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
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
"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
I might even have haughtily said all of
that in Spanish. Just to make a point.
"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.
don't like that. I want her here.
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
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.
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!
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.
Stress...Worry. Fretfulness. Fear. Anxiety.
D. Disorder. Something is WRONG!
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
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.