Friday, April 29, 2016

An Open Letter to My Daughter's Teachers

I get it, I do.

You are stressed beyond the max. I can see it because I've spent the last year coming in and out of classrooms as I learn to become a teacher.

I know its not your fault.

The system is broken.

I am so sorry that our government has failed you.

I am sorry that you work endless hours for crappy pay, and it just plain ol' sucks.

But I see you. I see what you do everyday. The love and energy you put into these kids.

I am so angry that our government won't give the next generation of Americans what they need to keep this country great.

I know Alexandra is a handful - I live with her.

I know she's got a mouth and a half. Its partly just her and partly me.

I'm sorry I am not as politically correct as I should be, I have no filter, and say whatever comes to mind because I just don't have the time to think about what I am saying. - Alexandra has only learned from me.

But she is also a product of her condition. This means she is spoiled, thinks she is the center of the universe, and demands you do everything for her. - I'm sorry that I created that monster - I wanted to do whatever to keep her breathing.

When you spend your time just focusing on staying alive, you do stupid things. You can't really think about the future person your creating because well - all you want them to do is live to see tomorrow. Now you have to deal with my mess. I'm sorry.

I know you've got so many kids on your workload, and no one to help you. They won't let the aides be more involved - which I think is totally ludicrous - and its all because as Americans we are sue happy and offended by everything.

Why can't we just love?

Why does our state government make up stupid Propositions that 'say' they will help our public school system when they'll just earmark the money for something else?

I am so sorry Alexandra's teachers. The system has failed you, and failed her. You became a teacher because you wanted to make a difference - same reason why I want to become one. All you have received is nothing in return for the lifetime investment you are making in our countries future.

I hear you. I see you. I know you love Alexandra. And I know she says things she shouldn't. She is literally a force of nature. We will never tame her. I truly believe that to tame her means we will kill her.

But when I see pictures like the one at the bottom of this page - I see the real Alexandra. The sadness, the pain. The inability to understand why she was chosen to bear such a weight.

God, I would give ANYTHING to make her be normal. I would give anything to make it so she sat still in your classroom and just learned everything without jumping out of her seat and saying she's gonna 'shoot' someone.

But you see - those sarcastic whips, those little jabs she makes at you, and at other kids, that's her defense mechanism. She perceives everything as a potential threat.

I am so sorry teachers. You work so hard. You have given and given to Alexandra. You have given to me. I know you have jobs to do. And when a child says something inappropriate you have to worry about every other child, and what that child's parents would think.

I mean I think some parents need to grow some balls, but....whoops. Sorry.

We have created so many laws to make sure we are this or that - we can't even live. What if we just loved? If we just loved, wouldn't we be able to understand our fellow human more? Wouldn't we all have a greater understanding of the human condition?

So teachers - I am sorry. I am sorry that you have to bear this burden. Soon I will be one of you. Trapped by the rigors of the political system that has over reached and buried us with laws that they should have no business in - because we as humans can't accept one another. So we have to pass laws to force people to accept. My God if that isn't the most far from what Jesus' message was I don't know anything.....

I'm sorry teachers. I hope Alexandra can be better in 4th grade. I'm so sorry.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Compassion and Belonging

I've been thinking about compassion.

What does compassion look like?

Is compassion a perceptual thing?

What about love? Are love and compassion intertwined?

In my opinion absolutely.

When I exude love - when I make a conscious effort to just love people for just being people - I exude compassion.

In being a part of the amazing organization that is Stanford Medicine X I have had the honor of being introduced to people I would have never come in contact with in my every day life.

These people have expanded and grown my love for humanity. I see people's reasons for why they do what they do - and don't fault them for any of it.

People will make mistakes. People will do things that will make you angry. You won't always agree with every one.

But what you can be is compassionate. You can allow them to be who they are. They don't affect you - you allow them to affect you.

Every day you have the choice of how you will react to the days business.

And just so everyone knows I react badly all the time - I'm not saying I'm perfect.

But what I've decided to do is accept people for who they are and appreciate their experience as a human BEING.

I have chosen to think twice before reacting.

When we look at each other with love in our hearts - we can feel the connection that ties all of us together.

I am so grateful I have had the opportunity to be a part of a diverse and supportive community.

For the first time in my life - I feel like I belong.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Brutal and Beautiful - and some snippets about teaching

I flipping love this woman. Momastery. Glennon Melton.

"We live in a world who wants us to choose this or that, I'm good or I'm evil or I'm a saint or a sinner, but all that's BULLSHIT."


I have been beating myself up over Alexandra and her behavior at school. I mean like mentally berating myself over it. There's a mental picture of myself standing there, and then there's the other me that's beating myself with a baseball bat. And I take it. I take every hit.

You know what? She is never gonna sit still in class. (um does any child sit still in class?!) She is gonna open up her big mouth and say some stupid shit that really means nothing....why? Because she's her Mother. (and quite a bit of her Father too)

I have a big mouth. I say stupid stuff. I act a fool. I'm the Mom that 15 minutes after putting her children to bed, opens their bedroom doors and starts singing and dancing to "Pets" by Porno for Pyros.

Alexandra has only learned from the best. Her behavior is exactly what she sees. So who cares?

Look we have an extraordinary life. Sometimes the homework is not gonna get done. Sorry. (and the funny thing of this is I am going to be a teacher but I am like uh, homework, that's a suggestion) Sometimes I'm gonna say eff the homework and go get an ice cream. It's a free country.

I'm sitting here crying as I write this, and saying "I just wanna be okay" and then I laugh and say "No wait, I am okay".

I may be ruining my chances at a future career as a teacher by saying all this, but why don't we just flippin start helping kids desire to learn. Helping them love to learn. Helping them be like "OMG that is so flippin cool Mrs. Edges, I flipping love SCIENCE!"

Cause guess what? If you help them love to learn, they'll learn. They sit in the palm of your hand while you repeatedly teach them and blow their mind at the same time.

SO yeah, I'm gonna be the teacher at the end of the hall who has dance party before morning work, or does some insane algebraic thinking by using an XBOX to play Just Dance. Like statistically how many times can Billy get a perfect score while dancing to Bad Romance by Lady Gaga?

Do we think kids don't want to learn anymore because of some 5 inch amazing feat of technology that's in their pockets? Probably. Well why don't you show them how that 5 inch amazing feat of technology works? No kid wants to sit and do 3x-5 = 50 all day. Well some do....

So yeah, Alexandra is going to get up in class, wave papers in the teacher's face and act a fool. But she will say things that are downright amazing, and far beyond her age.

Aria, Aria likes to talk, A LOT. She has the vocabulary of a 60 year old, and uses phrases like " I am strategizing how to brush my teeth Mom". WHAT FLIPPIN 7 YEAR OLD SAYS SHIT LIKE "strategize".

Let me give myself a pat on the back for giving my children a large vocabulary. (it was probably all those old WWII news reels Kevin and I made them watch)

So moral of the story.

Kids want to learn. Alexandra wants to learn. But she is gonna be a pistol about it. Sometimes she is going to act like a lunatic and make up stuff, and other times she is so on the game you are like what?!?!?!

Alex is going to be harsh. She is going to be difficult. She lives in fight mode, she has been since day 1. Its what her brain knows. She is going to say things that will hurt your feelings. She doesn't really mean it.

I have been living in fight mode since May 1, 2006. Its brutal and beautiful, like Glennon says above.

I will never be perfect and I am going to eat Wendy's if I want to, and dance if I want to, and take a nap if I want to.

There will be finger prints on the floors of my house because the oldest likes to make her sister into a dog and literally puts a leash and collar on her and trots her around the house like she's walking her dog. No joke. (I bought them the leash and collar at the dollar store, pretend play is good)

Aria loves being Alexandra's dog. Or cat. Or rabbit....I have seen many different animals who have been domesticated in this house through pretend play.

We are gonna live. In all its messy glory. And I will be a teacher. I will be this crazy insane science and math teacher who makes kids love learning so much that they act like fools for it. I wanna be like Bill Nye was for me as a kid. (OMG LOVE THAT GUY)

So go live. Go out and have a ball. Do your thing. And if your kid says "son of a bitch" remember who he heard it from.....