March 25, 2010. I wish there was a corner of the world, reserved just for our family, where we could hide and heal. Parenting a child like Peter is a lonely, lonely journey. But being Peter, I’m afraid, is an even lonelier journey, and so that’s what I must keep reminding myself. None of this is his fault and he deserves our best, even when we feel like disappearing altogether. Yesterday at his psychiatry appointment he told the doctor that he sees the Grinch crawling across the ceiling whenever he’s left alone. “I don’t like it,” he says. “He scares me.” In response to her questions, he admits that he’s always seen “Mr. Grinch” and that he can make him go away by walking into another room or finding another person. He told Pat and I this news a few weeks ago when he suddenly divulged some of his most secreted fears snug between us after a nightmare. We assured him that it wasn’t real, that it was just his imagination and his fears getting the better of him, but of course we were terrified of the implications. Words like hallucination, delusion, and psychosis came bubbling to the surface of my consciousness with shuddering bursts. His psychiatrist, after speaking directly to her, is hopeful that he’s not actually hallucinating. She’s hoping that he merely panics when left alone and this fear, when mingled with his disorganized thought processes, manifests itself as the Grinch. Pat and I left feeling relieved. We dropped the kids off at Grandma’s and next met with two key players on Peter’s team at the district office. The stated purpose of the meeting, which they requested, was to “rebuild trust” after the chief suspect (the school psychologist) called CPS in blatant retaliation for our demanding that she be removed as Peter’s counselor. But they chose a risky, certainly partisan, opener for two peacemakers attempting to repair a relationship that’s broken in all likelihood beyond salvage. And here’s how it went: we walked in the room, grim-faced and gray, sat down, and watched as one of the them leaned forward with hands clasped and addressed us in a manner reminiscent of a funeral director, “we’re so sorry for the anguish these situations [CPS investigations] always cause the families involved.” A very pregnant pause followed and I felt my face redden. The craziest part is that I’m unclear whether they understood why we walked out and left a few minutes later. Their opening remarks lumped us unceremoniously with the world of child abusers, who must bear public humiliation and agony, and they don’t see why we took offense? And believe me when I say the rest of what spewed from their mouths was equally upsetting. The truth is, they might have succeeded in causing us to wave the white flag once and for all regarding Peter’s programming if their approach to his school day wasn’t directly and negatively impacting our family’s home life and his ability to improve. As Dr. Federici just reminded me, public schools simply don’t understand these kids’ need for serious, 24/7, no holes in the armor structure. Consequently, they sympathize with the child and blame the parents. I really have no idea where we go from here. How do we continue to advocate for Peter, shield Sophie, and reclaim something of ourselves, our marriage, and our family in the midst of continual and deliberate onslaught? I don’t much know but it never hurts to practice forgiveness, and perhaps that’s where we should start. Perhaps I need to forgive our own mistakes and missteps, as there have been plenty, and at least strive to forgive the double whammy of others’ ignorance and arrogance that at times has escalated into blunt derision. I’m meant to be Peter’s mother because I am Peter’s mother. His destiny is my destiny and there’s no changing that. But if I can alter, even a little, the course he takes, so that his is a more hopeful future, then I’ll have done my job. At that point, I hope, my heart might finally heal.