The picture that isn't liked.
So as you probably know lots of times teachers talk about a student that we have in common.
More often though we talk about the generalities of how education is today. Our common struggles and frustrations much like everyone else that has a career or a job.
The theme that comes up a lot is second chances...and third chances...and fourth chances. We are expected to hand a kid as many chances as a student needs in order to pass the particular test..or unit ...or class. We spend time doing retakes and regrading the tests and assignments if ..IF we can get that particular kid to do the retakes and second/third/fourth chance at all....this takes time...valuable planning and work time. And the overarching theory of "teach for mastery" (which is why we do this in the first place)...is not what's happening. There's a segment of my retakes who didn't study...or didn't want to work and know they have a second opportunity so they don't try. They just come back in for their 70 and walk on. 70's a "D" folks. Below average.
But truthfully that's not the most frustrating part of the whole dang thing...the most frustrating part is that they don't learn to fail.
What's that? Let them fail??? Horrors. We can't have that...not because I think the kids wouldn't have it or the parents (some) wouldn't have it...the pressure comes from up above...the numbers that show the community, the state, the powers that be that we are progressing towards some numerical goal might fall...that's what's unacceptable. That's why the pressure to do anything humanly possible to get these kids to pass is the going name of the game....and the heat is turned up so high.
But that comes at a price folks...a steep one.
What we haven't taught our children in this game is that can fail...and make it back.
Mike Tyson once said "Everyone has a plan until they get hit."
And these kids when they get hit ...and they will...how are they going to handle it? Will they get back up? Will they persist? Or will they define themselves by their obstacles and spiral downwards? Worst case scenario grinding themselves into little nubs, regretful of missed opportunities or even destroy themselves? I have had two kids nearly lost to depression in the past month because they can't find their way out...they have fallen down into a hole mentally and thank God someone was around to pull them out before a bad situation turned into a tragic one.
"It's how you react to adversity not the adversity itself." -Berardino
I have failed. I am a failure at certain endeavors.
More than once.
And I still think about those failures on occasion and feel the scars they left there...feel an ache like an old wound that never quite heals correctly...
I use that. I harness that to sharpen my focus...live more consciously...love the present with more passion.
I get to do that because I came back from failure. That fire comes from the subsequent successes after failure...those are some of the best and most life changing successes I claim.
I had folks around me to help me learn from my own choices...give me assistance and tell me basically.."yea you had your head up your ass on that one...and this is gonna sting but here's what you have to do to recover." They helped because they loved me...and they let me fail because they loved me too.
We are denying our kids that skill. We are retarding their growth and curbing one of the most powerful tools for living as a successful adult. That's what so frustrating about data driven education and education reform today..
Speaking of resilience...Ross is wondering where that semi went that ran over him. He's not feeling spectacular today. Some sort of reaction to something is causing him to be pretty sick to his stomach. So he didn't get to get all the fun tubes removed or walk the halls (faint in the halls). Bt we know that give him a little time and he'll feel better...he's gonna come through this and be stronger. In the past two weeks there's been a lot of things going on that have been pressured but we've come through all of them with lots of love from our family and friends and resilience. We just keep coming back. Like Crabgrass....and Dandelions.
Let me begin by saying that the support we have received in the last few weeks has been overwhelming. People that I know, but not that well, have actively sought me out to tell me that they are in support. Even people who I normally would have written off to "narrow-minded pinhead" have surprised me. And for that we are grateful. It's not hard to start feeling alone when you have to go to meetings where you know the discussions that are taking place have never taken place before...and you have to keep explaining...and keep explaining..and keep explaining what seems like what should be obvious. It's a relief to find refuge in understanding and supportive adults..even when I am sure they get tired of hearing of it....it's scary and new..so I appreciate those that have been so patient especially with me.
We as a family are finding that out of fear we have minimized...or more accurately let it be an open secret that Grace is trans*.
I can only imagine what people think. and honestly...I really don't care what people think. Frankly until you are in our shoes...exactly in our shoes..I think you can but sympathize not empathize. We have three kids and all of them have unique needs. One of them has an apparent need that society would like to qualify her as "freakish" or "disordered".
I have seen (worked with, taught etc..) kids with physical and behavioral disorders...I have watched their families grieve. I have seen their daily struggles and their nearly insurmountable obstacles. I have watched them work sooo hard...have to accept so much and continue the fight. I have the greatest amount of respect and admiration for those familes. They are heroes. Amazing people. Grace is not disabled or disordered.
There is nothing wrong with her. She is perfect. She is beautiful. A charming combination or sass and congeniality that comes wrapped in the most beautiful little freckled dark haired form. She is intelligent, respectful. warm and compassionate. There is no cognitive or physical handicaps that she has to endure. The only...only difference is that perhaps her brain and her body are mismatched.
We always knew. Although happy all the time...she was happiest in dresses and heels, playing dolls and with makeup. She never left the "exploratory" satge. It became the standard...the given for her. She preferred girl playmates and toys. She preferred "girl" clothes and shows and behaviors. We always knew something was different....but things started gaining clarity last summer when we went to my grandmother's funeral (who BTW I feel would be one of the fiercest protectors of Grace...as she always loved an underdog..especially if the underdog was her grandbaby) last summer. Grace (then Grady) knew that our across the street neighbor had just been blessed with a baby boy. She (then he) stated "When I die...I get to come back as a girl." I, of course, gently explored ...and found that Grace was sure that she was going to have to suffer to be a boy in this lifetime. She would have to wait a whole lifetime to be a girl...to be herself. That broke my heart.
So...fast forward to when she wants to wear what she wants to wear...I am afraid for her. Ross is afraid for her. Of course we are....we know the kind of shit heels that exist in this world..well alot of times they raise shit heel kids too....There is a large amount of ignorance...you wouldn't believe it if I told you. I resisted. I made excuses...I put her off....
The one day she said..."Mom you told me that I can be anything I want to be right? Why won't you let me?" Flummoxed. Completely stumped...I had no adequate reason..There is no adequate reason...I am here to support and encourage....I am here to guide, teach and love. I am her mother. Not to stifle, warp and control. That was it. That and my own mother saying..."Ya know Dedra it's time for us to shit or get off the pot. Get behind this or stop it."...We were standing outside Dollywood. And it was like the final pin fell into place. She's right...I need to get behind her..and starting clearing the way or stop it.
She showed the most amazing courage...to wear polish at first...then girls shirts..then girls clothes ...then dresses...She has courage that grown men have not shown..She stands in front of their unjustified judgement and says "talk to the hand". I am amzed and humbled by my own child on the regular.
How can you stop it? You can't..if you think you can... Get a book...read about it. I'd be happy to recommend a few. Look it up..try not to stay ignorant. Trans* kids are more likely to suffer depression, attempt or commit suicide, act out in a risky manner...sexually or with drugs..be emotionally or physically bullied or abused than their "normal" counterparts Why? Because they are being stuffed into a brain that they don't belong in...."Helpful" people trying to make them something that they are not....Now just stop and think about that for a minute...Imagine when you were in a place/realtionship/job that you HATED...and imagine that you had no way out...for the rest of. your. life. Suicide or self medication might seem a reasonable option then huh? These kids need our help...MY CHILD needs my help. I'll be dammed if she's not going to get it.
In an aside...the statement "Well I guess you got your girl now." isn't welcome. It isn't helpful. And frankly...I find it offensive. Why in the hell would I elect to put my child (or any child) through this? This social battle...this potential life of conflict and endangerment...to be unaccepted by many in society. Really? REALLY? I would choose this...because I don't have a biological female? STFU. It makes me angry...and is a trite and ignorant statement of someone who doesn't get it. So now you know about that.
Another one that will set me off is "Hate the sin love the sinner." Jesus hung out with lepers and whores....you don't get to judge me or my daughter. Keep your "separate but equal" drivel and BS away from me. I aint got time. We're over here being happy and well adjusted while you spend your life examining the flaws of others. That's pathetic..get a life.
Lastly, those that think Grace is too young...well again..you show your ignorance...(as long as it's ignorance and not stupidity..I'm down to dialog). When did you know that you were the gender that you were? Was it 7? Was it younger? I'm betting younger. There is a massive definitional difference between gender identity and sexuality. Identity solidifies pretty young, sexuality not till after puberty. Grace knows her identity. We have yet to see about her sexuality....and we'll cross that bridge when we get there...why in the hell would I talk to my nearly 8 year old about sexuality anyway (other than the standard safety talk)? And I'm not pushing her in any direction...she leads..we support and clear.I have two wonderful sons and a daughter. No one "made" or "influenced" her...she is who she is.
We still expect her to be a wonderful, well-mannered, successful, hard-working citizen of the world. And we expect the world not to be assholes. Period.
I know I'm speaking to the choir. Most of you love and understand...your support has been wonderful. Perhaps I'm just ramped up about this weeks meetings...so if you think about it...send us a mental hug and a prayer. Love you guys.
I try to gather some sort of experience in every week that I maintain a vertical or semi-vertical postion as a diurnal animal...Most of the time I am desperately wishing that I could experience more of the back of my eyelids....but since that isn't happening...least not for the next few months...I can try to learn something in between then and now..besides it justifies all this existing I'm doing or something philisophical like that...
1) Girls' hair takes a lot longer to do. Sure Scherer...that's like saying "if you eat less you lose weight". So go ahead and slap a Happy Birthday Captain Obvious! button on my shirt...but I have been a girl for a very long time and my goal..(is and always has been)... to be in and out of the bathroom in less than thirty minutes...and I have hair that's longer now than it has been in quite a while..I dry/curl/rat/and bind in all within that time..this little girl though...has the most beautiful locks and they take forever...foooooorrrever to dry and brush and then pin...and so far I have yet to see any of the hard work make it to the end of the day...EVERY damn clip for the week is in the bottom of the bookbag by 215. Arg.
2) Sometimes trying to be the best parent by writing an Email to a teacher and saying "Hey my kid isn't acting like he has in school for the past 5 years can you give me some insight?" Ends up with the teacher forcing my kid to write down his feelings consequently making him weep out loud on Friday night because he felt GUILTY FOR BEING HONEST WITH HER....WTF lady? Can't you tell this kid has an unnatural sense of right and wrong and compassion...Nevermind I'll just pick up the pieces and use it as a teaching moment ...That if you want things to change .....sometimes being honest even when it stings a little is necessary...and hearing truth even when it stings a little is just as important... I will demonstrate/model this lesson when I speak with her on Monday. Double arg. Phhhpht.
3) This little girl seems to reject on principle any outfit that I choose that would look good on her...let's not forget the included and thinly veiled eye roll in there too. So pretty much florals, navy, grey, red, green, brown, tan, mint, black, cordouroy, anything with two legholes or armholes...well you get the picture. And BTW I am probably not telling you anything but it is waaaay to easy to drop a hundred bucks on clothes especially at a fancy high-end botique like Old Navy. Cute stuff out there.
4) Girls take a long time in the dressing room. Like 90 minutes...of sitting...on a foam cube..outside the dressing room (Because "I CAN DO IT MAMA")..while she figured out hangers..and patterns...the color wheel...theory of gravity.. Holy Hell what is going on in there??? (in my head mind you)...Boys on the other hand..still are overjoyed to spend their 90 minutes pulling their siblings clothes/ grabbing legs/ poking with hangers from under the adjacent dressing room causing screams, threats and general chaos etc...you get the point..yeah I can tell this part is going to be my favorite..insert my thinly veiled eyeroll here.
5) Some children will always figure out the system and will work the sh*t out of it.. So you're naturally torn between thinking that you have an inordinately clever child then congratulating them on said cleverness with wondering how to keep them on the side of good ("Come to the Dark Side Luke..") and out of a jumpsuit with spray painted initials on it..three of which are D.O and J. Alternately, when your child with the overactive intergrity gland sees this they feel betrayed. As an aside ..I did not congratulate..I applied appropriate consequences...but hey..secretly..it's in a small way impressive. This doesn't change in middle or high school.
6) Tweens are moody. Regardless of gender. Period. This changes soon right? Right? Oy.
7) There are alot of pronouns in daily life. Alot.
8) I may...MAY have channeled my granny and let one of my children drive around the empty parking lot..I won't tell you who may have gotten to drive but they can reach the pedals...now if I can get them to not use both feet in an automatic...:)
I am overwhelmed by the support...words of love...messages that we have gotten. And that I made the right decision kicking this old rust bucket blog back up again and taking it for a drive...I am so glad you're along for the ride.
Oh If you made it this far...the picture at the top? It's a Spindesk. You work and ride at the same time...Multitasking level: Expert. My mom has one she's deeply in love with. I think it's hilarious.
I have three kids.
Never planned to have three kids...
In all honesty couldn't see myself ever getting married....
The reason for that being I said that I wouldn't get married until I could find an honest man.
It was like I dared the universe.
Then the fates threw Ross in my path blew that all to hell (not that being married to a man that's pretty honest all the time makes it roses and Victoria's Secret on the daily)...and here I am sixteen years later...with three kids.
So fast forward to 7 years ago...I was three years into parenthood...husband deployed scrambling to makes sense of my daily life...trying to learn how to let go of shit that didn't matter...not always successfully...oh hell ...not successful much of the time.
In those years I have met the basic parenting level success. I mean they're alive right? And I find I know a few fundamental truths.
1) I love my kids. They are wonderful. They are busy. They are challenging. They are my life and I would willingly kill or die to protect them. Period.
2) I love my husband and my mother...ask Ross who has the worst temper in the fam...get Yaya to tell you about the crowbar/Golden Girls incident...or the little old lady in line in Garmisch. I will bite if provoked when it comes to them. As hard headed and independent as I am I need them...I depend on them to help me stay sane...and I am a better person because of them. Period.
3) My family needs me. Pretty much the central hub of all laundry done, doctors seen, schoolwork accomplished, groceries bought, all boo boos kissed and things lost, all advise given, all spanking doled out and all "bring hell to breakfast" mother bear actions here. They need me. Period.
Having said all that and having said it before ..I am an only child with a medium/large size family and fequently I find myself mentally scratching my head..(or ass as the case my be) ..and thinking ... . "Well f__k...now what?"
That goes for all my children. They each come with their unique challenges, but I handle it generally instinctually in a similar fashion...in this way I treat them the same.
1) First instinct ..Comfort...if no immediate hugs or ass whoopings required I proceeed to my next instict. I establish a connection..it's pretty simple.
2) Read something...the science person in me. Someone somewhere has had to have encountered this shit before? What's the data say? What are alternatives? What's rational? What does my heart say? It may seem silly to some but information is power...and having no experience then I can listen to others and learn.
3) Remember what I am put here for...what I am building...Can I be the human that I want my kids to grow up to be? How can I lead?
Usually after that little Phil Donahue talk I can discern a direction pretty easily. If not I let it lie...wait ...pull a yogi move and sink deeper into the questions. So far...I haven't ever been let down finding a way to follow.
Now...have a screwed up? You betcha...but usually they are reparable...I can only think of one time...one time when I thought.."Boy I messed that one up big time."...And I assure you..that will never happen again.
So let me let you peek in how they're unique to themselves..and how that makes me juggle the bowling pins a little differently with each kid.
Coop: The easiest baby. Talked a million miles a minute. Way past verbal norms at age 2. Compliant, curious, perceptive, loving, rarely rambunctious..a dream baby. School age..wonderful. This is the kid you rationally speak to and he gets it. Use reason and he understands. Now..he's brilliant. Effing scary brilliant. Socially he's ten. Awkward, moody, odd, but his heart still shines through..He is a good soul. Challenges: He stuffs and blows...unsure of how to talk about his feelings he struggles and would rather avoid some things...luckily he still comes to me and whispers his questions in the dark before he falls asleep and I can reach him... He sucks at change (re: video when I bought him a new computer mouse for Chrissakes) and he can pitch one heck of a fit when he's in a snit. He is a huge dreamer and it's hard to give him the challenges that he needs cognitively. So I depend on those that have expertise in his areas of interest. I challenge him to change every once in a while and I use reason reason reason with him. Coop will also happily disappear into the wall if allowed. I will not allow it.
Deacon: Cantankerous from the get go. Kicked and tossed in the womb and out of the womb. Refused to be alone. Refused to sleep alone. Refused to ride in the car. Pretty much flipping the bird at any reasonable expectations since conception. Ask Yaya about the playpen punishment incident. He knew how to hold a grudge before he could walk good. He had his first CAT scan before he was three. He's physically confident. He's a master at sneak, prank and pick. It's how he communicates....drive you batshit as a method of affection...He also has what I suspect as a moderate social anxiety disorder, won't talk in front of adults, won't defy authority at school..<-----------Well I guess that covers challenges. As for me..Deacon is loyal, clever, sensitive and has a freakin adult sense of comedic timing. He's hilarious. He misses NO-thing....so if you say it by God you better do it. He's got an overactive sense of justice and parity. He is fearless when it comes to his siblings even stepping in front of me or taking the rap for them when I know good and damn well he didn't do it. Counterintuitively he needs protection. School has beaten this child down and broken his spirit. He has had a series of really poor teachers that couldn't see him...and we have paid the price. It is my one regret..and I am afraid I will spend the rest of his school career correcting it.
Gracie May (Grady): I can't express how adorable this baby was...an even split between the brothers..even keeled yet talkative, active and a rule follower...ready for school, socially confident, charming, friendly, laughs all the time... Just a happy happy baby in the middle personality and temperament. He's a flash of sunshine wrapped in cute...sweet natured, giving and a wee bit sassy.
Challenges: Gracie has always liked girl things. My kids have gone through the heels and dress stage...and exited after a few months as the novelty wore off...coming back to it then leaving...but Gracie stayed. She chose stereotypical girl items without fail...Even when she finally relented to play guns she chose the pink ones...but really it wasn't as fun. As her brothers Deacon moved on to play with the neighbor kids (because honestly Coop would rather read and build nuclear reactors or electron colliders etc..on his computer) ..she lamented that there was no one to play with. The girls don't see her as a girl...the boys well..they're boys. So we're in a limbo level many times ..birthday parties, sleepovers...it's gotten complicated..And frankly sometimes the fits that get pitched are reminiscent of a 13 year old girl in that 7.5 year old body..Lord have mercy..Please let me not be raising a little Lohan up in here...And that's the regular raising of a child stuff.....we haven't touched on the sheer challenge of having a potentially (likely?) transgendered child. Who can you trust with the info? How will it be taken? Who are our true friends?...How do we logisticaly navigate these waters...How do we handle child bullies? adult bullies? Would I mind going back to jail? (KIDDING! sort of) The worries and concerns could easily overwhelm everything else in a family. And I can tell you that we have a long way to go...in uncharted waters. Although I have many friends that have children with needs in the physical beyond my understanding or comprehension for sure I feel like it's socially more recognizable and understood to have a special needs child...I feel frustrated and fortunate in that way... because let me be clear about this...THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MY CHILD.... or any of my children...That's a blessing.
Speaking of blessings...our family. Ross, Grandma Nancy, YaYa, Yoyo and many of our friends have seen our family and made it clear that they commend us..and are there if we need them. We are all fundamentally on the same page. We love this child...these children. That is so comforting. So far we've met with more understanding than ignorance. Knowing that I don't have to deal with an internal struggle and an external battle makes this unique situation so much more surmountable. So those of you out there...you know who you are....we love you. Thank you!
So ...in the end ..as a parent..they are mine....they are loved...they are not the same...and thank God for that...I am a lucky girl.
I don't (or damn try my hardest not to) give advice unsolicited. About most things...travel plans, relationships, menu choices, apparel (....okok I give Ross advice on apparel just because he should be diagnosed with some sort of fashion deficiency ...because he is apparel challenged) career choices. I may ask leading questions. I may share like experiences...but most importantly I don't give parenting advise....and most people don't ask thank God. Folks who are free with their advice in parenting seem to miss that...nobody asked them.
Once upon a time in a former career path I was involved in the educational process of parent who were tottering or had crossed the line into abuse or neglect, those things being the dipolar end of the spectrum. I was relatively young...26 or so...with no children. Although I have often used the analogy that you don't have to be standing in a blazing house to know that the damn thing is on fire...yet I cringe when I think of how little experience I had in the actual arena of parenting.
It took only one weekend to realize this...I remember when they packed The Professor in the car after a few days at the hospital when it was fairly cold. He seemed so small and we went home in that evening hour. I remember thinking .."Wait are they gonna let us just walk out of here with this BABY??" and "I didn't even have to siiiiign anything to take this child outta here." Maybe I thought it was because I was with Ross who was bowed chest walking as proudly as a goose out of the Klinik with our son brooking no argument. Pretty sure that if he wouldn't be thought a fool he would have sung "The Hills are Alive" from the Sound of Music. I myself was experiencing a little more trepidation.
Within 48 hours (Sunday from Friday to be exact) ...after a week long trial and error...(mostly error and futile results) of breastfeeding and worried to death that The Professor was hungry I went to supplement with formula and realized I didn't have any.... after 6 pm...in Illesheim Germany...Shit shit shit shit shit! At that moment I came to the solid desperate conclusion that I didn't know what in. the. hell I was doing. I sent Ross to the only place that I knew would have formula...the hospital... and beg them to give us some to last us through the night which they gladly did (no begging required I'm sure we weren't the first dumbass American who forgot there wasn't a 24 hour Walmart down the road).
I could enumerate a long long list of things that I wish that I knew..things I beat the hell out of myself over...things I wish I could do over...and really in the larger picture they are now what I realize..little things...the fact is I realized my mistakes and corrected them the next time around...sometimes I wrote my mistakes up op my own personality quirks or resolutely admitted were perceived "traditional" misteps but willing to take the judgement of others and proceed in the same direction.
The point is...all parents must find their own level....their own way..into parenting. Ninety five percent of people will float to the top and find their own normal. They'll bob along..go under a little and come back up..as the waters get choppy etc. We find our way back up.. I learned a looong time ago that there is a huge spectrum of parenting choices. On one end you have neglect and the other end you have abuse...but in the middle...the middle has a huge array of different styles and choices. Forgetting the ends, (Abuse and neglect which of course I am not going to hesitate to say are wrong and immoral) there's plenty in there that I would say I wouldn't do and some that I have said that I wish had of thought of...Bottom line. We each do the best we can where we are with what we have. Period.We are a summation of our experiences. Cobbled together with our genes and nurturing we forge forward in this world making the best way that we can in all aspects of our lives.
Parenting isn't for the weak. You move from nights of lost sleep and this tiny person's bodily secretions to preventing the child from accidental suicide and then into negotiating the finer aspects of social mores and relationship building along with goal setting and achievement. It's precarious...and thrilling and heartbreaking and scary and wonderful fun...
But it's a mountain you gotta climb yourself. I'll be down here cheering you on...not bossing you around.
The project life album that I have been working on....I got sidetracked about June...work and life just go too dang crazy...
It's just the next few weeks...February really.
It's amazing though how that even in the few short months...9 or thereabout ...how much things can change and how fast the change can accelerate.
Can they button their own clothes...yes. Can they fix themselves theor own cereal, brush at their teeth, do homework? Yes, yes and yes.But there are some many things that aren't within their reach..things that shouldn't burden them. That's the responsibility of the adults around to handle.
But life isn't like that...kids get exposed to reality...things that you say to them like "You can be anything you want to be...do anything that you set your mind to and work for.." start to be rebuffed by the people in their world in general. You want to surround them with your safety net and give the world the finger....as long as they stay here..they'll be safe...
That's not fair to them. The next option is to teach them how to handle the ignorance, the ugliness the poor mannered...within reason. And continually tell them that you love them...teach them to rise above the base nature of most humans in the world. After all it's natural for children to put things in boxes...
Black/white, up/down, left/right, Friend/foe, prey/predator, safe/toxic, boy/girl ..always one of two options. So to break out of one of those two options is confusing for the young...hell frankly it's confusing for the old. BUt it's a different world and we're different parents travelling a different path at warp speed....certainly faster than I can scrap.
The list of what has happened in the nearly three years since I've written regularly is endless. My grandmother (Big Grandmother, Granny Pearcy, Louise) passed away. We buried her in Texas. We reconnected with family. We experienced the Gulf Coast. We zip lined, snow tubed and traveled the mountains. We went to the beach alot and the swamp and the forest. We had birthdays (some reluctantly, some happily). We buried an uncle and seen older friends pass over. We've had four surgeries...rehabilitation, nebulizations, medications, x-rays. We moved classrooms. We had cavities, honor rolls and Terrific Kids ceremonies, performed at the Arts center, went to plays, the circus and personal art exhibitions. We made the paper and the news a few times. We've gone to Repticons and Robotics competitions. We've birthed and buried hamsters. We've buried a family pet. We've watched Yaya travel the world, then retire..and travel some more. We visited D.C, met up with beloved family friends, found specialty candy shops and ate their candy. We've had cars that ran out of gas, ran out of steam, ran out of tire pressure and nearly ran out of oil. We've enjoyed our home and struggled a little with it once or twice (damn garage door opener). We've learned wrestling, soccer, tennis, coding, swimming, piano, sewing, scrapping and drama. We've lost teeth, gained weight, gained height and had to buy two pairs of shoes in three months because of bigger feet. We've completed physics courses, biology courses, Latin courses, IB courses, gifted ed. and naturalist courses. We wrote a new course for the high school and got it approved hopefully. We've graduated from college again and started a technical degree. We've celebrated Christmases, Valentines, July Fourths, Halloweens and Easter scavengers hunts. We've had almost eighteen sets of school pictures, three sets of art pieces and a dozen team photos. We've had good teachers and not so good teachers. We've had victories and frustrating failures. We've watched friends come and go. There's just so much that has passed that I have not enough space to complete it in one or a dozen or a hundred posts. Sooooo...I won't. I'll just start with the new....fit in a few olds....and tell you what hasn't happened...
We haven't stopped moving but we pulled it out of gear about a year ago...there were several reasons for this, not many of which is relevant except to say that we were freakin tired. Just ground to little nubs with all the commitments. So I pulled everything back to give us time to reevaluate what we though would be priority. So far we haven't felt any urgency as to what to do next. We've been just trying to get some of our members healed and some rested.So we have just kept one or two things in place stratgegically to help us keep sharp for upcoming entrance requirements.
We haven't stopped exploring. 2013 was a year marked by lots of new things coming into bloom. New classes, new types of students, new identities, new ideas all started showing up about the same time. We've started shifting and team buidling around some of these new ideas as they come.
We haven't stopped pushing. New ideas aren't easy. Some of them require change. Change isn't comfortable, especially in entrenched ingrained systems. We realize that this may be a long, arduous battle. We realize this may mean that we lose friends, we lose support. We are willing to accept that. We also aren't going to stop being thankful for friends and family that have the balls to accept the challenge. Truly, they are some of our greatest gifts.
We haven't stopped laughing or crying. Dear God there is always something to laugh at around here...these children keep me in stitches. Most of our days feel like I am trying to keep up with three objects being shot out of a cannon. And then at work the 100 students that are running faster and with better equipment than I was issued. They are a delight and a whirlwind. They've started coming into their own sense of humor and being. We laugh at each other and ourselves. Sometimes we laugh until we cry. Sometimes we cry because we are sad or mad...or because you have to do one of the two or you'll lose your mind. And it is so damn fun to be a part of every. day.
We (read: I) haven't stopped with the sardonic or sarcastic sense of humor. Frankly, compared to the rest of the world we got it easy...hands down. No one would attempt to shoot my daughter in the face for attending school, force my sons to be child soldiers, choose my religion or squelch my imagination. I can move as freely as I want, be who I want to be personally, sexually and spiritually...raise my children as I see as best for us..I can seek more than one job if I choose. Vote. Have a lawyer provided me if I cannot afford one... I am also blessed with an education that gives me options. I see kids every day who don't have one or more of those options...who have to worry about basic necessities...necessities I am finding it more and more important to stockpile as these children get bigger in my house...(whoa nelly can they eat). So when I am being my usual sarcastic vitriolic self it's because I can... because I know how blessed I am ...and I try to pay back those blessings by helping as many as I can in return. So I get to be sassy...the humor keeps me sane sometimes...things in perspective and what not.
So who knows what's in store for the next few days, weeks, months (minutes?). It's hard to say. I can say this though, it won't be boring.