We are a month into school and the sky is back up where it’s supposed to be. Which wasn’t the case when we got our teacher placements so I wanted to wait to make sure we fully recovered from the “sky is falling” classroom announcements before commenting on them. The hitch was the assignments for my 3rd graders. Once I received the email I knew right away that I’d be serving up disappointment for dinner with a side of life stinks sometimes. Boy twin got the teacher girl twin verbalized wanting since the last day of 2nd grade, girl’s two BF’s were also in that class and she had to be in class with boy’s BF which I get…is totally gross.
And so for a second I let a part of me venture down the “I’ll just call the school and ask them to do an ole switcheroo.” I know schools love requests but this was an easy peasy exchange – one for one. But I then came of out of rescue mode because this was not a dangerous situation and saving Milana would completely undermine her strength and tenacity that is so innate in her.
On my drive home from work, I tried to muster up the words to ward off the verbal and possibly physical blows that would be coming my way. She’s got spirit, yes she do. I walked in the house, sweating, and was ready to have my all-star parent performance when my mother informed me that my husband already shared the news and they all went to practice. “Phew!” Grateful to be off the hook, momentarily. My mother then informed me that it didn’t go over well and hysterics ensued…so basically “Be Ready.”
Sure enough when she got home she snuggled up in my bed to catch the last bit of educational TV for the night (there is much to be taught and learned from Big Brother’s Head of Household) and confessed her disappointment spatting those familiar words “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!!” I had to admit to her that I got every teacher I ever wanted with every friend I ever wanted… that actually I was born 40 years old and got to skip every kick in the shin or wanna kick somebody in the shin moment.
After my snap out of it kid rant, I told her that I COULD understand why she was disappointed and reminded her that it was just last year that she survived moving schools. Also, that her two best friends in Blaize’s class get to actually remain her friends… this is a harder concept than it seems. In fact, I’ve come to realize that proximity for the 3rd grade brain is a very important factor in maintaining relationships… which with further thought I recognize it kind of is for my brain too. I have many really great relationships that are a grayer shade because of distance… preserved considerably by the edited pics on Instagram and up to dates on FB. Keep ‘em coming friends!
I also reminded her that she initially did not like her 2nd grade teacher because she had an accent and it was hard to understand her and she was certain “this just isn’t going to work out.” This once thought to be 2nd grade predicament quickly became the pinnacle of her school experience of which all others will need to be matched against. I shared with Milana how like last year, that sometimes – if we let them – disappointments can flip the switch on us and situations can be better than we could have ever imagined. But being knee disappointment deep is so hard at 9, at 19, 37, at every. damn. age.
I remember when my dad told me in college after some tragedy (so important I can’t remember it) that “don’t worry honey, this builds character.” I remember saying “Dad, I’m kind of over character building. I could play lead as a Disney character at this point.” But life just keeps coming at you. We are basically all track stars… hurdling mountains out of molehills. And we are often called to run really hard races thus the reason we need good training.
My primary job as a parent is to keep my kids safe… not unscathed. I also believe that to keep them safe, emotionally and mentally for the long haul, I need to help them pull the ‘didn’t get the teacher you wanted’ bootstraps up and move through disappointments so they learn to keep “I GOT THIS” in their back pocket. They are going to need it… as young adults… as old adults… and hopefully one day as parents themselves.
So not saving my kids from these life bumps will likely mean that tears and tantrums will present but parenting isn’t a 50 yard dash…it’s a bloody toenails, calf cramping, ‘why did I do sign up for this’ rat race every single year. Again, training… it comes back to good training and I’ll throw in good shoes. Managing a tantruming toddler in uncomfortable strappy sandals can derail you like no other.
So life is kinda fair. Because nobody is immune from disappointment, pain and setback and “All the love in the world won’t stop the rain from falling” (Thank you Tears for Fears). The good news: Each one of us has internal rain gear. We need help finding the pockets we keep the dry socks, umbrella and galoshes. We need help at 9, every day in our 20’s, soon to be 41 and throughout the blows of break ups, illness, addiction, death and the cavalcade of Charlie horses that can present in a life.
I’m ready, willing and (if necessary will fake being) able to be my kids life jacket. Believe me you come at my kids with drugs, face tattooing or some church cult life …. I will come at you with some Mama Bear Jedi Ninja Mojo like you’ve never seen. I got spirit, yes I do…and just enough crazy to be dangerous. So I’m all for rescuing when threat to safety is looming but I’m more for teaching my kids to swim and make sure they know I’ll play standby with floaties and a big ass beach towel.
Hugs and Love,