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Saturday, September 23, 2017

I miss my children...

 I miss my children.  I miss them in deep parts.  I miss the "every-day-ed-ness" of my life spinning around, winding through and pushing against their lives.  "Would you like a banana on your cereal?" to a ten year old boy.  "Mom!  I HATE bananas!" from said ten year old.  This after years of declaring bananas his favorite fruit.

That boy will be seventeen next week.  I recently asked what he wanted to do for his birthday.  His plans did not include me.  "Dinner and a concert with friends" was his answer as he kissed my cheek.  "It's already planned.  I love you!"  Out the door to work, school, or to friends' houses is that sixteen year old.  He's a responsible individual my son. 

An amusing story:  The local public elementary school that my children attended has a bi-lingual program.  English and Spanish. The program's goal is to nurture bi-lingual and bi-literate individuals no matter their language backgrounds.  Whether children were mono-lingual English or Spanish speakers or already bi-lingual, they would all be educated equally.  I was proud of my son's ease with Spanish.  He was a Spanish speaking star!  His teachers marveled at his writing ability in both languages.

One day my then fourth grade boy came home and said, "Mom, I'm lucky."  When asked why, he said, "I'm one of ONLY THREE KIDS who get to use the English books in Social Studies."  I was surprised.  When asked why, he looked at me at said: "Hello!  I'm not hispanic!"

"But what about Silvia Bonilla?!" I exclaimed in annoyance.  "She doesn't speak Spanish at all!"  "I know," said my son.  "I share my English book with her."

I was mad. Ready to "march into that school and make some DEMANDS"!  Demand that my son get a Spanish book, dammit!  Say with some disdain, "Isn't that the goal of the program?  Huh?  Why, he's the best you got in two languages! This is discrimination!  How dare you give my son an English book!"

I might even have haughtily said all of that in Spanish.  Just to make a point.

My "happy-to-have-an-English-book" son looked at me and said, "If you go, I will never tell you anything again."  

And so I didn't.   And so he kept on sharing his (one of ONLY THREE!) English book with Silvia.  

God bless that boy.  He likes to help.  

And my eighteen year old daughter. I miss that girl too, for it feels as if she really is gone.  Not "never-will-return" gone, but "I'm-okay-Mom-on-my-own" gone.  Yes. Isn't that what parenting is all about?  Launching.  Her "taking-off"?  Ah!  What a wonderful time for her!    

That girl. That light.  There is some special thing. There is some rumbling joy within her.  I sometimes fear that the world will quell her joy.  I write that I "sometimes fear", but the real truth is that I fear.  In general I fear.  

My daughter's at college now. She lives on campus. She's also got a job...and a life that begins each day outside of the four walls in which I dwell. 

I don't like that.  I want her here.  

She's got a car.  The 2007 car didn't have bluetooth and so she purchased some contraption that turns the FM radio into a bluetooth receiver.  "Hey, Kim!  Look at this!" my husband exclaimed when he first saw it.  He's a contraption kind of guy--building model airplanes and fixing stuff in his garage "man cave"--and so was much impressed with our daughter's ingenuity.  I, however, was not happy.  "Distracted driving!" my mind screamed.  

As I said, I fear stuff. 

Both of my children's bedrooms are neat today.  They are both clean.  The floors in said bedrooms are clear of clothes.  Closet doors and dresser drawers are closed. There are no cups half filled with Coca-Cola on bed stands either. 

Neither child is here this morning.  One is sleeping in a dorm bedroom and the other in a sleeping bag at a friend's house.  

It seems I've finally gotten what I wanted: clean rooms.  And I don't like it at all.

9:11 am edt          Comments

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Musings from a still intact treehouse... September 13, 2017

Last Sunday, I sat by my new hurricane impact windows all afternoon. We'd pulled all of our outside furniture into the living room and so, I snuggly tucked a favorite lake patio chair between the living room's sofa and love seat and had a first row seat to Irma's Miami show. I poured a glass of wine and propped my feet on the front window sill.

I like the lake patio chairs much more than I like the patio patio chairs. I like them more than our couch also.  They're padded and they rock.  They're also woven and so feel cooler than the over stuffed (and hot) couch.  Without air conditioning, it's important to stay as cool as possible in a hurricane.

I stayed relatively cool. I "kept my cool" too. Wine helped. As I watched trees topple and debris fly, I'd think "Wow!  Look at that!" in an other worldly way and take a sip.  

I will not write that the gusts "blew me away."  They did not.  They did however, thrill me.  Rock, rock, rock.  Sip, sip, sip.  

Rains pummeled. Not alone. Rains cannot pummel by themselves. They must be propelled to pummel and so winds came too. Lots of both. Lots and lots of both.

 My husband brought our old friend the radio in from the garage.  He apologized to it for its dusty condition.  It forgave us our twenty years of inattentive and cell phone addicted behavior and started right up.

Craig the Weatherman spoke to me from our battery operated buddy. I'd watched and listened to Craig the Weatherman during the halcyon days of full power Category Five TV watching preparations. "After we lose power, you only get to open your refrigerator one time," Craig the Weatherman would earnestly instruct as he assured our post hurricane survivability. I hung on his weathered words, even if they were not "storm related."  

Craig the Weatherman bantered with Elliot R. and "Beautiful Girl" (I am sorry beautiful girl whose parents live in Kendall, I do not know your name).  He ruefully told of his travails with his shutters. He confided that he often napped on cots at the station.  He'd laugh, shake his head and rasp that he'd only had an hour's sleep in the last seventy two.  

I'm not sure how one can really prepare for a Cat 5, except with prayers and wine--or getting the heck out of Dade-Dodge--but finding Craig on the radio helped.   "I gotta get some water," Craig would apologetically rasp. It was almost as if he added: "OK, Kim? You good to go, Kim?  Got enough water and wine?  You'll be okay, Kim.  You and your family will be okay.  I'm with you, girl. We will see this through together.  You and me, and millions of other water and wine drinking people, gente, gens. 

"I just need a glass of water."

It's got to be tough being a weatherman during a CAT 5 hurricane.  Never once, though, did I hear or see Craig become impatient.  He never said, as did a different weatherman on a different channel, "F@#K 'em!  F$%K 'em!" That weatherman had decided to "be stern" and demand that a radio station F@#KING SIMULCAST as he'd been promised and not play F@#King Hip Hop!" I've taken literary liberty here as I did not hear Weatherman From A Different Channel say exactly that. Seems, though, probable.

In contrast, Craig modulated his voice.  He calmly told us that, in a Cat 5 our roofs might come off. He lovingly directed us to have our safe places in mind as part of "our plan."  He'd share bits of his plan and that would prompt Elliott R and Beautiful Girl to share pieces of their plans and concerns.

Elliott R seemed the most nervous of the three. Like me, Elliott R's lived in Miami a long time. Beautiful Girl--she is beautiful and funny and authentic and probably very smart, so don't get your feminist dander up--is much younger than Elliott R.  These preparations (and cot accommodations) may be her first.

Craig the Weatherman is from Oklahoma or Wisconsin and knows tornadoes better than hurricanes.  But he did a bang up hurricane job.  

I expect he'll be working with Bryan Norcross at The Weather Channel soon.
9:39 am edt          Comments

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Marijuana is good for me....

In Florida, PTSD is the only mental health condition in the state to be be eligible for medical marijuana.  And ha!  I GOT PTSD!  Yay for me!  Sad for you.  I can legally puff a joint in my backyard!  You cannot.  Na-na-na-na-boo-boo!

Thank you school district!  I mean it.  If it hadn't been for you, I'd not be able to sit in my back yard swing and "toke a (medicinal) reefer." 

PTSD is, apparently, not curable.  Seems there is always the chance of a trigger event to set off the hyper vigilance. 

P. Post...Following. After.  

T. Traumatic...Brutal.  Damaging.

S. Stress...Worry.  Fretfulness.  Fear.  Anxiety.

D. Disorder.  Something is WRONG!



Therapy.  Medications.


MARIJUANA!  Back yard!  

Full circle baby!  

I think now about the work I, a school counselor, have done in schools.  Presentations.  I think they had positive impact on teachers and students.  I'd take, for example, two balloons into classrooms.  I'd ask students about their stressors.  With each of their answers, I'd puff one of the balloons. Homework anxiety?  Puff.  Bullying?  Big puff.  Dad lost his job?  Puff, puff, puff.  Until, finally, we all knew the balloon would burst .  POW!  

Another balloon.  Homework anxiety?  Puff.  Talk to a school counselor?  Let the air out.  Bullying?  Puff. Get some help to work on the problem?  Let the air out...

Our discussion would then be about balance.  Finding help.  Being courageous in asking for that help.  Children had fun.  They learned.  Teachers would welcome me into their classrooms.  We all worked and learned together.

I don't do that work anymore.  I see it in my mind as some distant and warped event.  I hardly recognize myself there.  

I just don't have the same zeal.  I'm jaded.  I don't have my former exuberance and drive. Maybe I've become just another "give-'em-my-eight-and-go-home" employee.  

I for sure don't feel like organizing anything.  

My school district now tracks counselors' work through data generating large groups.  To "build" school community, my district's introduced a program that requires children to have their phones with them.  Children do not speak with each other.  They type answers into their phones to be displayed on the screen in front of the auditorium.  We, the counselors presenting to them; shush them if they have side conversations.  We talk at them.  And they do what they always do: "enter" into their phones.  

It's time consuming.  

And there is the partying planning aspect of the school counselor job.  Mandated initiatives like Sandy Hook's Promise and Red Ribbon and--in my school's case--monthly kindness awards, that fall squarely at counselors' party planning feet.  We get invitations out.  We decorate.  We dish up ice cream and assure we have sprinkles, dishes, spoons and napkins.  

Party planning is time consuming. 

It's understandable, then, that my personal party planning has waned.  You'll not see large groups of people in my backyard. 

You will, however, find jaded old me on the backyard swing.

12:06 pm edt          Comments

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