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Turning Tides: Emerging from the Shadows

As told to Leah Gebber

Therapy, Yoni’s preschool teacher suggested over the phone. Today’s abracadabra. Did she suggest that to every other mother, I wondered, as I thanked her for her concern, or only to single parents? I sat down on my bed among the nest of fragrant laundry, and wondered how I would fit something else into my frayed schedule.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The year progressed, and I wasn’t thrilled with Yoni’s progress, but the teachers told me that he was functioning. I guess I felt like I was doing my best — and it’s almost impossible for a single mother to really be on top of everything. Every couple of weeks, I sent a note in to the art therapist, to see how Yoni was doing. Great! she’d write. We’re working on puppets with different emotions on their faces.

Sounded good. So I pushed off indefinitely the big powwow that I should really have had with her at the end of the year. Sometime in the middle of the next school year, Yoni’s teacher — a wonderful, dedicated, supportive young man — broke his leg. He was replaced by a burly looking guy who tried his best, but just couldn’t reach Yoni.

One day, the principal called me at work. Apparently, the teacher had tried too hard to coax Yoni into joining a painting session. Yoni had responded with violence. “What do you mean?” I asked too loudly. My coworkers looked up from their computer screens.

“He attacked the teacher with a pair of scissors.”

A pair of scissors. It brought everything back to me: the reason I had run, run, run.


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