Friday was a very big day in our house. Brendan had a field trip that he’d been looking forward to for a few weeks, and we had a hockey game that night. So I knew going into the day that the kids were going to be all sorts of wound up.
On nights that we go to hockey I try my hardest to ensure Kaylee gets a nap since we are generally out until 10 or 11 that night. Generally I make her sleep in my bedroom with me because she will almost always actually go to sleep then. I say almost always because there are rare occasions where no matter how long I lay there with her she just won’t go to sleep. Friday was one of those days. I knew the lack of a nap would make her a bit of a bear by the end of the evening, but in the meantime there was nothing I could do about it.
When it was time we loaded up into the car and headed for school to pick up the boys. I had asked the boys to please do their best to hurry to the car after school because we were leaving for the game right away. Unfortunately, they did not do what I asked and were one of the last ones to leave the school and walk to the car.
As soon as they were settled in the car I could tell Brendan was all wound up. It wasn’t like when he had a substitute or when he got picked on. This was different, and I attributed it to him being out of routine for the field trip. I could tell we were teetering on the edge of a meltdown and was trying to steer him clear of all the potholes that would send him over the edge.
First it was Cameron. Evidently the reason they were late getting to the car was because Cameron was messing around on the way. Cameron instantly became defensive and said he messed around because Brendan wouldn’t hold his hand between school and the car. I agreed to have Brendan try holding his hand on Monday as long as Cameron promised not to mess around. One problem solved.
Brendan’s next issue was that he didn’t want to go to hockey that night. I couldn’t solve that problem as easily because Matt had to work and there wasn’t time to take him to a babysitter before we needed to leave for the game so he was stuck going along. But I had brought video games for the boys to play and I let Brendan have first choice on the device he wanted to play with. That seemed to shake him out of that funk. Second problem solved.
We picked up my parents and headed over to Pizza Hut for dinner. Cameron had earned a free personal pan pizza for completing his reading sheet at school and I thought this would be a great opportunity to redeem it. Sadly I had forgotten how horrible the service at our local Pizza Hut is. I haven’t been there since I was dating Matt (and we’ve been married for almost 14 years so it’s been probably 15 or more) and the service was so bad that night that we swore we’d never go back. Sadly in the 15+ years since then things have gotten no better.
We were there for almost 90 minutes and in that time Kaylee had to wait almost an hour for her individual pizza because it “fell” out of the oven. We ordered dessert breadsticks that never came and I finally asked for them to be removed from our bill because we were running late and needed to leave. Our waitress pretty much never came around to our table to see if we needed anything. I actually had to seek someone out to get our bill otherwise we would probably still be sitting there now waiting for it. It was just ridiculous.
In the meantime we had three hungry, and rambunctious kids at the table. Brendan was still out of sorts and fixating on the strangest things. I’m having trouble remembering what all he was fixated on, but I know more than once my dad and I both had words with him on letting stuff go.
We also had our standard 18 trips to the bathroom. Brendan had gone at my parents house so I didn’t figure he’d need to go again, but he did 3 times. Cameron went twice and Kaylee did too. I was trying to figure out why Brendan was going so often and it turned out that his stomach was bothering him. Nothing to worry about really, everyone has days like that.
When we FINALLY left the restaurant and headed for the game I was feeling pretty frustrated, and was looking forward to the hockey game, hoping my night would get a bit better. It did for a while. The kids were sitting quietly with their video games, and I was able to leave them with my mom while I got them drinks. However, when I returned with the drinks my night got just a bit more sour.
I sat down next to Brendan to put the drinks into the cup holders for the boys and got a big whiff of stink. I finished what I was doing hoping against hope that what I was smelling was a fart and that it would dissipate quickly. It didn’t. In fact the longer I sat there the more the smell permeated my senses. I knew what had happened, but was still hoping somehow I was wrong. I turned to Brendan and asked the question anyway, and had my worst fears confirmed.
Brendan had, unfortunately, pooped his pants, something he had not done in a few years. I sighed deeply and tried to figure out what to do next. We weren’t exactly in a position to leave at that time, and I had no other clothes for him in my bag since he’s almost 10 and hasn’t had an accident like this in at least 3 years.
I finally decided to wait until the start of the next period when most people would be down in their seats then took him to the ladies room to clean him up. Thankfully I still carry around wet wipes for Kaylee and I used half a package of them to clean him up. I really think the mess I dealt with that night may just have rivaled the one Kaylee had in her bed a few weeks ago.
With no other options I put him back into the semi-clean underwear and we went back to watch the last half of the period. The only thing that made me feel better about the situation was that the cleaning made it so there wasn’t a stink cloud surrounding him any longer. You actually had to get close and spend a bit of time next to him before the problem became apparent.
After the game we headed back to mom and dad’s to drop them off. Enroute both Kaylee and Cameron announced they had to go to the bathroom (big surprise), so we headed into the house to let them go. While we were waiting, Brendan burst into tears. He had broken his wrist band earlier in the evening and had been a bit out of sorts about that.
Now, after the game, it seemed to finally hit him that he had lost his wrist band. He bawled and bawled while I stood there hugging him and feeling helpless. Thankfully my mom was a bit more quick thinking than I. She dug through her basket and un-earthed two more wrist bands of the same type Brendan likes to wear. She slipped them onto his wrist and told him he could borrow them until he got his new one from school.
That seemed to cheer him up a bit, but then just as we were about to walk out the door he burst into tears again and sobbed uncontrollably about nothing in particular. Figuring he was over tired we loaded him into the car still hiccupping and letting out the occasional sob and headed for home.
Once home I put the two little ones to bed and told Brendan to go and wait for me in my bedroom. I knew Matt was due home from work any time and hoped that getting to wait up for daddy would help calm Brendan down. While we waited I decided to have a talk with Brendan. I asked him if something had happened at school (thinking back to him getting picked on again) because I felt he was more upset than he should have been about just losing his bracelet.
At first he denied anything was wrong, then finally admitted he’d had a rough day. He started talking and it sounded like your typical day. Then he mentioned he’d gone through “a whole lot of emotions” while on his field trip. So I probed deeper into that part of his day and he burst into tears again telling me that his best friend was moving away.
And it all clicked. Everything that had happened from the time I picked them up to that point were all Brendan’s way of dealing with this piece of bad news. My poor buddy, he doesn’t have a whole lot of boys that he considers to be good friends but there were always two. The three boys had been in first, second, and third grade together. Then at the end of last school year his one friend moved out of our neighborhood and is attending a different elementary school this year.
Brendan had some trouble dealing with the change and actually got mad at the little boy at first for moving away. After helping him understand that it wasn’t his friends fault, and that he lived close enough we could still have him over to play, and that starting in sixth grade the boys would be in the same school again he was finally able to come to terms with it.
Now, his other best friend tells him he’s moving away as well. And this isn’t just a move across town or to another school this is a few hours away. Far enough where we definitely won’t be able to arrange for a play date any time soon. My heart broke as Brendan poured out his feelings about how much he was going to miss his buddy. At last I understood what it was that was breaking his heart.
But he wasn’t done tugging at my heart strings. He said forlornly that he just kept losing things. He had five things that were really important to him, he named the two boys who were moving, another boy that was part of their little group in first grade and is in his class again this year, his third grade teacher, and his bracelets. He said he’d lost all but the little boy in his class and he was tired of losing things. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because I knew he was sad about moving on in school and about his friends moving…but to put his wrist bands into the same category was a bit amusing.
I’ve been in Brendan’s shoes, on the other end. I was always the friend that did the moving away. But I’ve got two good friends that I still keep in touch with even though I haven’t seen either of them in over 20 years. I can only hope that Brendan will maintain the same type of friendship with his friend even after he moves 4 hours away.