Follow Up to the Junior High Juxtaposition

I finally had a chance to visit my son’s school during Take Your Parent to Lunch Week. I, along with dozens of other parents, were able to bring a nice (meaning fast food) lunch to share with their angsty junior high offspring. 

My husband was able to join him on Tuesday and I was able to dine with him on Wednesday. On that Wednesday after lunch, a boy had joined us, telling my son M that he couldn’t find him all lunch period. 

I couldn’t wrap my head around what had just happened. Was this the same kid who hated school and couldn’t wait for lunch to be over everyday, apparently deciding that no friends were better than mean friends? 

I found out the next day (yes, I went back the next day) that this kid was in one of his classes. His mother, who joined us as well, revealed that their teacher actually introduced the boys because he said my son was looking for friends. 

So the email to the counselor and his English teacher worked. I did not tell them about the assault and it pained me to keep this information from the faculty but I shared everything with the boy’s mom who listened to the word vomit that spewed from my mouth in under ninety seconds. I felt a huge sigh of relief knowing that someone else knew M’s story.  


I was able to meet with M’s counselor that week. His teachers were concerned for him and for that am immensely grateful and humbled. The counselor told his teachers that they could not tell M that I initiated this conversation but a couple of teachers had already acted on this cry for help from this concerned mother.  His counselor asked the right questions and was happy to know that the behaviors of keeping to himself to the extreme at home and at school have subsided. I expressed my confusion regarding how my son’s behavior had changed so dramatically but agreed to monitor him and take him to see a family doctor if these behaviors return. I don’t think it will come to this but I am prepared to take him if necessary. 

[We aren’t strangers to therapy. When my husband R was recovering at the VA of Palo Alto, he and I saw a family therapist a few times and when R and I were given a few hours to hang out in his hospital room, the “babysitter” was the same therapist. In complete honesty, I tried to see one a few years ago since why the hell not? Our insurance covers it and I was in dire need of a life gutting experience. 

But the handful of therapists I reached out to were either out of the office or didn’t respond to my messages. 

I took that as a sign. 

But I digress.] 

Weeks later, they are still friends and this kid’s friends have embraced M as one of their own. I wonder if he’s being a good friend to them. I wonder a lot if his arrogance (okay, he might get it from us) prevents him from seeing potential friends. I wonder if his old friends feel abandoned. 

It takes a lot of self-control but I have to wonder from afar. I have to trust that he’ll make the right choices. I have to trust that he’ll come to my husband or me if or when the time comes. I have to trust that he’ll be aright. 

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