Saturday, January 17, 2015

Long strange trip..

~"Sometimes the lights all shining on me,other times I can barely see..."~Jerry Garcia

"Yes, I will..errrr *cough, SHE will be starting at a new school next week.."  That was me thirty five years ago..speaking to the superintendents office...pretending to be my mother..because I had absolutely no intention of ever going back to school..legally I could not drop out until I was sixteen...and since that was only a few months away...I thought that I could stall things. put them off until it was too late for them to do anything..My current school..well..we had come to an understanding..a mutual agreement of sorts...a meeting of the minds if you will...we just couldn't see eye to eye..they thought it best that we part ways..We were breaking up.  "It's not you-it's me.." Right...I was kicked out..expelled-I would not pass go-would not collect two hundred dollars..The fat lady had sung-I was done.

  I wasn't a bad kid!  I didn't fight, or wreak any sort of havoc..I just didn't always make the best of choices-one of them being- actually showing up to school. For one reason or another-I can't really remember...I just stopped going. To this day-I do not know how I got away with it for so long. I'd get up, get dressed...walk to school...but somehow..I never quite made it in to the building. I intended to go in...I would get there, books in hand..bright eyed and ready to be educated...and then- someone would call out to me..and before I knew it..I'd be sitting in a friends basement..or on the way to the beach..or Burger King..*sigh* My intentions were....good-ish...Oh that damn road to hell....

 So, there I was, pretending to be my mother..."Yes, I will send you the information so that we can have her transcripts sent.."  I used my best "Mom" voice...and it worked. They bought it...or, they just didn't bother to look into it. Either way, I successfully became a high school drop out at fifteen.  Go me! not. Although in hind-site, it was probably one of the best of the worst decisions that I have ever made..or the worst of the best?..Either way, it did help me to figure some things out..even though that figuring out took about ten years, Sometimes *sigh* I'm a slow learner..

  One thing that I have always thought was that if I had kids-it would be different for them. They don't know too much about my early years because....honestly? I never want to hear "Well-YOU did it!"  I honestly dread that. Besides, they have to make their own mistakes-not live vicariously through mine.  They are doing a good job of it.  

  Thirty five years ago, I would never have imagined myself sitting in a principals office-as a parent! Yet, there I was this past Monday...along with Omar, the principal, the assistant principal and one very very remorseful child. Talk about surreal! I hardly knew what to do with myself.I admit, I was a bit tense-I thought that I was going to have to fight-but not in the way you may think. 

  All of my kids have I.E.P.'s. If we believe that they require a support or a service, I will not give up until they get it. I am a dog with a bone. No apologies. But I also believe that although my children (via I.E.P'sand otherwise) have specific rights-they also have responsibilities. Yes, my kids all have disabilities-and sometimes those disabilities affect their behavior.  But in this case-my child made a mistake-a mistake they were capable of not making-and they needed to deal with the consequences. I was afraid that the opposite would happen.  It didn't.

 I am probably one of a group of very few parents who rejoice in their child being suspended for two days. I rejoice because he was treated as a capable human being, because they were given the opportunity to discuss what happened-in their way and in their time, that they were listened to and not rushed, spoken to and not at, understood and not vilified, given support in the moment and in the future. My child walked out of that office feeling better than when they walked in. That is a gift. Not one that I particularly wish to ever be bestowed on them again-but a gift nonetheless...

I did eventually graduate from high school. (I had to make up a full year and then some-yuck) I even managed to go on to college and get my degree. My mother never found out that I impersonated her.  That's probably for the best. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015


~"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance."~
 Franklin P. Jones


     So, our holiday break came to an end..We had a lovely Christmas and New Years day.  Right now, we are finishing up our first week back to regular life.. 

  Five years ago, I would have been cheering the start of school..counting the minutes (really-I did count them) until the kids got on the bus and left me and my coffee blessedly alone. I loved having them home-but sometimes too much of a good thing is...too much.   Now, although I am enjoying  once again having a few minutes to myself -it is with a different sort of feeling..more bittersweet and less hysterical joy. They are all older now-and life isn't so cut and dried. Instead of wrangling a herd of little ones..I am helping four very diverse and strong minded individuals learn to navigate their lives...which is a mature way of saying "Holy crap I have teenagers and a tweenager and a little one who believes she is an adult!" ...and they ALL need me all at once..and I'm trying to juggle everything which feels like trying to put socks on cats. I will be honest in saying that I have absolutely no idea of what I'm doing.
The logical portion of my brain tells me that they are all doing what they are supposed to..I get that.  But the highly caffeinated emotional and larger part of my brain shakes its fists (figuratively-my brain doesn't have fists) in the air lamenting "Why? Why?!" 

 My oldest is sixteen now..and he is trying to figure out his place in the world..It has been tough watching him stumble-letting him fail..but equally, it has been beautiful to watch as he gets right back on his feet. It's hard...he's not a kid...and he's not quite an adult.  He is definitely not my peer! He struggles with that last part-as do I-but for different reasons...He has a great sense of humor-however...some of that humor should never be shared with your parents! "Hey Mama...have you heard the one about the MASTER fisherman and his BAIT?" "NO! and I don't want to!".."But's funny!  you see there was..." EEK!(plugging my ears) LA LA LA LA LA! Make it stop!  

  Then we have my thirteen year old..who cares only about what HE cares about and everything else is stupid...*sigh* It is like he is on auto-pilot or something..."Hey!  Do you want to watch this movie with me?" "No, it's stupid." "Please clean your room." "That's stupid." "Please eat your carrots..""They're stupid.".."Is dessert stupid".."Yes..NO!".."That's what I thought."   Sometimes, I wonder if the disdain he seems to hold for...many things has to do with his awareness of how some people see him. He stims-he has trouble with verbal communication..often times he is dismissed. No, I don't believe that it is malicious..or even consciously intentional..but, It is as if his disability somehow lessens other peoples expectations of him-of his ability-of his person-hood.. excluding him. Yes, he is very different-yes, he doesn't "do" things the way most people do..but...*sigh*. If only I could change the world..presuming competence would be the norm.

My girls have been a whole other sort of angst fest...My oldest at eleven is trying to figure out all sorts of girl stuff..It isn't easy.  a lot of her classmates are a year or more older than her-and at this age, a year is huge. I simply do not know how to help her. I'm just not good at this sort of thing. It isn't by accident that I live in an area where fleece is considered business wear..I mean some of my closest friends are chickens!  What do I know about girl things? .Although I suppose we could ask my youngest..When she isn't imitating her sister..she's telling her what to do..and how to do it. (this does go both ways between my girls) When my girls get along (which is most of the time) it is wonderful...but when they don't? It's misery...for everyone.  The yelling and slamming of doors-the gnashing of teeth!  Sometimes it is just...excessive..overwhelming..headache inducing?  Separate, they are so lovely and kind..Together? They are a force to be reckoned with-both good and bad..It is tiring. I can not tell you just how much I am looking forward to their adulthood..that is, of course- if I survive their adolescence. 

 I was on Facebook this morning where one of my friends had posted the status "You reap what you sow"..I find this sentiment rolling around in my head as I write this post. My kids are my everything and then some. They are the reason I get up in the morning..and sometimes...alright, a lot of the time- the reason that I can't sleep at night. It's just plain hard watching them grow up. But, I look at how far they have come-and how much they have grown and I think "so far- sown good".I know-bad pun. I bet you that my chicken friends would like it..