The Second Conference
Overcoming Obstacles Chapter 6
The week after Jamie's birthday party Grace and Oliver were called in for another conference with Molly's teacher. The meeting took place at 5:30pm on a Tuesday. Grace and Oliver were not in the least bit happy to see the look of distress on Mrs. Richards's face.
"What seems to be the problem?" Oliver asked.
Mrs. Richards sighed.
"Since we last met Molly has not made very much progress with her reading and writing. She is not at the same level the rest of her peers are at despite all the help she has been getting from her friends, your family members and the tutor."
Grace's heart dropped in her chest. She was afraid this would happen sooner or later.
"Have the kids started teasing her again?" Grace whispered.
Mrs. Richards nodded. "I'm afraid so but luckily this time around she has friends in her corner to stick up for her. She seems very afraid to stand up for herself against the bullies."
Grace was surprised Molly had not come to her or Oliver to tell them that the teasing had started again.
"Do you still see problems with her social situation?" Oliver asked
Mrs. Richards smiled . "Most definitely not! Molly seems to have found a good support group amongst Jamie Erikson and her group of friends. They are an inseparable bunch."
Grace smiled though on the inside her heart was just about broken. "That's good to hear. It's comforting to know that our daughter is not lonely. She was so miserable earlier this year."
"Is homeschooling still something the two of you are considering for Molly?" Mrs. Richards asked.
Oliver and Grace exchanged a look.
"Do you think it's advisable?" Oliver asked.
Mrs. Richards nodded solemnly. I'm afraid so. It might be the best approach to have work with the tutor in a home setting and then you and Mrs. Warbucks can see the best ways you can help her to achieve success in the future."
Grace was crying. Oliver rubbed his hands up and down her back, kissing her cheek and spoke on both of their behalves.
"Is it advisable to homeschool her for the rest of the school year?"
Mrs. Richards nodded. "Yes, but just because you are homeschooling her doesn't mean she won't be able to see her friends."
Oliver nodded. "Of course. We're not concerned about that at all. Our older daughter is good friend with Jamie's sister so I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of Jamie and we can have her and her other friends over for play dates."
"We just want the best for our daughter." Grace was finally able to say through her tears.
Mrs. Richards took Grace's hand and squeezed it gently. "Of course you do Mrs. Warbucks. Molly is a very bright girl but I think her dyslexia really puts a damper on her self-esteem. The teasing doesn't seem to help too much either. Homeschooling her will be the best way for you to see where the trouble spots are on a daily basis so you can help her succeed."
Oliver and Grace stood up and Oliver shook Mrs. Richards's hands briskly.
"Thank you for meeting with us again Mrs. Richards. We will talk with Molly about our plans to home school her."
"You're quite welcome Mr. Warbucks."
Grace and Oliver left the class room and walked to the parking lot in silence. The first five minutes of the car ride home were silent too.
"Grace, sweetheart, are you alright?" Oliver whispered.
Tears were forming again at the edges of Grace's eyes.
"No." was all Grace could manage to respond.
Oliver took one hand off the steering wheel and took his wife's hand in his.
"We have to stay strong for Molly. We've made it this far."
"I know, I just hate that she has to suffer like this Oliver."
"I do too. Do you want to talk to Molly about this or should I?"
"I'm too much of a mess Oliver. I don't think I'll be able to talk to her without wanting to break down."
"Okay, I'll talk to her. I love you baby."
Grace leaned over and kissed her husband on the cheek. "I love you too, more than words."
Grace went to her room as soon as she and Oliver arrived home. Mrs. Pugh noticed right away that Grace was upset and after going to the kitchen to make her a pot of tea went up to her room and knocked on the door.
"Gracie Liz, are you alright?"
She was met with nothing but gut wrenching sobs from the other side of the door.
She let herself in the room softly, setting the pot of tea on the nightstand. Grace had changed into her pajamas and was wrapped under the covers.
"Do you want some tea?"
Grace shook her head. She felt like she was living in the ultimate nightmare.
Grace, feeling like she was five years old sat up, feeling Mrs. Pugh's embrace tighten around her.
"I feel so lost right now Mama, so incredibly helpless."
"I take it the conference with Molly's teacher did not go well."
Grace shook her head. "Oliver is in his office talking to Molly right now. I couldn't bear to face her. My heart is just broken in two."
"What's the latest?"
Grace sighed. "We're going to homeschool Molly. Mrs. Richards says it's for the best. Her reading and writing are not at the level they should be at. To make matters worse the same kids are teasing her again."
Mrs. Pugh rubbed Grace's back comfortingly. "Gracie Liz, this is what is best for Molly. We can all help her together to be successful and see what exactly she has been struggling with the most. We'll all get through this, don't you worry."
"The fact that the kids are teasing her again just breaks my heart Mama."
"I know darling. As I said before some children are just so cruel. The important difference now is that Molly has friends now. She didn't have that earlier in the year. Think about how much better things have been for her socially."
Grace smiled through her tears. "I am so happy Molly has friends. If Annie hadn't suggested that Jamie and Molly meet things would have been so much different. "
"Come here Gracie Liz. Don't you cry. Mama's here."
Grace curled herself into a ball on Mrs. Pugh's lap, wrapping her arms around the older woman's neck. Mrs. Pugh's embrace tightened around her surrogate daughter as she rocked her back and forth stroking her hair all the while.
"My beautiful girl, we all want the very best for Molly and she will overcome this but you have to be strong for her. Molly seems to have a good group of friends now who will help her stand up against the bullies."
"What makes her so shy to stand up against the bullies herself? I don't understand what stands in her way."
"I can honestly tell you that I don't know the answer to that. It may be best if you talk to Molly about it."
Grace's tears did not subside and as they continued to fall Mrs. Pugh retrieved a handkerchief from her apron pocket and dried them.
"Shhh, my sweetest angel. Everything will be alright." Mrs. Pugh stroked the stray hairs from Grace's forehead and kissed it softly.
"I love you." was the only sentence that Grace could muster.
"I love you too Grace, so very much."
Grace fell asleep in Mrs. Pugh's arms. Mrs., Pugh disentangled Grace from her embrace and tucked her in to bed like she used to do with her children when they were young.
"Good night Mama."
Mrs. Pugh kissed Grace's forehead once more. "Good night my precious Gracie Liz. Sweet dreams."
Disclaimer: You should all know by now that we don't own any characters from Annie. Grace's sisters and nieces and nephews are Mandalicous's original characters and Jamie and all her friends are my original character. They will appear in future chapters.