Well I Ran Away Too…
I was about 3 or 4 and I didn’t really “run” like my son did, but I did decide to go visit the nice little old lady across the back yard to say hello. I don’t know the specifics of the day, I only remember fuzzy little bits that I cannot focus on, vague details that sharpen for a moment then fade. This little old lady I visited was so sweet (I had to have visited her before), and she gave me a plum to eat. I was the gracious little girl that my mother raised, and I accepted it and ate it. The plum was pulpy and meaty like plums are, not my choice of fruit, and I wouldn’t say I devoured it with a passion, but I was polite and ate down it to the pit. I was just yards away, if even that, from my own back yard, and I remember skipping back home with an unnamed pleasure, most likely for having just a brief bit of attention. The reception I got when I got home was far from welcoming. My mother was so upset, she yelled and spanked me quite fanatically, as I’m guessing she had to find a release for her combined fear and relief at seeing me bound back into our yard. To this day she claims that this experience forever changed me, made me fearful to explore and meet others. Sometimes I think she’s right.
I have to admit my anxiety in sharing my thoughts (about running–see part I and part II), writing about them, and talking about them openly. That anxiety got the better of me after a focus group session in a creative nonfiction class, and I was quietly freaking out for awhile. I got a phone call, from the school, about my son. No danger, no detention (this time), but it hit a nerve, and for a whole 45 minutes afterwards, in my hyper sensitive state, I could not think straight, was tearful, ashamed, and the emotions I felt stung too much like a fresh cut in your skin; I couldn’t look at my writing or at anyone else in the classroom, nor could I talk about it. I managed a terse email to the special ed. teacher as I felt I had to say something now, while the emotions were still sharp and simmering. It wasn’t anything major, really, but I think I was upset at the teacher as much as myself and my son.
Jimmy had signed up for an afterschool activity. They have scheduled times for “practice” and then in two weeks they will compete. The problem was the teacher divided the class into two groups based on their times. Jimmy was placed in the second group, but he wanted to be in the first group. The teacher could not be flexible, just once, just for the afternoon before a holiday weekend, with four days off from school, and this would be just a minor accommodation that probably nobody would notice. But no, Jimmy kept trying to join the first group, and finally he took off to join it, so the teacher told him he couldn’t participate for the afternoon, and the assistant principal sent him home. Yes, he needs to learn the rules, and I’m still struggling to determine why the news of this little incident made me so emotional. I don’t know. The activity? RUNNING.