So, a while ago, I posted about how Ben's school had chosen him as "Student of the Month" and given me a sheet to answer questions about him. You know, the usual things, like hobbies (I wrote "chasing garbage trucks, playing with my cousins AJ and Lane, swimming, vacuuming, and being outside"), favorite foods ("hot dogs, raisins, eggs, and any kind of dip"), and siblings. Ah, siblings.
I chewed (and cried) over this for a while, and finally wrote, "Ben's sister Lydia was stillborn in November 2014. We love and miss her very much."
And I turned the pictures and the form in. Three weeks ago.
Every day since then, I look, with anxiety, to see if it's on the wall.
Yesterday, it finally was.
Now, I have a few things to point out here. One is that we pay A LOT of money each week to send my son to this school. Another is that I turned this crap in three weeks ago. Another is that every other Student of the Month board is beautifully done, with the photos matted and cute writing and shapes. And my son's is done with post-it notes. (I have become friends with one other mom at Ben's school -- we connected because she lost her twin sons a few years ago. Ironically, I told her just last weekend that I thought Ben's teacher was lazy. Case in point.)
Just for comparison value, here's another Student of the Month collage:
But I'm mostly bothered by this:
The language here. Obviously, the incorrect grammar is a glaring issue to this previous English teacher. But the biggest problem? Stating that Ben's sister's name WAS Lydia. Past tense.
Lydia is still her name. She is still Ben's sister.
Oh, and I intentionally included a picture of Oma Jo and Pop-Pop with ALL their grandchildren at Christmas time. To represent Lydie in the photo, my mom held Lydie's framed hand and footprints. This photo was not on the goddamn wall.
Am I being overly sensitive here?
But it has been haunting me.
I laid in bed the other night at 3 am, getting increasingly more pissed off about this situation.
I tried to tell myself, after all we've been through, this is NOT something worth my energy.
I asked myself why it is bothering me so much.
So here's my answer, and as always, it's complex:
Sure, I am annoyed by the sheer and obvious laziness of Ben's teacher. But in a regular situation, would that really bother me that much?
Probably not. I'd probably joke with my husband about it.
In part, I think it's because I wrestled so much with how to include Lydie, in a tactful and respectful manner, but in a way that also represents that she IS Ben's sister and she IS a part of our family. I finally settled on a way that I felt good about. That I felt like acknowledged Lydie without being too in-your-face.
And then his teacher shit all over that.
In part, I think it's because his teachers never acknowledge our pain or our grief. They never ask how we're doing. And in those early days, when I'd drop Ben off in my sweatpants and go back home to cry, they'd shout, "Have a WONDERFUL day!" as I was walking out the door. I thought this would be a way to remind them, hey, we're still not okay. Remember the dead baby?
In part, I think it's because all these mothers carrying their infant carriers in one hand and holding their toddler's hand with the other tear me up inside, and they don't even know it. And don't get me started about my avoidance of the pregnant moms. They probably think I'm a bitch for looking at the ground or the wall as they walk by instead of making eye contact. And I want them to know about Lydie too.
So I've done a bit more chewing (and crying) over this. And this morning, when I dropped off Ben, I asked to speak with his teacher. I didn't mention the shitty quality of the collage. I merely started with saying that I recognize that I am being overly sensitive, but it's because Ben's sister died just three months ago and it is still very raw. But that I would really like the photo with her hand and footprints included because it is very important to us. And that I would really like her to change some wording on the note about his sister, again, because it's very important to us. And I handed her my own post-it with what I would like it to say.
The lazy teacher just said, "okay....." but another teacher jumped in, apologized profusely, and said they'd get that fixed right away.
Let's just see how things look at pick-up today.