeff is another story altogether, though; he sent me a text message on Wednesday asking me to sign onto facebook so we could chat, and he told me that his home life is fast becoming untenable.  So much of his situation reminded me of MY life at that age – parents (or, in this case, a mother and a new boyfriend) who give every impression of loathing the mere presence of him and make no effort to disguise that fact but who, inexplicably, won’t let him leave the house.  Jeff is angry and frustrated and, I think, scared; he’s recognizing that all of this is wearing away at his already tenuous self-esteem.  I spent a good bit of our chat time explaining to him why *I* think he’s an amazing kid who’s growing into a good and decent man, and how I’m deeply proud of him.  I know, from my own experience, that while hearing these things from me is probably helpful, it’s not enough to salve the damage being done by the people who are supposed to love him, and that’s the part that’s killing me.

I had a conference with Mitch (the new guidance counselor, whom I really, really like) and our assistant dean (whom I’ve not yet given a pseudonym; let’s call him Brad, okay?) about exactly where my line has to be with Jeff.  They both agreed that everything that’s happened thus far has been not only okay, but good; they both recognize that Jeff needs someone he feels he can count on, and he clearly feels safe with me.  When I brought up the idea of having a sit-down with Jeff’s dad, my men searched all of Jeff’s files and discovered that we’ve got nothing in the way of custody orders or other official paperwork that would forbid such a meeting, so Dad and I are having coffee tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, I’m keeping my cell phone on – and on me – at all times.  I need to be available if either of these babies needs me.

Monday can’t come fast enough.

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3 Comments

Filed under compassion and cooperation, concerns, ethics, I love my boss, I love my job, I've got this kid...., out in the real world, parental units, the good ones, Yikes!

3 responses to “I NEVER Thought I’d Say This…

  1. Scott B

    I am a preservice teacher (read: college student), and this is EXACTLY the reason why I feel that I am “called” to teaching. Though I grew up in a safe, loving environment – I am not naive enough to think that every student had such luxury. As a teacher, I want these kind of meaningful connections with teenagers who may not have anywhere else to turn. Stories like these reaffirm in me my decision to teach.

    • Scott, there’s a lot in my history that makes me pathologically incapable of being cool and distant from my students. While *I* clearly don’t have an issue with loving my babies, I recognize that there’s a line that I have to be mindful of, and I recognize that I’m getting awfully close to it with Jeff. That’s not stopping me from promising him that I’ll come to get him at 2 in the morning if he calls me, but I am also trying to make sure that my colleagues are well apprised of what’s going on and have my back should something go wrong.

      I’m crazy-fortunate to work in a school that allows – if not encourages – teachers to care about our students. I know for sure I couldn’t work in a place that frowns upon the kind of maternal relationship I have with some of my kids; I need to be allowed to love them.

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