This was not the post I had intended next. I thought maybe something light and cheery was in order. You know balance the challenges and the gifts but while life usually tips far, far into the range of things to be grateful for it doesn’t always.
Have I ever mentioned the little clutch of fear I get whenever my phone rings and it is the school’s number? Usually it is unfounded but not today. Today it is the school guidance counselor. Little Man is being bullied at school. I start crying again the minute I type those words so I guess I am not as sniveled out as I thought. I have always known he would face unkindness someday. But knowing a thing and living the thing are, well, two separate things entirely. I am both heartbroken and ragingly angry for him. A part of me cannot understand WHY? He is such a sweet and loving kid. He has differences yes but he is unfailingly kind to others. WHY must someone hurt him, emotionally and now physically? What purpose does that serve? To the person or to the grand scheme of things at large?
The news is full of people who hurt those who are different. There is this horrifying story and this, and – well I could go on – and on - and on - except really, I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t read any more. I can’t face any more of it. Thank God Little Man has not faced anything that traumatic. Yet. And there's the worst part. He could. Someday he may. Because I cannot stop it. that's what I have to face right now in this moment. No matter how I try I cannot always be there to protect him. And if you know me, you know that I will have to DO something in response to this incident even though I know that reality. The only real question for me is what to do beyond cry and curse? Punching out a second grader is not really a viable option (and the tiny shred of rational me available in this moment knows in the long run it would not help.)
I talk about being the change you want to see in the world, and this is one of those places where the rubber meets the road. To lash out and cause more pain and anger and maybe shame would be easy to do but it would not move us toward what I really and passionately believe is the only answer; understanding, empathy, and celebration of what makes us each unique.
I call the school back. I know – and really believe – that all the members of his team really truly care about Little Man and his emotional as well as physical well-being. I know they have their procedures and that the “offending party” will be “subject to appropriate discipline.” But could we look at something else too? Please? Can we look at the diversity programs they already implement and add on to them? They focus on things we can see; skin color, family differences, mobility impairment. Can we go deeper still? All of us have differences – and many, many of them are invisible, like Little Man’s neurological differences. There are children throughout the school with invisible differences. ADD/ADHD. Diabetes. Autism. Mental Health issues. Some in special programs and some not. Can we address everyone about the importance and value in ALL differences, even those you cannot see on the outside? Does a program like that even exist? If it does, I’ll pay for it. If it doesn’t I’ll help create it.
Because, Because, well that’s obvious right? I know this is not a problem I can fix but I have to do SOMETHING! I am trying to live up to the words of a very wise friend - who is also affected by FASD. "The question, he says, "is always what would LOVE do?"