Imaginif prompts for daily writers.
If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the below photo (changes daily) as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and your link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Stories below are copyright and are Megan Bayliss' writing around the below daily picture prompt.

Mum, there's a shark in our classroom

One too many phone calls from school to come and get my child sent me running over the edge. Not jumping, not slipping. Running and leaping, you understand. Like a mad woman. I was at my wits end. I wanted to die: to end the pain. May as well just throw myself to the sharks now.

I knew there was something wrong with him but just couldn’t work out what it was. Was it Aspergers, perhaps? Should I go for an assessment? My professional knowledge as a child therapist informed me that the worst was still to come and that I would be in BIG trouble if I hauled off and flogged this kid.

His school refusal did my head in. I would shake, cry, plead, bribe. He would stand his ground and there was no moving him. He hated school and he hated me. He locked me out of the house, hit me with a didgeridoo, lit fires and stabbed my beautiful couch with a knife. He would scream: for hours.All of that just to get out of going to school.

God, I felt like flogging him. He took every ounce of my good energy, every thought in my head and every smile I had saved up for the rest of my life. Our lives were miserable, totally miserable, and there was no one who could help us. Who the hell would want to spend a moment in our home? It was like a god damn war zone.

Our romantic times together mutated to us huddling in a corner of the kitchen, whispering to each other, shaking with raw emotion (definitely not lust!) and processing year after year of abusive incidents: from him to us. What the hell had I done wrong as a mother? It must have been me, had to be me. Maybe I was placing too much emphasis on education. Maybe the divorce had unhinged him. It was my entire fault. Pathetic I was. A failure. A FAILURE!

School said it wasn’t safe for him or the other children. Could I come and get him. Sure, I thought sarcastically. I didn’t need a career. The parents of my child clients don’t need the support. Me, damn it, ME! I needed the support. My kid was ruining my life.

He was diagnosed with Aspergers (thank God, thank God. It wasn’t my parenting after all). School supported home schooling. Bastards. They hated me too. Were they trying to completely finish me professionally?

Reality is such a bitter pill to swallow when denial is such a wonderful river to swim up. I liked work. No, correction, I LOVED work. Why do I have to be punished because my child has Aspergers? Where was the justice in this world! Home schooling is something for fundamental Christians. Why the hell would I do it? Hardly anybody in Australia did it. Home schooling was such an American thing to do.

I did it because I had to educate my child. We home schooled for a year and it was the best thing we ever did. I wrote a brilliant curriculum based on principles of unschooling and we capitalised on teachable moments. The lesson plans were based on field learning in our fantastic playground of tropical Far North Queensland.

Child only had to mention once about a particular interest and we were there, dissecting, experimenting, talking and experiencing: lapidary, Aboriginal rock painting, strategy games, hydro electricity, you name it, we facilitated it. Home schooling and listening to my child’s natural ability to learn was by far the best thing I ever did. It was in working through his latest interests and obsessions that our relationship mended, he became socialised and he developed emotional intelligence. The heat was gone from his life and the fear was gone from mine.

The fear was gone, except for my fear of sharks. I discovered he had a natural aptitude toward marine life and that he really wanted to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Typically, he didn’t want to just visit, he wanted to snorkel and dive.

I couldn’t go with him. I was scared of sharks. Husband wouldn’t because he just wasn’t into water sport beyond swimming. Shit. I was his mother so I HAD to go. The last time I snorkeled I came face to face with a reef shark. Under the water it looked eight feet long so I became Jesus and walked across that water to get back to the safety of the boat. I hope my excrement didn’t damage the reef!

My fears were unfounded, both about sharks and home schooling. We had such a great time snorkeling on the reefs around Green Island that we made it an excursion, once a term. We’d spend the day in our natural classroom and he’d educate tourists and tour guide alike. He socialised, he had fun, he relaxed. I never got eaten by sharks.

Face your fears and eat my shorts. Home schooling Aspergers on the Great Barrier Reef was the best thing I ever did for my child with Aspergers.

Note: Genre is Life Writing. Picture is of Boy and myself.

If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the above photo as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and the link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Story above is copyright and is Megan Bayliss' writing around the above picture prompt.

2 Response to "Mum, there's a shark in our classroom"

Julie G said...

Wow, Megan.

Your life writing seems to flow more than your flash fiction. Are you more relaxed when you write life writing?

I didn't know what Aspergers was, I do now, thank you for sharing.

You are inspiring and I am inspired.

The piece I wrote for today's propmt bought me to tears. Very emotional. As I see the mother's love.

Julie G said...

I have just re read this piece. There was something about it I couldn't shake when I first read it.

It's your voice, the voice of a mother!! Bravo. Standing ovation.
As I read it I heard my own voice and then I was surprized when I re read my own piece around the prompt. How powerful someone's voice really is. Bravo...Megan...Bravo

Let me know what you think..I'm curious..

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