I hate making decisions.

We are nearing another pivotal point in both our lives and the lives of our children.  The school they currently attend ends at 6th grade.  8 years ago we visited several schools and after much worry and debate made the decision to send them to an independent private school.  Mostly because it was the most amazing place I’ve ever visited.  Seriously—this place is freaking magical. This decision meant a lot of things.  It meant I would have to work full time. It meant we would not be getting new cars unless ours were completely dead to the world.  It meant we would have to get creative if we were going to do any vacations.  It meant a LOT of time would be spent in the car.   I do not love these things.  I have tried to find the silver lining in most of them but honestly—life would be easier in a lot of ways if we had made a different decision.  

But I regret absolutely nothing.  Because it also meant our children would be completely in love with school.  It meant they would experience joyful learning from day one.  It meant they would learn to creatively solve problems and to do so with grit and teamwork.  It meant they would learn compassion.  They have discussed topics that adults struggle to discuss without it becoming a yelling match.  They have learned empathy.  And not just empathy for those who closely resemble themselves. They have learned to value ALL people.  They have learned to question the majority and to think for themselves. And they have done all of that in a safe supportive space.

So now what?  It is time to decide once again…  Do we move and send them to an amazing public school.  One with a billion class and activity options where they can meet so many new people.  The school is diverse, it performs well.  We walked the halls and the kids seemed like good kids.  They would have friends who lived in the same town and we would certainly have more money than we are used to.  We could take cool vacations.  We would not be spending an hour of each day in the car…  

But it is also HUGE.  What if they fall through the cracks?  Get lost in the bureaucratic shuffle?  I know we will be on top of it, but would the school back us up?

We also visited another private school.  Once again I saw students who were being pushed both cognitively and creatively.  Who were coming up with solutions to problems adults are struggling with.  Who are learning some serious ethics and what that means in all aspects of life.  Who were allowed to come up with their own projects and see them through with support.  It was amazing.  And by amazing I mean these kids are going to be world changers. 

But it comes at a cost.  An astronomical cost, in fact.  Which would mean all the sacrifices we are making already plus more.  I am not sure we have any more to sacrifice… 

So here we are.  One year and two months away from a life change.  And we are not sure what that change will look like yet.  I will be sitting in this discomfort that entire time.  But I will not forget how blessed we are to have this decision to make in the first place.

Good Intentions

This morning I was determined to start eating healthy.  

But then I listened to venting, heard heartbreak, witnessed meltdowns, sat with the sleeping, made plans for next year, cried as I read my daughters poem, worried about the years progress, and watched my son disappear behind a parked car as he was chased by a dog his size with my heart leaving my body.  He emerged upset but only scraped up from falling, no bites.

So I ate a fish dinner with fries from Long John Silvers.

DISCOURAGED

  • Because I can’t fix everything
  • Because our school climate (my work climate) has become negative
  • Because the teachers are tired and frustrated
  • Because the system is broken
  • Because what about the artists—and inventors—and builders
  • Because I am tired of hearing that it’s because we’re not hard enough on them
  • Because some kids don’t eat, don’t sleep, don’t see mom, see mom get hit, or get hit themselves and then come to school and get in trouble for not doing their homework
  • Because they don’t tell you what happened because they are not supposed to
  • Because kids who don’t experience trauma at home do experience it at school when the traumatized ones lose control 
  • Because not everyone cares
  • Because legislators who don’t know a DAMN thing about our school decide the solution is to increase the amount, value and difficulty of standardized tests; while decreasing the amount, value and input of teachers
  • Because the brightest part of my day is feeding breakfast to the student who walked in 15 minutes late and braiding her hair so she can start the day feeling put together
  • Because we ALL want to start the day feeling put together
  • Because that is the only part of my day I feel I am accomplishing something
  • Because I don’t tell you everything they tell me—it’s called confidentiality
  • Because punishing them more doesn’t work
  • Because I don’t know what does

I can’t fix everything.


Some days I can’t fix anything.


But I can do this:

  • I can keep showing up
  • I can love every. single. one.
  • I can look them in the eye when they talk to me
  • I can feed them breakfast
  • And I can braid their hair

It’s not enough…  

but at least it’s something

There’s one in every class—and I get to raise him!!!

On the ride home from school today Boomer began diligently working on his homework. Until he became distracted by the urge to draw butt cheeks on his paper. Which, of course, he couldn’t resist. And had to show his sister-who also found it hilarious.
Then he decided to erase it, and realized quickly that was not going to work as he had drawn them too dark. He almost panicked…
“Uuughh, Savannah, WHY did I do this?!?”
“I don’t know!!!! Why did you do it?!?”
“Because I’m really stupid!”
“Yes…”
“I know!!! At early care tomorrow I will just grab a new one from the homework pile and do the new one and turn it in! Unless they don’t have any….
Then…
I will just have to proudly walk into class with this one!”

Negativity

The last few weeks have become increasingly more difficult.  As excited as I am about seeing a little sun right now it just isn’t enough.  I am feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of negativity in the air.  The thing is, I have a job that partly consists of being the person to go to when things are falling apart.  And it’s spring—so things are falling apart.  This means my day is made up of trying to squeeze a few kids in between episodes of meltdown.  I am absorbing the frustration of children—and adults.  I sit with kids while they cry it out, or kick it out, or yell it out, whatever they need to do for it to come out.  I walk with adults as they talk it out.  And then I turn around to see five more waiting.

Here’s the thing.  I completely realize this is my job.  I completely realize I WANT this job.  And I completely realize it’s dumb to complain about the job I want.  With that being said, weeks like these I so often find myself no longer swimming upstream.  No longer treading water.  But I am beginning to get swept away.   It’s wave after wave of negativity without a moment to catch a good breath, much less gain any ground.  I know that letting myself go that direction is not an option.  I am not here (on this earth—in this place) to talk about problems and do nothing about them.  I know sometimes people need to talk about their problems without you trying to fix them.  And that’s ok.  But that can’t happen every day.  I can’t live that way.  I have to work to gain some ground.  Let’s turn this flipping ship around people!

As I tried to go to sleep tonight (obviously didn’t happen—as I am now typing this) I kept thinking that I can NOT become negative.  I will not just sit and complain about the way things are every day.  I must continue to be positive despite the tsunami I am faced with each day.  The real issue is that my supply is getting low.  I need to work on me.  I need some refill time.  Some turn my face to the sun and just sit with my eyes closed time.  Some watch the birds from the deck time.  Some sing and dance in the car to Pharell time.  Maybe some color in a coloring book time.  Just thinking of those things makes my heart feel lighter.  Tomorrow I am going to hand out hugs and smiles like nobody’s business—no matter whose nerves it gets on.  Maybe I will start a secret campaign of positive note writing.  That is what needs to happen.  I am a one woman undercover positivity campaign.

Thank you world for listening—I think I can actually fall asleep now 🙂

Freedom Fighter

“Mom, I know what I am going to do this summer. I want to write down the words to all the freedom songs we have learned at school this year. Then when I am a grown up I will teach them to my wife and my children. So someday if slavery ever tries to come back we will sing them.”

My son is ready for a sit-in! I am so thankful for the depth of education our kids are receiving. He didn’t just spend a day/week/month talking about Martin Luther King and/or black history. His class discusses social justice every day. They play ‘unfair’ games in performing arts to better understand how it feels. They actually practiced making a human chain to feel the strength of holding on to one another. He talked to me in depth about Gandhi today and how he was an inspiration for both King and Mandela. How thousands were arrested for taking salt from the sea. How he was not allowed to ride in first class on the train because he had brown skin even though he was from India! (that part truly intrigued him)

We shall not, we shall not be moved.

Finding my voice

It’s amazing that after 34 years of life I am not always comfortable in my me-ness. I can be incredibly insecure and almost always prefer avoidance over confrontation. I define myself as one who is kind of good at lots of things, but not great at any one thing.
My kids attend a private school where many parents are doctors, lawyers, business owners, professors, etc. This is a crowd I had no exposure to as a child. As I drop my kids for play dates I often feel like a mouse in the doorway in awe of the lifestyle. In the hallway after school I tend to avoid any real conversations due to this nagging (wrong) belief that I have nothing of substance to talk about with these people. I am not a very involved parent because of fear that I have nothing worthwhile to contribute.
I was recently asked to sit with a group of parents, the head of school, and the diversity coordinator to discuss diversity. I decided instantly I wasn’t going. I felt everyone would have deep, insightful, incredibly intelligent thoughts to share… Except for the quiet girl from Oklahoma (me). I chose avoidance. The night before the meeting Michael insists that I go, assuring me repeatedly that I have a valid opinion that won’t be heard if I’m not there. (Opinion=the school is lacking true economic diversity). So I went. I was nervous, I was uncomfortable, I was fidgety, but I went anyway. I actually enjoyed the conversation (other than the part where I had to talk). I said my peace and it was done. Afterward two of the moms talked to me outside regarding feeling overwhelmed by the “have”ness of some families. The point was made that yes, there is a difference but it doesn’t matter to the kids as much as it affects us (at least at this age). That we are teaching our children not to be intimidated or insecure but instead are giving them a valuable network of peers that may benefit them greatly later in life. I get it. And I agree.
I find myself wondering what it is that makes me so unsure of myself. Why do I feel less than another human being simply because they have more “things”? Or even more education? Do others who have less than us feel the same way about me? This is not what makes us who we are, me or them. Why does it become my focus? Who are they really? Who am I? Not one of us is less than or more than-we are just who we are. I am losing out on what others can bring into my life because I put up a wall. It’s time. I will start with awareness. When I feel uncomfortable I will stop and just sit with it and work out why and what it means. It’s time to leave my comfort zone.

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