Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Rough Kind of Day

Tequila, also known more frequently as "Fat Cat"
Well, it's been an interesting week so far. Hopefully, it will grow LESS interesting as the days continue to pass.  Not only did we have a student suicide last week, but there was also one in Buffalo, a 14 year old boy.. That one, sadly, made headlines, as being connected to bullying issues. And then someone, not sure who and I guess it doesn't really matter, decided to call a Buffalo news station to let them know about "our" suicide, so that it, too, could be linked to bullying (a fact which is totally un-knowable at this point. It is pure conjecture, as Lee did not leave a note to explain his reasons, and some kids say yes, he WAS a target, other kids, including my own, say no, he had lots of friends and seemed like a pretty happy kid. IF he was bullied, his family was not aware of it, which would seem rather odd to me. Whatever. At this point., I'm really, really SICK of the whole topic, tired of people arguing about it, tired of people blaming the school for not stopping the bullying, tired of people in the school blaming the parents. Tired of blame, period.  It's a huge issue, but it encompasses SO MUCH. Having the TV crew come to my little town, my little school, did NOTHING but enflame people, fan the fires.I feel for my Superintendent right now, who is taking many of the hits on public forums - like it is somehow solely HER fault. I stopped by her office yesterday morning to check on her, and found her pretty upset. It only got worse as the day went on. There were, by the end of the day, rumors that
Annie. I love her smiles!
the mother of the child who died had called the news herself and was showing up at the Board meeting last night, also, along with the news again, to begin the process of publicly blaming the school.  Oddly, and uncomfortably, her father, the child's grandfather, has been our longstanding School Board President for many years. I could not figure out how that was going to go. Again, there is SO MUCH BACKGROUND to this whole story that comes into play, and it isn't even worth it to attempt to go into it all. Nothing could be better than to take what we can from it to try hard to ensure it doesn't happen to others, and then move on.  Dwelling on the negative, feeding on it, is like swallowing poison and then passing the glass around.
Yeah, the grass needs cutting,, but it was too nice a day to do that
In addition, as if that weren't enough for my Super to be dealing with, apparently there was another issue last week as well, that only came to public light this week. A bus driver for our pre-K program left a three year old on the bus, strapped into her car seat, in the seat directly behind her. How she missed her, forgot her, I have no idea. But the fact is, she drove the bus into the bus garage, got off the bus, and left the little girl alone on the bus. Sadly, she was also ONLY discovered when another parent called the bus garage because her son left his backpack on the bus, and the transportation supervisor went to check for it on that bus. Thank GOD. Literally, thank GOD that child forgot his backpack. THOSE parents were DEFINITELY on the agenda for last night's board meeting.  By early afternoon yesterday, it was pretty clear that as many of the faculty and staff , as many of us, who could show up to present a supportive front for our Superintendent, our school, our transportation supervisor (who felt HORRIBLE, absolutely positively HORRIBLE about the bus driver, though it was no more his fault that she left the child on the bus than the superintendent's fault a child committed suicide)  would be good, and necessary.  The day was an unsettling one, to say the least..
I love watching the sun go down in the west, over my side fence, through the trees. 
It made me glad I had had such a good weekend. I kept going back to it yesterday, in my mind. It was a tense and long day. It ended ok. There were a lot of us there. I was proud of that. We are good, most of us, and do ANYTHING we can to stop and address bullying. We don't deserve the "rap" we're getting. ONE of us even has a letter in her file for attempting to stop bullying a year or so ago (yeah, I can KIND of laugh about it now, but it's STILL a sore subject) . There were no news crews there. The Board President thanked us all for coming to support our school.  The parents of that poor baby left on the bus were there, and when they went into executive session with them to discuss that personnel issue, it was clear nothing bad was going to happen. We were able to head home.
     But it was the picture of my fat cat, and my smiling dog, and the sun going down in my back yard Sunday that somehow were able to keep me grounded yesterday.  I had a GREAT weekend. It's not been a great week, but I think it's getting better.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Week Done

It's Friday, Cue sigh of relief...
Another week done, and a better one in so many ways, for the wider community of school and town.  I'm thankful. Not so much my own family - still some serious issues that need attention here, and a big one that popped up out of nowhere this week. But, we'll deal with them.  And I feel comfortable in my role of Mama Bear - "Don't you mess with one of my cubs, because I will rip you to shreds in a heartbeat."  Well, maybe not quite in the mode in which I'd LIKE to, but I do think I have resources to fall back on, places where help can possibly come from, and if I can't SHRED someone, at least I am hoping to be able to HELP my child. But, I can't do anything until Monday. So, between now and then is a great-looking weekend. There's NOTHING in it that is required of me, if I don't feel like it, except being prepared for, and showing up to, work on Monday.
Oh, there's a ton of laundry and dishes and vacuuming and the never-ending cleaning to be done. The lawn needs mowing. The rabbit needs brushing and plucking. The coop could use a cleaning. I'd love to take the dogs for a walk, or at least a good romp and a few games of tug of war in the back yard. I need to find the bedroom that I believe might exist in that room, that place, that my second son, the one now off at college, existed in for the past few years. I'd like to reclaim it as a bedroom for him, not as a second garage, a workshop for engine repair, that it became in the past few years. And then there are still all the projects half completed that need finishing, but they won't see completion, any of them this weekend. It's complicated, but it's also not. Since I can't do a lot of things I need to, and should, I will do a lot of things I'd rather. I have two good books started, and need to get a copy, soon, of a third one I should be reading, also. I have a few shows taped that I'd like to watch, and two movies I need to preview for my classes at school for background on Appalachia in the 70's. I have peanut butter cup cookies to bake, and maybe a large craft show and farmer's market to wander around in tomorrow, if I can make myself get up that early to get there. Since there is no chance I CAN complete some of the projects this weekend, I intend to force myself to simply do the things I WANT to do. That's so much harder for me than it sounds like it should be. We'll see what the score is, come Sunday night!
It's a quiet house this weekend, a laid back one. I'm looking forward to it. The cats have already gotten an early start on THEIR big plans for the weekend. .

Friday, September 16, 2011


Summer is over. I wrote nothing this summer. I'm not really sure why. I guess it was a combination of just BEING in summer, instead of analyzing it, thinking about it, writing about it. It was also not a super happy summe for me. There wasn't really anything particularly or specifically bad about it, but I struggled with some left over grief over my dad's death, and struggled to face and accept some of the changes I knew were awaiting me at the end of the summer. And the longer I went without writing, the worse I felt about not writing, which made me even less able to start again. Finally, this week, I knew I wanted to write again, and decided who cares if I haven't written for two months. So, here I am again, for better or for worse.

Sadly, September is always the month of adjustment for me anyway, and I was struggling, as usual, already this month. It's hard to get back into the habit of not being able to get enough sleep, of having to give up doing things I like in favor of things I HAVE to do:  correcting papers lesson plans, jumping into my days with a bunch of noisy 9 year olds instead of quietly sipping my coffee on the front porch, listening only  to the roosters crow. I think it would probably be easier, in the long run, if I had a 12 month job, instead of having my summers off. I just enjoy them way too much, and DISlike aspects of my job way too much to ever be able to make a graceful and smooth transistion. But, I was working on it, and this week was better, or would have been better, than last week. And next week is bound to be slightly easier still. It's the way of things.

Or, it is, until you throw in a teen suicide of a student in your youngest child's class on Monday evening of this week just past. Then, the week gets far more difficult than you ever could have anticpated. Only, unfortunately, I DO know what it's like. We all do. It's the second suicide of a classmate of one of my children in 4 years time. And the pain and wounds and hurt the first suicide caused have not yet healed over, and now there is this one. A terrible, violent ending of a life not even fully begun. No answers to the why, no answers for his parents, grandparents, brother. No answers for his friends, classmates, teachers. And when the adults have no answers for the kids, how do we comfort them, help them, teach them to grieve? How do you comfort those big, tall boys wearing their work boots, and Carharrt Tshirts, who don't know what to do with that terrible, open pit of sorrow?

I don't know. I don't have any answers this week.
I'm not sure there ARE any answers. Welcome to September. October will be better.