Friday, May 26, 2017

Sticks, Stones and Standing Up

Here’s the scoop. One of Jordan’s best friends was getting bullied by two boys on the bus. Yep, the bus… the place where all life's lessons are learned, whether you want to learn them or not. It’s that short time period each day when there is no supervision, and the visceral nature of each child comes shining through.

That’s how I remember it, anyway. The difference was, when Jordan rode the bus, there were always video cameras recording the action, just in case.  These two boys were taking Jordan’s friend’s iPad, taking her shoes off of her feet and throwing them, and basically torturing her verbally. This was happening every bus ride, every day.

This girl was tough and athletic, but I guess in the world of bullying, this doesn’t matter. Or maybe it’s threatening. Who knows. I knew first hand (and still do) how difficult it was to get into a verbal battle with Jordan. She was relentless, quick, and could be cruel, but I wasn't sure this ever surfaced outside of our home. Until this time, when she tried to verbally slam one of the boys with: “You better be careful, or you’ll end up in juvie like your brother.” Damn.  Because his brother was in juvie. Unfortunately none of this worked. Nothing stopped these boys.

I was thankful Jordan opened up to me. I was more thankful that she wasn’t afraid to stand up for a friend. I called the transportation department, and the girl’s mother, and Jordan went to the principal. To make a long story short, the tapes were watched, the situation was rectified, Jordan and I were thanked profusely by the family, and I was one proud mama jama.

Thank you.

Us Too

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

To Share or Not to Share

I have been contemplating not sharing from my next journal entry, but it's not because the subject matter is difficult, painful, or cringe-worthy. Regretfully these entries will eventually come, but at this stage in our lives, things were moving along quite smoothly.

I wasn't sure I should share, because I didn't want to come across as that obnoxious mom who brags too much.  Then I thought to myself: How can I get across the true intensity, the pain and confusion of what we experienced, without conveying some of the proud mama moments?  

I think it's important to realize that not all kids who have "issues" come from messed up families. Unfortunately, years ago I believed if a child had problems, something or someone caused them. And guess who I put the blame on? The parents.

Cringe, right? Or maybe karma. I'm not sure...

Of course today I realize this is absolutely not true. Sure, some people struggle more than others. And yes, if a person finds it difficult to cope and manage their own life, then raising a child will be... complicated. But the thing is, ultimately everyone has their own unique story. Plus, we can't forget the whole nature verses nurture argument.

So in the next entry I will gloat a bit about a time when Jordan totally stood up for a friend who was being bullied, relentlessly.

Because it was a beautiful thing. :)

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Screw the Wings...

I forgot to mention that Jordan was asked to read her paper to the member's of the Daughter's of the Revolution (D.A.R.). She had to introduce us, her teacher, and herself, while speaking with a mic. This was big time for a fifth grader, and also for a fifth grader's parents. ;)

I remember quite clearly, feeling intense emotions while she was speaking. The best way to describe it; I felt absolutely out of control.  It was scary, mind-blowing and poignant, all at the same time. There was my baby, who was usually so self conscious, standing alone, all eyes on her. My only job was to watch, watch, as she slowly drifted further away from me.  

It was a profound moment. I don't think I heard a word she said, and was basically concentrating on breathing, until I heard the applause.

I guess it's moments like these that help better prepare parents for their kids' inevitable journey towards adulthood. You know... the whole roots and wings thing. Personally I like the roots way more than the wings, but maybe that's just me.

Thank you.

Us Too

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

That Damn Look From the Doctor

I came across a great article, so I would like to share it on Us Too. It's titled:  Ten Things Parents of 'Normal' Kids Should Know,  and that's exactly what it's about. I recommend it to anyone who has even the least bit of exposure to children (or humans, for that matter).  One of my favorite lines was: "A top-down, authoritative approach does not work for these kids. Attempts at this kind of parenting will likely lead to increased anxiety, a complete shutdown or a spectacular meltdown."

You got that right.

There was another line that really struck a nerve in me:  "It’s hard to talk to other parents honestly about our kids and their achievements. Your kid made the honor roll? Great. Mine didn’t kill herself. Yay!  Not exactly good for conversation."

I totally "feel" this, and here's why:

- First, I want to make it clear that Jordan has never attempted suicide. She has been asked a number of times by a number of different doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists, if she had thoughts of harming herself, and there were times when she did answer "Yes", without much hesitation. That's usually when I would get that look from the doctor; the "Mom, this is serious"  look.  Well, no kidding.  We wouldn't have been sitting there contemplating intensive inpatient or outpatient therapy, if we didn't realize the seriousness of our situation. One time I felt inclined to say, "I knew how she would answer, that's why we're here." Duh.

- Another reason I think this quote affected me, was because Jordan did make the honor roll. All of the time. She wasn't your typical angst-filled teenager, who while falling apart, failed classes or partied uncontrollably. I have no idea how, but she continued to overflow with tenacity, capability and determination. Against all odds she achieved great success throughout her high school career. This still continues to baffle me today.

Jordan's overall transcript may have looked stellar, but those strong personality traits; they almost broke her.

No two stories are exactly alike, but the more I read and inquire about the children who are graced with "Super Powers", the more similarities I see.  Even if we realize this overall topic may not be "exactly good for conversation",  let's all agree to do one thing...

Let's continue the conversation, and help break the stigma!

Thank you,

Us Too 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Window Into Our Future

Have you ever been so mixed up emotionally, that you’re not sure which intense response, is the right one?  I’m talking about pride, anger, guilt, joy, frustration, worry, empathy…  all rolled up into one big ball of mess.

The fifth grade students in Jordan’s school had the option to participate in an essay contest, writing about The Gettysburg Address. She said she wanted to try it, although I’m fairly certain her teacher was the true motivation behind her decision. Jordan would have done anything to please her teacher (empathy).

She worked her butt off for three nights, (pride) but spent a substantial portion of that time screaming and crying until after ten o’clock (anger, frustration, empathy). Because we were all at our breaking points, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how this was an optional assignment, we attempted to help her organize her thoughts (guilt- due to the outcome of the contest).

One evening, once the drama of this assignment had passed, the phone rang, (Ah, the good old days.) and Jordan answered it. After she hung up, I heard a quiet “Yes!”. She was the runner-up in the essay contest, and was very happy to have taken second place. Before going to bed that night, she said: “I’m so glad all of the hard work paid off!” (joy, pride, worry and guilt)

I didn't know it then, but this really was a glimpse into what was to come...

Thank you.

Us Too