"I'm just a nerd. A geek and a nerd. A geek means you think you're cool and you're not."
Last night I lingered in the boys' room, listening, and trying to sooth and encourage.
We are in the last six weeks of school and I want Small Sun to finish strong. I want him to win the battle that this year has been for him.
Eight years old. Big birth family twists and turns. Big move to a new country. Big school change that was different in every way possible.
It is almost Small Sun's birthday and I'm really struggling because he only has three people at school that he would even think about inviting to celebrate with him.
Small Sun, the boy who has always been the life of the party, at the center of the fun, lighting up the atmosphere.
When we make big decisions for our lives we agonize over them. Will it be the right thing? Will everything work out okay? Will I do irreversible damage to these little people? Will the big changes be too BIG?
This has been such a hard year for Small Sun.
In Australia I worried over him being one of a handful of brown skinned children in his school. I worried that he was cut off from opportunities to interact with kids who shared his ethnicity, or even his skin tone. Of course I appreciated his nurturing teachers, and I loved our wonderful school, but I still worried about that issue.
How wonderful it will be, I thought, to be in a school surrounded with kids who look similar to him, and to have his tone reflected in teachers and administrators!
Now we're here, and we've lost nearly all the other things that made school wonderful back in Australia. We have a good teacher here, and he's gotten to learn an instrument this year, but I'd say nearly everything else has been a FAIL.
We've got six weeks left in the school year, and he'll be moving schools next year, but that doesn't make it easier when he is crying himself to sleep at night.
He's never been called a nerd before, or a geek. He's never questioned his intelligence, his worthiness as a friend, his ability to walk into school and have a good day.
I call him Small Sun (sometimes Small Son, depending on how I'm thinking of him) because he is like a sunflower, shooting up, brightly, cheering those around him. I feel like this year, these challenges have just cut him at the base. He is wilted, fallen, struggling to survive.
Was it a mistake to come? I don't think so. Will he survive this year? Has has to! I just hope and pray that he can come out of these challenges stronger, and perhaps with empathy for kids who are pushed to the edges and lonely.
In the meantime, I'm praying often. It's time to redouble efforts to help him academically, and to look for ways to support his friendships. He has such a pack of wonderful mates in Australia. Somehow we've got to find a good friend for him here.
What do you do when you child is going through a tough season?