You know, just the logistics.
On the way there, I looked to the backseat and Reag was leaning her head against Lily's carseat. I asked if she felt ok and she quietly said, "yeah."
"What's wrong, Reag?"
"I'm just worried my mom's going to be mad if she goes and reads what I wrote about my feelings."
That statement prompted George to jump right in and share with her that no matter what her feelings are they matter and it's her job to write about them, talk about them and not be afraid to feel them and communicate them. He told her that he didn't want her to grow up and be an adult who couldn't communicate her feelings to people because she'd never learned how to do it as a child and she's doing exactly what she needs to be doing and not worry about BM.
He's exactly right.
BM had apparently told Reag that she was coming to Open House, but Reag said she knew she wouldn't show up because she never comes to anything. Tough lesson to already know for that little girl.
As we were in Andrew's classroom, Reag's best friend, Sophie, came in. Sophie's older sister is in Andrew's class. She was super excited to introduce us to her best friend!
As we walked through the hallways with all the other families, I was so happy to see Reagan's demeanor change from the solemn worry in the car to just happy and the "normal" kid she so desires to be.
"Hi Dylan!" "Dad, I want you to meet our gym teacher! We're doing a dance unit and we're doing a Mexican dance! Watch! *begins dancing*) "Oh Look! There's Chiara!" "Dad, this is the table I eat lunch at!"
She was just so proud and excited. It was really heartwarming.
As we were checking out her work on the walls outside her classroom, she pointed out her biography.
I snapped a picture of her and then as she moved over to show Andrew and George something else, I read her biography. My heart jumped into my throat as I read, "One day when my dad left for work and my mom got all of our stuff and me in the car and never came back."
No wonder she was worried.
Her entire biography reads as a 7 year olds version of a court docket. Heartbreaking.
I walked across the hall where the rest of my family was and we walked into Reagan's classroom.
As we walked in the door, it was crowded.
Reag bounced right on in and headed towards her desk a few feet from the door and stopped abruptly.
Her grandparents (BM's parents) were there and Reagan had no idea they would be there.
She looked at her desk, looked at me, back to her desk and I gently nudged her forward and softly said, "It's ok." We knew that BM wouldn't show up, but George and I were just as shocked to see them as Reagan.
We moved to say hello to her teacher and I kept my eye on Reagan. She was clearly uncomfortable and just standing by her desk. We moved back towards Reagan where she had her back to her grandparents, facing me and I asked her if she was ok. She fake smiled and nodded yes. No words.
I said, "Are you sure?" She said and did nothing.
I said, "You have that weird feeling in your stomach again, don't you?" She said, "yes." I said, "Take a deep breath. It's ok."
They left a few minutes afterwards.
I realized the reason she kept eyeing her desk when she first noticed they were there was because her "Book of Feelings" says specifically that she's angry when her mom says no to girl scouts and she had written a note to us saying how happy she was we had come to her Open House and it was all opened up out of the folder on her desk where her grandparents had read it.
She asked BM on the phone that night why she didn't come. BM's reply according to Reagan, "I didn't know if you were going to be there." Whatever, BM. Reag also asked if she knew the grandparents were going to be there and BM said she did, but asked, "Did [Grandma] behave herself?"
When Reagan was talking with us about this later, she told us about her conversation with BM and George said to me, "What kind of question is that to ask your 8 year old daughter?"
I will never understand that crazycakes line of thinking thank God so I couldn't even begin to answer his question.
Reagan sat and talked with us a lot that night about Brownies/Girl Scouts, her friends, what she tells her friends about her life, missing the birthday party Saturday, worried she'll miss the next one and a lot about her time with BM on the weekends. For the first time (to me) outloud she said, "I don't want to go to my mom's this weekend." And my heart broke a little bit more.
For the record, I don't have any ill will towards her grandparents. Despite them telling Reagan in the past they're gonna get her out of our house (for good) and Gma swearing on a bible in court that I abused Reagan, I am able to do the right thing for Reagan because I love her. I'd appreciate if they didn't try to speak to me when they were around because of the above mentioned and a million more statments to Reag, they also perpetuate the crap with BM and quite honestly, they raised that monster, but I know they do love Reagan.
My only thought about them at Open House is I wish they hadn't blindsided her with their attendance. She is a kid who doesn't need that and if she'd been able to prepare herself better, she would have been more comfortable with them when she saw them instead of just wanting to leave the room. Live and learn, I guess.