I first blogged about this quilt in... 2008. It is 62 1/2 X 71 and still not finished (but that is due to my hectic schedule and constant moving back and forth)! Go take a look at this post to see my adorable, smiling, little boy sitting smack dab in the center. http://scrappyhappystarfishy.blogspot.ca/2008/09/floral-quilt-blocks.html .
This quilt was made right around the time my son started kindergarten. I even wrote a post about him starting kindergarten and how he had been punched 2X that week by an older kid and that another girl had been pushed off the top of the slide. Bullying was an issue, but I thought it was just getting adjusted to kindergarten and that things would smooth out. By first grade, things had not smoothed out - not at all! He refused to use the bathrooms at school, which meant I had to go get him every day after school because he would never make it all the way home on the school bus. He cried every day. Every day. And he broke a good many teeth grinding them at night when he was sleeping. After 1 month of first grade, I knew things had to change, so I made the decision for him to go to school in Austria (he is 1/2 Austrian by birth). My DH went ahead of us to get ready and a few weeks later we went over. That was the same week my DH was diagnosed with cancer, which turned out to be a 3.3 kg tumor, which was successfully removed (thankfully!). So, my son had to deal with a sick father, a new language he never spoke or heard before, a new school and he was traumatized from his previous school experience. It wasn't easy for me either, believe me!
By Christmas time he understood German and was laughing and joking at school. The teacher told me that she could not believe that he was the same withdrawn, fearful child who had entered her classroom a mere 2 1/2 months earlier. Unfortunately, immigration issues keep me from being in Austria full time. It isn't easy. Sometimes I question my choices. Did I blow the bullying out of proportion? Rocks being thrown, pushing, taking new sneakers off and throwing them in mud puddles, food trays being tipped over, being tripped in the hall ways? I don't think so. I always figured - if this is first grade, it will only get worse.
Today, I ran into a friend with a 5th grade boy and a 1st grade girl. She told me that the bullying issues are out of control at the school. Her son is not a victim, but his friends are and he is just torn up about it (because we all know that bullying also affects the witnesses). Anyway, she proceeded to tell me that LAST year the 5th grade boys were trapping the 3rd and 4th grade boys in the restrooms and forcing them to fight with each other (or get beat up by the "gang"), while it was video tapped on their cell phones. I instantly felt like someone had punched me, this is just sickening. I do not know what the solution is for the bullying issues in this community, but I am thankful, that as painful as it is to be apart, my son is not being bullied here. He is in a school that he really enjoys, has friends, laughs and jokes... I know he is better off where he is, but it still is not easy for me. I am empty-nesting and my son is only 9. Sigh. This summer, in many photos you can see that he hugs me extra big, holding on extra tightly. It is hard on him too, but I know that for now, this is the very best I can do for him.
I am hoping to go over for Christmas, but plane tickets are sitting steady - at expensive! I have a favor to ask everyone who might be buying things on Amazon.com this coming holiday season - please click on my Amazon links - from there you can go to any product offered by Amazon. If you buy something from Amazon using my links, I will get a small commission that I will use toward my plane ticket. It will not cost you any extra money and will help me. The Amazon link today is on the top right of my blog where I am featuring some of my favorite canning items - I am still trying to figure this all out, but at least I got it somewhere! Any little bit is extra appreciated. Thank you so much!
And please remember all the victim's of bullying.