Thursday, November 10, 2016
Teacher-Parent Conference (Photostory)
The day has arrived for Nicole's teacher/parent/counselor conference. Rod arrived a little early, with the hopes of getting to see Nicole.
He's sitting just outside the guidance counselor's office reading Newsweek and waiting for Adele, the teacher to come back.
A few minutes later she appears with Nicole by her side.
Nicole runs over as Rod puts the magazine back on the table.
"Hey, baby girl." (Rod)
"Hi, Daddy. I've missed you." (Nicole)
"I've missed you, more." (Rod)
Adele takes note of the warm embrace. She also notes that it seems like it's been awhile since the two have seen each other. Her interest is piqued. She decides to leave for a bit to give them more time together.
"So how are you doing?" (Rod)
"I'm okay. I heard Danielle had the baby. So do I have a little brother or a little sister?" (Nicole
"You have a little sister. Her name is Zoé." (Rod)
"Wow, what's she like?" (Nicole)
Looks like Melanie went to the classroom and not the guidance counselor's office.
"Shit. I'm in the wrong place." (Melanie)
She checks her calendar to verify where the meeting is taking place.
Dasia is in her office stretching a bit before the meeting.
Rod is filling Nicole in on Julian and Jacob. She is full of questions.
"Mr. Taylor, you can come inside when you are ready. Nicole, if you want, you can go hang out at the library." (Adele)
"Daddy, can I just stay here and wait?" (Nicole)
"Sure, honey." (Rod)
Rod then heads inside.
"Dasia, this is Mr. Taylor, Nicole's dad. Mr.Taylor this is our new, highly qualified guidance counselor." (Adele)
"Hello. please call me Rod." (Rod)
"Hello. Nice to meet you. Please have a seat." (Dasia)
"Can I get you anything to drink?" (Dasia)
"No thank you." (Rod)
"Hopefully Nicole's mom will be arriving soon." (Dasia)
"Speak of the devil." (Adele)
"Sorry I'm late. I went to the classroom then realized I was in the wrong place." (Melanie)
"No problem. I'm Dasia, the new guidance counselor. Please take a seat." (Dasia)
"Can I offer you something to drink?" (Adele)
"No thanks." (Melanie)
Melanie takes the seat next to Rod. It's been a couple of months since they've seen each other, but she heard through the grapevine that Danielle had the baby.
"Well if it isn't the new daddy." (Melanie)
"I'm going to grab a chair." (Adele)
"So let's get started. First a little about myself. I'm a licensed child therapist. My focus was on children with depression, ADD, and the abused." (Dasia)
"I decided to bring that experience to the school system where I feel I can help children who wouldn't ordinarily get the services I offer. So we are here today because we are concerned about your daughter. I will let Adele explain what she is experiencing in the classroom." (Dasia)
"Nicole's behavior has gradually been changing the last few months." (Adele)
"Is she being disruptive?" (Melanie)
"No, nothing like that. She is withdrawn, aloof, and she's not interacting with her classmates like she used to. I got really concerned because she was so lively and interactive not that long ago. Her level of work is steadily dropping, too. " (Adele)
"That is when she brought it to my attention. Nicole is exhibiting the same behavior I've seen with abused kids or kids on drugs." (Dasia)
"So you think Nicole is being abused or that she is on drugs?" (Rod)
"Not necessarily but there's definitely something wrong and we need to get to the bottom of it. I thought by bringing you two in, we could resolve it quicker." (Dasia)
"To be honest with you I haven't been allowed to see Nicole the past couple of months, so I'm not sure what is going on with her." (Rod)
Melanie chimes in before he says anything else.
"Yes, but that was me protecting her from your crazy wife." (Melanie)
"No, that was you being heartless as usual." (Rod)
"Okay, we are getting off track. Our focus today is Nicole. So Melanie, since you have been with her the past couple of months, can you shed any light on what may be going on with her? Is she spending time with adults or older kids that may be taking advantage of her?" (Dasia)
"No, she is with me most of the time. There is a chance she is depressed because her dad just had a new baby." (Melanie)
"Really? That could definitely be a factor. Rod, do you think Nicole could be feeling resentment about the new baby?" (Dasia)
"I really don't so. Nicole was excited about having a new brother or sister. As a matter of fact, she just asked me all about the baby and she was happy to hear about her new little sister." (Rod)
"I can attest to the fact that Nicole was very excited to see her dad. Definitely no animosity there." (Adele)
"She may just be feeling left out because she hasn't seen her step-brothers or met her new sister." (Rod)
"Melanie, is there any way you can allow Nicole to spend some time with her dad, so we can see if that will help her get back on track?"
"Not before I check with my lawyer." (Melanie)
"I don't know all the history of what's going on, but it has been my experience that lawyers rarely help family situations. Nicole is depending on the two of you to make decisions that are in her best interest." (Dasia)
"You are right. You don't know the history. I have to protect her." (Melanie)
"So are you protecting her from her dad or just his wife?" (Dasia)
"Just his wife." (Melanie)
"You are so ridiculous. You know that Danielle is one of the sweetest people and that she would never do anything to hurt Nicole. She loves Nicole." (Rod)
"Clearly you two have some unresolved issues that are negatively affecting your daughter. It always pains me to see a child's well being put in jeopardy because the parents can't get along." (Dasia)
"If you two really love and care about your daughter, the way I think you do, you need to put her needs about the pettiness. Melanie, I'm counting on you to proactively do what you need to do to reunite Nicole with her dad. If that means calling your lawyer, fine, but we need you to make that happen. If after that she is still withdrawn and aloof, we will take the next step." (Dasia)
Dasia sets up a timeframe for Melanie and Rod, then sends them on their way.
Just outside the office, Melanie turns to Rod. She is pretty pissed off.
"I guess you enjoyed that." (Melanie)
"Come off of it, Mel. I get no delight in seeing you miserable. We, of course, can't say the same thing about you." (Rod)
"Alright, Nicole. Time to go." (Melanie)
"Can I go with Dad?" (Nicole)
"Not today. (pause) Maybe you can see him this weekend." (Melanie, remembering what Dasia said)
"Come give me my hug." (Rod)
"Bye Daddy." (Nicole, sadly)
"Bye, honey. Remember that I love you." (Rod)
Melanie busies herself with her phone so she doesn't have to witness Rod and Nicole together.
Her patience runs thin.
"Alright, alright. It's time to go." (Melanie)
"I'll see you soon." (Rod)
"Tell Julian, Jacob, and Zoé I said hello." (Nicole)
"Will do. Love you." (Rod)
And with that Nicole follows her mother out. Rod takes a minute to gather himself before leaving.