mama bear Tale – That’s my Mom

My vision for all of my children is for them to grow to become happy, healthy, independent individuals.  My twenty-something is well on her way. While clearly this goal must be reached through drive and desire, I truly believe part of becoming independent is learning to self-advocate.

So I really do try not to be an overly protective mama bear.

However if ever my child is having any difficulty vocalizing what he or she needs, you’d best believe I am going to get involved.

Especially for my younger daughter, given her Learning Disability. While she has made tremendous strides over the  years, school in particular has been a monumental struggle for her since the day she entered Kindergarten, academically and socially. Alongside the Educational Staff,  my family and I are dedicated to providing her the assistance she needs to succeed.

Since she always strives to please and perfect, the burden weighs ever-heavy on her bitty shoulders. Yet, rarely does utter even a word of complaint. One night though, after hours of trying to understand an assignment she blurted out, “It’ just so hard for me to think!”

These words cut me like a knife. It should not be so hard.

Although she decided attending a vocational High School was best for her future, it also meant leaving her circle of friends behind. Dealing with the Learning Disability has always made her quiet, self-conscious, and more anxious at school. However, Freshmen Year it escalated to the point where she became so on edge, she would rarely eat there. Not such a great thing for any child, especially not one blessed with a super-high metabolism.

Of course mama bear worried.

At the end of her first year of High School, as she danced a ballet piece in her Recital, I just so happened to be sitting directly in front of a very ignorant young woman who loudly said, “Look at that girl in the purple, she looks like a skeleton -how disgusting!”  I seethed with fury.

Ok, so maybe I wanted to jump up and bitch-slap her. Alternately, I turned around in my seat, glaring and hissing like an evil cat.

If only she had any idea what my child had been through.

Fortunately, after about a year and half of working with a Therapist, as well as being with a group of super outgoing girls in her vocation (Cosmetology), she found her comfort zone. She continues to excel with her studies, and while I know at school she will never be the loudest one, at least she can be relaxed and comfortable enough to eat in the Cafe with her friends.

Mama Bear was very happy indeed.

Until Junior Year. Day 1. Urgent Text 1: She was in a Lunch with no one she knew. Not eating.

Since I know she can be a tad anxious I said we’d discuss when she came home as I didn’t want to over-react. Yet.

Of course when I saw her, dark circles under her eyes, weak from being hungry, I assured her I would take care of it.  The next morning at precisely 7:35 AM, since her Therapist had not arrived I spoke with the Guidance Counselor, explained the “situation,” and asked if it there would be any issue in switching her to a lunch where she had at least one friend. The counselor replied, “Not a problem.” I texted my daughter to let her know.

Mama Bear was very happy indeed.

Until Junior Year. Day 2.  Urgent Text 2: No change in Lunch. Guidance told her Therapist told them to give it some time. Not eating.

Knowing my daughter was extremely stressed at this point, I sound off like there is a Fire Alarm Fire. I am a roaring mama bear when I call the school back in the afternoon, speaking to her Therapist this time.

Clearly I have forgotten I am semi-chill again, as I go off on a total tirade asking sharply, “Why would you over-ride the parent’s request without even calling me? -You already know she has issues with eating at school and how thin she is –  Even now, she’s barely pushing a BMI 5 -We all know this how? Because the school weighed her without my permission, then sent me a letter home to tell me about it – I have never even called you before to ask anything of you – What are we talking here, Lunch? Can you just give her the freakin’ Lunch? I mean they get all of 15 minutes to chow down anyway, right? – That isn’t even enough time to eat properly.” 

When I pause for breath, she tells me I can blame her for asking to wait it out a day or so, I ranted on, “I AM blaming you, this is why I am calling you.” Shit, she’s probably very happy I’ve never called before. Of course, her being a Therapist she did calm me down, assuring me my daughter’s best interest was a priority for her.  I ended the call with a thank-you adding, “You probably don’t wonder where she got the anxiety from.”

I hung up the phone and said to myself, “Wow, I am a totally overprotective mother.” Yup. Just like the mom Shirley MacLaine played in Terms of Endearment. The best movie of all time in my opinion, by the way. Except here I am shouting, “Give my daughter the Lunch!!!”

While certainly my daughter is not not her death-bed, the point is, Emma’s mother, while overprotective and at times even over-bearing, made certain her daughter’s needs were met. Always.

Terms of Endearment

The next day, my daughter came home telling me when she had met with guidance and her Therapist, both noted I was very concerned for her. She replied simply, “That’s my Mom.”

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