It was horrible. I did not really expect this. I suppose I ought to have anticipated this and didn’t.

I can’t settle down. One thing upsets me after another. I could not sleep much at all. I could not settle in the morning. I can’t settle now. It is the most unsettled I have been in a long time.

Football Ma’am or whatever I have called her in the past wanted to meet C, because she was leaving for the Capital City for some kind of training. I don’t really know what she does these days. She is no longer coaching at the school, because the parents complained about her being a negative influence on their children and not setting appropriate boundaries (essentially). So she came online and asked to come with me.

It was like taking a five-year old.

First, I told her to come on time because otherwise C gets really upset, but we got there 30 minutes late. By then, I know quite well C is in a total state of terror. I sent text after text to her—we are coming, but I know she was still terrified. She didn’t respond to any of them, and finally called Football Ma’am.

Then we got there and C wanted to keep her phone and I said no and she was intensely angry at me—probably because this was two triggers in a row. Actually three. There was a boundary (which represents loss, even if it is only of an object, but it’s also a loss of power over contact with the outside world). I was late. There was a departure.

She said she would break her phone. Well, it’s her phone. If she wants to break it, that’s up to her. It might be that she wanted to be stopped from doing that, and I just didn’t recognize that need. I have no idea. I let her throw it on the ground.

She said at midterm she would go and see her parents over midterm. She might have said she wasn’t coming back. I am not sure. She said this is really hard for me to be here. I said I know. She wanted to keep the phone to call Football Ma’am later in the evening, but later in the evening would be time to study. She said Football Ma’am always loves and cares for her, and Football Ma’am will think she is selfish if she doesn’t call her. There was something private Football Ma’am wanted to tell her. I said I would explain I had taken the phone. Then she said she wanted to call her mom. They were moving houses and her mom had said call in the evening. Maybe I ought to have let her keep the phone, but it felt to me I shouldn’t. Last week, she asked for maybe 300 in recharges. That is a lot of time on the phone, and it is not mainly to her mom. She talks to her mom for maybe 3 minutes, and she can always use my phone to call her when I come. Anyway, it felt like the line shouldn’t shift every week. I allowed it one week, but I can’t allow it most weeks. Then it begins to feel like a rule that isn’t a rule and she isn’t going to know what to expect. She will not be able to trust the rule or me. That’s how it felt at that moment. I don’t know if I was right or wrong. I have the feeling she needs boundaries right now and they will make her feel safer. Like I said, no idea if I am right or wrong. Just that feeling. She is pushing. Someone needs to be there to push against.

She said how did I get adopted, or something like that. What benefit is there? And that hurt me. It really, really hurt me. She gets angry at me and she mutters things, but she has never hurt me before. I think some part of me thought she gets angry and lashes out, but she is never really going to draw blood. This time she did.

Anyway, she was angry and smashed her phone and said some things and I didn’t say much. I said we had an agreement and I asked, “Do you always get it on Saturdays?” Which she does. She didn’t answer that, but she knows she gets it. She knows I make sure she will get it. Eventually, she handed me the phone. She kind of threw it at me. She threw it on the ground, let it smash, picked it up and handed it to me.

What hurts I suppose is this idea that what I am doing is pointless. There are times when I feel very confident that being there with her through the process will help. Even though I don’t know what I am doing, and I am this kind of in-between parent with no real rights and not much experience, it’s making a difference. And there are other times when I think this is a fucking waste of time. So it hurt that she said it’s a waste of my time. “You aren’t helping me.” Essentially, that’s what she was saying. “This isn’t helping.”

I ought to be able to understand. The forging of that connection hurts so much, and when you are in the midst of that hurt it feels that the pain will never stop and never go away and there is no point in engaging with it. But I have my own issues, and feeling that my life doesn’t matter and whatever I pursue in my life is bound to be doomed is huge. I think I have this way of choosing things that are really hard to do, and there is usually this point in most of what I attempt where it really seems that what I am doing is just never going to work. It is too impossibly difficult. It’s hard to keep going beyond that point, and yet most things that are worth doing are difficult.

I have to deal with own stuff. In that moment, I couldn’t. It got shifted aside.

She handed me the phone and I had this thought, just before she gave it to me, when she picked it up and I knew she was going to surrender it: “She trusts me.” She is angry about it, but she trusts me.

She sat down on her friend’s bed after that and turned her back on me. I said, “Go and talk to Football Ma’am. I come every week, but she comes only sometimes. Please go and talk to her.”

“No.” I am not sure what was on her face, but I think I had Angry Child on my hands. “I am dysregulated. I don’t want pizza, I don’t want ice cream, I don’t want to go to bed, I don’t want jammies. I don’t want my cuddle toy. I don’t want a story. I don’t want anything. I want to have a tantrum, because I cannot cope.”

I sat there. I might have said it a few times, “Please go and talk to her.” I might have said nothing. I can’t really remember. Then suddenly she got up and went. It was a very abrupt switch. Everything had been battened down. No vulnerability was showing anymore. The odd thing was that all of this went on and Football Ma’am didn’t notice. Her back was to us, but it was still very strange. She had no idea even after I asked another student to hand me my purse that was on C’s bed, and I put C’s phone that Football Ma’am had now noticed was completely cracked over the face into my purse and zipped it. She did not take any of this in and after we left called C, which made my purse vibrate. She only then realized I had the phone.

I stood behind C for a while as she talked to Football Ma’am, and I stroked her hair. I have no idea if this helped or not, or what she felt. They talked for a while. I didn’t follow any of the conversation.

Anyway, we were there for I guess another hour, and the whole time Football Ma’am talked very loudly while the students were supposed to be studying. She went around visiting various kids and making lots of noise and distracting everyone, and distracting C, and I felt like I had brought along a five-year-old. It was terribly stressful. Finally C dismissed me and we left. But it was horrible. It became terribly clear to me how selfish Football Ma’am is, that she puts on an act of being very nurturing and caring, but what she really wants is attention, and she is using vulnerable and needy students who need care in order to get the attention she wants and she really has no consideration for anyone else.

The thing is my birthday is on Friday, and I didn’t know how this was going to feel to me, but the way it feels is I wish I weren’t alive. I want Nata, and I am so angry she left me. C said things that hurt me, and I did not leave her, but Nata is not here to even fight with, and I am just so sad and angry.

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