Update: My mom read this story and added some more detail which I had forgotten. I have put it into the narrative now.
It was a Wednesday afternoon in my sixth grade class, about twenty minutes before school got out. I went up to Ms. Strauss and said, “I really don’t feel good. Can I go to the nurse?” She replied, “School is out in twenty minutes. You will be fine. Now go back to your seat.” But everything was not fine.
I walked my friend-who-was-a-girl-but-not-my-girlfriend home, and then turned to walk down the road to my apartment. Feeling sleepy, I laid down on a grassy hill before crossing the street. In what seemed like a moment later, I got up and started to walk.
I was still in my postictal state, so I turned the wrong way to go home. I stumbled along for 90 minutes, crying and wondering why I wasn’t home. I started to pass a cemetery and realized I was walking toward my Grandma’s house. Crying from exhaustion and confusion, I finally made it home 4 hours after school.
As I walked into the door, I saw my mom’s face in a panic. “Oh Thank GOD you are okay! Where have you been? What took you so long to get home? I was about to call the police. I thought you were kidnapped, or killed, or who knows what else. What happened?” We both broke down crying with relief and fear.
“I don’t know. I was walking home and then I passed the cemetery by Grandma’s house. I don’t know what happened or why I got there. I am so confused Mom.”
“Oh honey, you must have had a seizure. I am so glad you are home now.”
I realized for the first time that day…I was not like everyone else.
Needless to say, my mom called the school the next day after I got home. I think she wanted me to hear her defending my safety. The principal was on the line with her. Practically yelling, she told him, “My son has EPILEPSY! You and your teachers cannot treat him like any other kid whining about his stomach. He knew he was not alright, and his seizure proved it. I expect better from you and your school. Starting NOW.”
Epileptic or not, I was so proud to be my mom’s son that day. She showed me how to love and defend and protect and care for a child. I still think back on this snippet from my life with gratitude, and challenge myself to rise up and be a parent like my mom.
Do you have any moments where you watched someone else and realized you wanted to parent just like them? I would love to hear your story.