Friday, February 10, 2017

When your new status of WOKE inadvertently lands on your 10-year-old

So yesterday I really started to embrace my new FIRED UP READY TO GO WOKE status.

This morning, I got up, showered and dressed for an early appointment. I came downstairs in my dress and slippers to get breakfast ready for the boys. Drew sat there in his bar chair and said, "Mom, your skirt is too short."

FIRST OF ALL: WHAT WHAT WHAT????????????????????????

I should explain that all this occurred pre-coffee as well.

I said, "Excuse me?" and his face fell. He started to sputter. I held up my index finger (even though Id had no coffee I managed not to give my kid the Finger). Then I said:

1. What I choose to wear any day, work or personally related, is none of your business.
(add in the second finger)
2. What YOU choose to wear any day is none of anyone else's business.
(add in the third finger)
3. What exactly is too short in a knee-length skirt?

He had no response. I guess sometimes the best parenting is so organic and unexpected that you have to capture that moment, that lightning in a bottle. I think I did okay by ensuring that he knows that his opinion on how someone, especially someone female, is dressed has no bearing on him in the least. But along the same lines, how he dresses has no bearing on anyone else's life. And he will not shame a person for their sartorial choices. Not once in my house. Not once in my presence. Not once while I am teaching him right from wrong.

Poor kid walked right into my new status, and I don't think he know what hit him. But I hope whatever hit him sticks in the most positive of ways...

Thursday, February 09, 2017



That's what I feel today.

Today, I celebrate the birth of my IEP baby thirteen years ago. Eight days ago, I mourned the anniversary of his passing.

And every day, I am now more open, more welcoming, more accepting, and more aware. We have a new sheriff in town, and I do not like his education deputy. The extraordinary education of our special needs population could hang in the balance, and today, I thank God that as a parent, I am not as worried as some of my friends, because my special boy's time in the education system ended abruptly a few years ago with his passing. Now...I have more time and energy to give to THEM, and their special babies, to help be sure that the exceptional teachers who helped us, and helped him, still have ways to meaningfully contribute to educating all the members of our next generation, they typical and atypical.The IEP process isn't the pinnacle of efficiency. How could it be - it's an instrument of the government. But it is better than nothing. Giving parents "choice" to take their students otherwheres and removing federal protections cannot reasonably support a family already overencumbered with a lot of hard knowledge.

A lot of you know what it's like to have an atypical kid, because at the core, we're all atypical, some just more than others. Now, add into that having a language barrier because up until about 10 days ago, we were a country that welcomed everyone. Can you even fathom explaining a metabolic condition to someone whose first language isn't English? Medical terminology is hard. It's HARD. It turns you into someone you weren't - overinformed, exhausted, replete with the knowledge of how something is supposed to work and how your child's particular case doesn't work.

And then they want to translate that into educational terms too.

It's utterly overwhelming. Since I'm not overwhelmed by that any more, but still burdened by my knowledge, it's time to turn it on to help Connor's classmates, his friends, his community.

I see it all, and I won't let them take education away from our most fragile citizens.

WOKE, friends. In honor of Connor.

Thursday, February 02, 2017


Thanks, first and foremost, to all who found a way to touch us yesterday. It was a day, very much a day, and we got through it together. It was the first time I permitted my children to play hooky. That says something. We took a family hike, had all our meals together, and Lee and the boys set up an altar for Connor.

A few days before, I got home from I think basketball, and there was a package from me from my dearest Anne. If you have been reading here for a while, you'll already know that Anne and I go backc to the Utah Shakespearean Festival, and that when Connor died she hopped on the train and came down and stayed for days, helping us (mainly by doing dishes, if you ask her) and keeping the homes fires burning alongside our families who also flocked to our sides.  Her daughter is one day younger than Connor. Long story short - we're tight.

Anyway, I opened up this slightly lumpy package, and found this:

Then, I started to cry.

700% is the overtime we had with Connor. The doctors told us he would likely die before his second birthday, possibly before his first. But he didn't. He showed us from the first moments of this dark path that he was not going without a fight. And now I have a bracelet that reminds me of him, and of his fight, that I can wear every day. If someone asks me what it means, I can choose to tell them the whole long story, or I can just say, "It's a family thing," and hope they leave it at that. But I like these reminders of him that I can wear outside, especially ones that fill me with pride because it accounts for all his fight, and our fight too. Without knowing it was happening, he gave me the gift of unending fight. And these days, there's a lot of fight that's needed, so I will wear it to remind myself that I can't give up.