Posts Tagged ‘school’

Hi. Welcome to four deaths and a fire. Not a chill place for my mind to be, but oh hell, we all have those moments. I am happy. The choices I’ve made in the past few years have helped with anger and grief. The last three months have fast forwarded my life progress by light years. My husband will argue that light years is a physical distance and not a measure in time, but I’m an author so… it’s okay.

Anyhow, It started with a request and ended with a death. Accurate summary. Doesn’t everything profound start with something simple? A decision you make now can change your life forever tomorrow. For some, Life begins.

Like childbirth or slamming your funny-bone (not everyone experiences childbirth), all beginnings are painful, out of our control and wrought with fear.  Yet somehow we grow into adults. Oh. I should mention. I was never child. By the time I became aware of living, my mind was thrust into a world of lies and deceit wrapped in the arms of an Italian mother. A mommy lifeline. Also known as a confusing long tether that, on occasion, left me adrift, swimming through confusion. Or, the cord was wrapped so tightly around my body it made it impossible to move or grow.

My mom was strong/weak. Powerful in her love for us children. Weak because she loved him, too. Her love for him became her downfall. She died. Do I blame him? Yes and no. Why, because I know right from wrong. He was the epitome of wrong. My mom died Twenty-one years ago. He died Three months ago. Funny thing… I cried as his life faded to nothing before my eyes. Cried like I did for my mom when she took her last breath.

Isn’t that interesting?

One day, after playing with my niece, my brother came to me with daunting news and a request. Dad was very sick and in the hospital and he wanted to see his children. He wanted to ask for forgiveness for being indifferent most of our lives. Hmmm. I’d already had closure about ten years ago. He came back into my life, against my personal wishes, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Another story. I’m good. Not the point. The moral of that story is you don’t deserve attention from him if your not dying anymore.

At that time, I gave him two rules of our relationship. One, he had to work at being a father. Two, if he left, that was it. He left. Guess I was wrong. That wasn’t it. When he called for us, I went. I literally said I forgave him during my first visit. He cried. By my next visit, he was back to being the angry, I hate the world man, that afterward claimed that oh, that’s all in the past, and I don’t wish people harm. My inner child smirked. I told him he really had to let go of his rage. On my third or fourth visit, I was alone with him and we had a two hour conversation in which he confessed some disturbing truths about himself. I believe it was the first time we ever had an honest conversation. Past chats included me telling him to leave at two different times, once when I was thirteen and another, I think I was seventeen, and on other occasions asking “who is she?”.

I’m pretty sure, as his illness progressed, the four of us visited every single day. We fought with the doctors on numerous occasions. We were losing another parent, and the tough years before didn’t matter.

He passed on April 9th 2018 as we stood around his bed. We sought comfort in each other and that was beautiful. Despite everything he did to tear us apart, the moment he took his last breath, we became a stronger healthier family.

Which is very fortunate… My father may have moved on, but his past is alive and well and we have been fighting to restore our legacy ever since. Crazy woman, poison ivy, a platoon of cats won’t stop us from achieving our goal. Putting to rest our past.

 

 

 

 

 

Anxiety

Posted: March 9, 2017 in life lessons
Tags: , , , , , ,

I am a strong woman who cries beneath blankets on my bed. Why? Now it’s from joy. Before, it was because my son suffered and I didn’t know it. And because I didn’t listen I made it worse. It’s a lesson I will never forget and a mistake I will never repeat.

This is the first year I could lower my guard, and dance the sly dance with an unseen demon without destroying my son in the process. He suffers from anxiety.

You can’t reason with anxiety. You can only learn to cope until the unwarranted bite from adrenaline is no longer associated with fear or a sense of doom.

From elementary school–until now–eleventh grade, was an uphill battle. A battle to get him to school. A battle to make him eat. A battle to make him smile. He’d lost so much weight one year,  we had to take him to a special hospital. Watching him melt into a gaunt, pale six-foot fourteen year old forced me to bog down into a fire that licked my heart everyday.

In the beginning, I thought like all fourth graders, he hated school. He cried and fought every step to the door. I cried and worried when I got home. This went on until middle school when he complained about his stomach. Soon after that his throat had issues which made it difficult for him to leave the house. I brought him to the pediatrician a few times but received the same response. It was nerves and he had to go to school. So he cried. I cried. And we both got angry. Every morning the stress grew until I decided to take him to a specialist. An ears nose and throat doctor.

Finally one answer. He had acid reflux. (Has)

He was put on medication and it did help his stomach and throat, but he still did not want to go to school. I needed more help. I couldn’t do this on my own.

We tried a therapist. It helped until this therapist fed his anxiety by feeding into his wish of home schooling. That’s when he lost a lot of weight. Fortunately the children’s hospital helped.

Next step, a friend referred a psychiatrist. He saw my son a few times to gauge his symptoms and then he put him on medication. I had always been vehemently against medicating children. I had to decide which was worse, trying to help the symptoms with medication or watch my son fall deeper and deeper into a depression that made him  lash out.

This Dr. is good. He didn’t go crazy or put him on anything that changed my son’s personality. My son is a funny, smart and creative kid. After a couple of months, with the help of this doctor, my son emerged. The happy go lucky kid I remember from kindergarten. It took a little while… a year to get the dosing correct, but now, though he still struggles, with the help of the medication, he can navigate the fog. I am so proud of him. He deals with his anxiety every day and everyday he wins more ground.

My children are my life. To watch any one of them suffer kills me. The greatest lesson I learned is, when any one of them are having a problem, to take myself out of the equation, don’t make it personal and to sit back and listen. They need me on their side, not against them when they are struggling with things they don’t understand.

Say Thank You
Say thank you. Say thank you to the women who gave you a voice. Say thank you to the women who were arrested and imprisoned and beaten and gassed for you to have a voice. Say thank you to the women who refused to back down, to the women who fought tirelessly to give you a voice. Say thank you to the women who put their lives on hold, who –lucky for you — did not have “better things to do” than to march and protest and rally for your voice. So you don’t feel like a “second class citizen.” So you get to feel “equal.”
Thank Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul for your right to vote.
Thank Elizabeth Stanton for your right to work.
Thank Maud Wood Park for your prenatal care and your identity outside of your husband.
Thank Rose Schneiderman for your humane working conditions.
Thank Eleanor Roosevelt and Molly Dewson for your ability to work in politics and affect policy.
Thank Margaret Sanger for your legal birth control.
Thank Carol Downer for your reproductive healthcare rights.
Thank Sarah Muller for your equal education.
Thank Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shannon Turner, Gloria Steinem, Zelda Kingoff Nordlinger, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Malika Saada Saar, Wagatwe Wanjuki, Ida B. Wells, Malala Yousafzai. Thank your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother who did not have half of the rights you have now.
You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.
You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.
You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.
You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.
You still have to carry mace when walking alone at night. You still have to prove to the court why you were drunk on the night you were raped. You still have to justify your behavior when a man forces himself on you.
You still don’t have paid (or even unpaid) maternity leave. You still have to go back to work while your body is broken. While you silently suffer from postpartum depression.
You still have to fight to breastfeed in public. You still have to prove to other women it’s your right to do so. You still offend others with your breasts.
You are still objectified. You are still catcalled. You are still sexualized. You are still told you’re too skinny or you’re too fat. You’re still told you’re too old or too young. You’re applauded when you “age gracefully.” You’re still told men age “better.” You’re still told to dress like a lady. You are still judged on your outfit instead of what’s in your head. What brand bag you have still matters more than your college degree.
You are still being abused by your husband, by your boyfriend. You’re still being murdered by your partners. Being beaten by your soulmate.
You are still worse off if you are a woman of color, a gay woman, a transgender woman. You are still harassed, belittled, dehumanized.
Your daughters are still told they are beautiful before they are told they are smart. Your daughters are still told to behave even though “boys will be boys.” Your daughters are still told boys pull hair or pinch them because they like them.
You are not equal. Your daughters are not equal. You are still systemically oppressed.
Estonia allows parents to take up to three years of leave, fully paid for the first 435 days. United States has no policy requiring maternity leave.
Singapore’s women feel safe walking alone at night. American women do not.
New Zealand’s women have the smallest gender gap in wages, at 5.6%. United States’ pay gap is 20%.
Iceland has the highest number of women CEOs, at 44%. United States is at 4.0%.
The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.
But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?
I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.
Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.
But don’t worry. We will walk for you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you. And one day you will actually be equal, instead of just feeling like you are.
~ Dina Leygerman, 2017

To all mothers and fathers, grandparents step parents guardians etc. It is time. You need to show your children respect for yourselves in order to teach them respect for others. You need to step down off that pedestal to show them we are all equal and we all make mistakes. You need to teach your children to love themselves so they know how to treat others with the same considerations. You need to show them a good work ethic and stamina to reach higher than we have and go for their dreams. Teach them money isn’t everything. That anyone or anything that tramples on other people’s lives is oppression. That to make fun of the less fortunate is simply wrong. To grow their heart and minds beyond what they see and what ignorant people say. To make instinctual choices that betters our family, our friends our communities’ lives. To understand No means No. That how you treat others is a reflection of one’s self. That people need help no matter what the circumstance. Even if the don’t ask for it. To help without expectation. Teach forgiveness by forgiving. This is very difficult, but will make their lives happier despite whatever was done or said. To teach them anything said or done to them, is never about them. That actions occur from within. That a smile and a thank you is worth more than any sum of money. By doing this, you will show your children unconditional love. Nothing they do will make YOU walk away because humans make mistakes. And even if that mistake puts them in jail for the rest of their lives…Your love for them will never die. We need to move forward together.

Another difficult morning of complaints, “I don’t feel well.” In-between smiles and conversation we have about the wildlife program that is currently on TV.  Why is the tv on? You ask… well I need something to gauge the real reason for not wanting to go to school. My son, whom I adore, has anxiety issues. They’re not just with school. He suffers every time he knows he has to leave the house.

The panic attacks didn’t start over night, but increased significantly after two close family members passed away. One happened quite unexpectedly. Me, his mom, having cancer when he was 4 is what I believe could have triggered it in the first place. I also believe this is a challenge in this lifetime that he has yet to overcome in previous, but no matter the reason or cause, I am determined to get him through it. I’m lucky that he is only thirteen. I have some flexibility, but soon that gap will close when he enters ninth grade.

I don’t know how to get him to see what is really happening. His aches and pain are real because his fear triggers his stomach to hurt. He accuses me of not believing him. I do believe him but the only way to help him is to not feed into it. He is seeing a couple of specialists and I rely on their advice since my husband and I are at our wits end.

It is very fortunate that I have a partner in all of this. We do our best to give the other some breathing space in-between the battles, and battles they have become. The school is also on our side and has worked with us since the beginning. In two months we shall know if our efforts have paid off. A long two months they shall be. All I know is that I am doing this out of love. I’m not giving in. I’m fighting for my son’s quality of life and that keeps me strong and motivated. He’s truly an amazing kid. He’s kind and respectful, smart and witty. He is going to be an amazing adult. I will not let fear take my baby’s future away.