We Look Towards Our Leadership… And They Failed

We trust our school council with the lives of our children. Our children, the most precious things in a parent’s life. These are the people who we are entrusting right now to make an informed decision on what’s best for the education of our children during these uncertain times. Sure… we have an option of remote learning no matter what they decide, but that’s not the point. The point is: why weren’t they better prepared?

The schools should have been working on a plan since March to come up with all of these “what ifs”. What if this virus gets worse? What if it’s still a major issue come fall? How do we do a great remote learning plan in case we need it? How long do we offer remote learning? Will we open school in phases, like the state did? There are so many questions I have. What if my senior in high school gets exposed one time, then needs to quarantine for 14 days? He can only miss 16 days for the entire school year, so what happens if he gets sick or has to quarantine for another 14 days? Are they getting rid of the attendance rules? My youngest has anxiety attacks. Are we going to put him in a “sick room” with another kid who might have the virus because he’s showing symptoms, so he can get infected? What if he has an anxiety attack and tears off his mask because he’s hyperventilating? These are real concerns and I’m not unique in struggling with them.

The meeting had flawed statistics. Of course the remote learning wasn’t successful. Half the time the sites were down and the teachers were completely unprepared and were thrown into this remote learning plan without any real experience with it. How can you say that you can’t really measure attendance and the success of remote learning and then show charts of how unsuccessful it was? Great, there haven’t been many cases of kids getting sick in Chicopee… because parents have been smart about protecting their kids. My kids also didn’t get a bad flu like they normally would during the early spring because they weren’t in school either. The original basis for the recommendations for face to face learning are flawed to begin with. But we’ll stick with the flawed recommendations because…. why not?

Maybe we should listen to our teachers. You know, those people who are severely underpaid for what we expect of them and under-appreciated who are tasked with educating our children for 180 days a year. Maybe we should take their concerns, being on the front lines and all, and listen to what they think is best for our kids. They’re the ones in the schools. They are the ones we are asking to risk their lives for our children. Maybe they should have more of an impact on this decision.

At the meeting, it seemed like the representatives were unprepared. I sat through this 2 1/2 hour meeting for answers, because I wanted to be prepared. So I could make the best decision for my children. So I could be prepared. I looked to the school council to help me be prepared. I looked to them, the people that we as citizens of this city voted in, to give us answers so that we knew what we were going to do as a family for our kids. And these leaders and our mayor failed us.

Some members of the council, including my ward 7 councilman, asked great questions. What about lunchtime in the high schools? The representative from one of the high schools stated the precautions they were going to take. My son laughed. “I can barely get lunch some days because the cafeteria has no room for us. How do they think we’re going to accomplish 6ft. distance?” He’s right. My kid gets it. Why don’t they?

It started out to be a reasonable discussion with the school council giving their comments, until the Ward 1 councilor passionately spoke on the subject. Which led to a heated… tantrum. Which led to a postponement of the vote. For a week. Us parents need to wait anxiously for another week when they should have been better prepared. They should have had a better plan. The meeting was a failure. It was embarrassing as a resident of the city to see things turn ugly like that. It was frustrating to sit for nearly 3 hours to get answers, to get nothing but watching grown adults shout at each other. It was awful to realize that we have trusted these people to make these decisions and they couldn’t do it. Instead we get a “Well, let’s do remote learning until Springfield starts their hybrid approach to see if it’s safe enough for our students”. What? Let’s see how those sacrificial lambs do in the next city over to see what we’re going to do? Insane.

At this point, I’m not sure why I’m more afraid to send my kids back to school. Is it because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be going away? Or is it because these representatives of our city are the people making the decisions that directly impact my kids?

The Impossible Position of Our Schools

Our district just laid out a draft for the upcoming school year. I feel bad because no one is going to be happy. The fact of life is that they can’t please everyone. They will get slammed with insults. How dare they make our kids wear masks?! Good luck. Maybe I’m unique in making my kids practice wearing masks in anticipation of this requirement, even if we’re at home. Why? Because the masks aren’t going away anytime soon and neither is this pandemic. It’s common sense.

The smart play would be to take this process in phases, much like the reopening of the state. Start off by doing the remote-only option for students who don’t need any special attention at the schools. This allows the students who actually need to be in school, whether they receive OT or other services, to go there in the safest way possible. Then, as the situation starts to get better, slowly transition into their hybrid model. Then finally, when they get to the threshold of under 5% positive cases, they can safely return to full-time. It should be a slow, phased-in process. If it’s good enough for reopening the states, it’s good enough for the schools. If things start to get bad again, roll back to the previous phase.

Granted, I’m not an expert on the educational system. This is all opinion as an outside observer. I think a rational approach, not a political one, is the approach we should take. This isn’t the teachers being too lazy to teach; it’s them not getting paid enough to risk their lives (or the lives of their loved ones). They didn’t sign up to be babysitters, people who take bullets for our kids. But that’s often the realities of their job. The perception of their job. It’s not their fault a pandemic has taken over the country and there’s no leadership stepping in to stop it. They definitely didn’t sign up to potentially die of a virus in a slow and excruciating manner because parents need the kids to back to school.

As a parent, I’m concerned about sending my kids to school. I’m concerned about them bringing something home that could kill someone with my craptastic immune system. I’m concerned about them bringing something to school that could potentially kill someone else. I’m concerned that my kid won’t keep his distance from others or keep his mask on all day. I’m concerned that my oldest will take an overly crowded bus to school, then swap around to 7 different classes and god knows where he got whatever he brought home. It’s a mess. This whole thing is impossible for our underfunded school systems to deal with. And they aren’t the ones responsible for this mess.

So let’s not get mad at the schools for trying to keep our kids and themselves safe from becoming another statistic of this virus. Let’s work together and start supporting our schools for everything that they do for our children. Ask what they need. My school district gives out lunches during the week, even though it’s summer, to ensure the kids are eating well. My school district seems intent on wanting the safest approach while still educating my children. I appreciate them for trying their best and working with what they have. They deserve our appreciation, not our scorn.

Misinformation and You: How You’re Helping the Problem Get Worse

I browse my social media feeds, and it’s shocking how many people take memes seriously. As if memes are a way to get valid information. I hate to be that guy, but they’re not. Memes are funny and catchy. Generally, if you read information on a meme, it’s probably not true. The way people stand up for Dr. Stella Emmanuel for her brave stance on the “COVID-19” hoax is what is wrong with America today. This is why we have anti-vaxxers and a resurgence of diseases that really should be a non-issue anymore. Why are the same people against anti-vaxxers now supporting the claim of someone who talks about demon sperm? Because they see that their political party supports her, so she must be reliable.

If Dr. Fauci had said anything about conditions being caused by demon sperm, as someone who suffers from gynecological disorders, I’d say dude is crazy and maybe we shouldn’t follow what he says. I don’t care about political parties; I care about science. The problem is that science can be skewed and people eat that stuff up and believe it. Why? Because their political party fan pages tell them so.

So what’s the common denominator here? People who blindly follow and don’t really care about facts. They just eat up whatever people want them to think and just trust it or don’t really care to do their own research. And the people in charge are okay with that because if you can think for yourself, you’d call them out on their crap. Me? My allegiance will always follow the facts. I do my own research because, we have the internet and you can always do all the research you want on your own. However, the minute that you just follow a specific biased site or non-reputable biased sites that flat out lie, then you aren’t really doing your own research. You need to read around different sites and determine what’s real and what isn’t. It takes time and patience, but damned if you come out more logical on the side.

Maybe I’m just unique in the fact that I don’t side with any political party because I mistrust them. I can maybe think of 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 politicians that I would really stand up for, and that’s a very small number. And spoiler: they aren’t from the same party. I respect politicians who state facts, not skewed opinions offered as facts. I respect politicians who stand by their principles, even if it makes people hate them. That’s what I respect. That’s why I don’t trust Pelosi or Schumer or Trump or McConnell. They want us to be divided because it gives them more power over us. It pits us against each other so they can retain the power that none of them really deserve.

I feel like I keep reiterating the point here, but people need to start waking up. People are dying from a virus because it was made into an “Us. vs. Them” political statement. It isn’t. It’s a “the damn virus is going to kill us all if we don’t stop being jackasses who only care about what political party someone is” problem. I saw a Facebook thing, and it said “How many of your friends are Biden followers and how many are Trump followers?” My answer: who cares? I don’t determine someone’s worth by their political beliefs and if you do, that’s your problem. Strike that, that means you are the problem. You are why America is going downhill. We’re Americans, dammit. We are built on the principle of free speech and following our own beliefs. We didn’t become free because people sat around and listened to what people in charge told us to believe; we became free because we fought against that.

Can I Send Them Back Yet?

Like most parents during this coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming school year has given me a lot of anxiety. This anxiety could be eased if I had some sort of expectation of what will be happening in the upcoming school year. With about 6 weeks to go until school starts, I’ve already started getting my youngest in the routine of going to bed/getting up early so he’d be awake for school. But aside from that, my normal preparations of buying school supplies and clothing that I’d normally start planning early based on sales isn’t going to happen for me yet. Why? Why should I buy $200 of school supplies per kid if they don’t end up back in the classroom? Why spend double that on clothes if they are just going to be in their pajamas behind a computer?

I understand why there is so much uncertainty. People were hoping this would be gone by August/September and the kids could go to school as usual and things would be great. But people are dumb (yes, I said it. Dumb people who don’t take precautions are why this is still a problem.), so things can’t go back to normal yet. But where does this leave us? They say we will have some idea of what’s going on by Friday of this week… or of next week. They did release something to give us an expectation of what to expect, plan-wise, but there are too many unknowns.

Based on the information as I interpreted it, there would be a hybrid option and a remote learning option. Every kid is different, and this is exactly the situation in my household. My oldest, who will be a senior this upcoming school year (yikes!), takes an overly crowded bus to school. My youngest walks to school and has a 504 plan in place. Both of these scenarios requires a different approach and I’m a firm believer in individualism.

If given the option, I would let my oldest take remote learning. He’s a bright kid who can work well attending classes online and would keep up with his work because he has goals of going to college and going into forensics, something that he takes very seriously. Plus, I would argue he is at a higher risk of infection because of him being on an overcrowded bus and just because he has a mask on, doesn’t mean the 3 people he’d be sharing the row of seats with would. There’s also the fact that high schoolers switch classes throughout the day, meaning there is an even higher risk of contact. Common sense would tell me if there was a kid that was going to be likely to bring it home with them, it would be the high schooler. He’s likely going to at least miss out on swimming anyways with everything going on, so there won’t be a risk of him not being able to participate because of remote learning.

Then there is my youngest. If given the option, I will be sending him for hybrid learning. First of all, he has a 504 plan with occupational therapy and I’ve tried unsuccessfully to perform those services for him. There’s also the social aspect of it. While my oldest spends all day texting or talking to his friends on Discord or playing games with them, my youngest still needs to develop those important social skills. How to behave in the classroom, how to interact with other kids. Those are things that can really only be learned in the classroom. Having time in the classroom if it’s safe enough, meaning that they can follow the safety guidelines, is beneficial to my youngest during this crucial time in his development. Would I be mad if I didn’t have this option? No, because safety is more important than anything and I’d rather do remote learning with my kids than put my family or other people at risk of getting sick. Honestly, parents already send their kids to school sick half the time because they can’t take the day off of work or they don’t want to deal with it. That’s just not acceptable under these circumstances, so who knows what kids are going to be going to school with. I hope it’s safe and while regulations are great, they puts a lot of assumption that people care enough to follow them. They don’t seem to do that already.

I don’t put any blame on our school district for not having more answers. Should they have been planning something since this all happened, just in case? I would hope that they already had some sort of idea of what the next school year could look like, even if they only recently received the state guidelines for reopening. I’m trusting in the teachers of this district to be the voices of our students, like I’ve trusted the teachers in this district since my own experiences growing up in these schools. My trust in the school council is far less certain, but I’m hoping for the best. This is something new that we’ve never experienced before. This is a new way of life that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, as cases are starting to spike in some areas.

In Careful Consideration: A Political Post

I try to avoid things that are too political. Why? Because in the polarizing world that we live in today, you get disgusted comments about how you’re a lib-tard snowflake or a Trumper without anyone taking what you are saying with any consideration at all. People don’t want you to disagree with them or have thoughts that are independent of a political party. That’s insane, right? Not being bound to a specific political party, rather just having your own, independent thought that doesn’t have a party? Crazy.

I have opted against that. I’m sure in my passing comments you can gather that I’m not a fan of the president. He was voted in and I respect the office, but it’s way too hard to respect the man in the office. I didn’t necessarily like President Obama, he had his moments that I applauded him for and things that left me go “Huh, how about no?” And that’s OK. Because your beliefs don’t have to be bound to a political party. That’s what America’s all about. You can be different. You can speak your mind. You can say that you don’t agree with the president without it being more than just “I don’t agree with him”.

It does scare me in writing this. If a president can just send a militarized police force wherever he wants in the name of “Law and Order”, what’s to stop him from secretly going after anyone who speaks out against him? It’s apparent that no one cares to stop him from doing anything shady. I don’t see him deploying secret military to quiet down KKK rallies. What if President Obama did that? Would that still be perfectly fine? The answer is probably not and there would be riots over this blatant disregard of the constitution, as there should be. If people are protesting responsibly, respectfully, and there’s no violence, then anyone has the right to protest whether you agree with them or not.

I keep thinking about things that are going on right now and all I can think of is “What if President Obama did that?” President Trump blames President Obama for stuff all the time, but I distinctly remember watching Fox News segments where they would go off on President Obama because he blamed President Bush for things. “Well, you’re president now and the buck stops with you, right?” President Trump blames President Obama, and all they do is defend it saying “Well, he’s right to blame him because look at the mess he left for President Trump to clean up.” You can’t have it both ways. You absolutely can’t have it both ways. And, no, I don’t think it has to do with Fox News being racist; it has to do with the fact they are pandering to the Republican base as CNN and MSNBC pander to the Democrats. It isn’t about fair reporting; it’s about money, power, and ratings.

It is with careful consideration that I make such controversial statements as I just did, that you can criticize a president no matter what party is in power. You can criticize politicians that are paid with your tax payer dollars to represent you. That’s what America is all about. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since people would consider other points of view and be open-minded to the fact that they’re wrong about something. Maybe things would start getting better if people were more loyal to silly things like facts than a political party that only wants power and money that comes from their positions.

The Break From Reality

For a while, I’ve been at a point where I’ve been too in awe (in the worst way possible) about the things going on around me. It’s been a painful realization that it has been a while since people cared about silly little things like facts, reason, and common sense. It’s all been taken over by a brainwashed lemming mentality from people of any party that doesn’t care about anything other than what their party leaders want them to believe. Take this whole cluster of a coronavirus situation as a perfect example of this.

The far right think there’s nothing. It’s just a flu. Who needs to wear a mask? The flu kills more people, this is just a scare tactic to control the masses. Fake news. The democrats made up the coronavirus pandemic to hurt the president’s chances of re-election. Masks cause more harm than good. They don’t protect you and you can get lung issues from breathing in the CO2. Masks interfere with my civil liberties.

The left has made it their sole job to make the right look bad. Which, in all honesty, they have been doing pretty great job of doing that themselves without the left helping. However, demonizing people from the right for standing up and going with their country over their party (as they should be doing) just because “it’s too little too late”. Just because they are Republican, it doesn’t make them bad. Being a lemming Republican that follows an inept president without even questioning any shady thing that he does is enough for me. I applaud the ones who are willing to speak their conscious. I’m happy that there are Romneys that exist that march for civil rights when the matter should’ve been resolved already or talks about how commuting a sentence of someone who didn’t rat the president out is actually pretty corrupt and shady as hell or how he actually believes the coronavirus is a big deal. Instead of demonizing people just because they don’t believe as you, maybe focus on being the bigger person.

I could go on from all of this, but it hurts my head to think people are so blind to actual facts that it doesn’t matter to them what reality is. They just want to fit in. They don’t want to question their leaders, who they have put on this pedestal and worship because they believe these people are their saviors. I don’t worship any politician. They are flawed, selfish, and cowardly. I don’t worship journalists, because they care more about ratings and money than facts. I do worship facts. Facts like maybe at first Trump gets a pass because it was a novel coronavirus so at the beginning, people didn’t really know much. But as the situation progressed, the country needed a leader, not a petulant child that cares more about ratings than Americans dying. That blames a president that wasn’t even in charge when the virus took hold of America. That blames the press for blowing it out of proportion or the medical experts because he doesn’t like the truth. Because facts are fake news to him.

Instead of leading, he caused further division. By never wearing a mask, he made it a political message, just as the Democrats flaunting their’s did. I don’t wear a mask on the rare occasion that I go out because I’m associated with a political party; I do it because honestly I’m not an idiot. When a medical professional tells me, “Wear the mask and avoid crowds”, I’m going to trust that medical professional that I trust for my medical care over what the internet or social media tells me. Do I mean to say that by not wearing a mask you’re an idiot? That I judge you for not wearing one when out in public? Honestly, I wear it because I like to be informed and safe and the same reason I vaccinate my kids even though the likelihood of them coming into contact with the measles is rare. If you don’t care about whether or not you get sick because it’s just a flu or because you’re going to develop asthma from wearing it, it’s not my problem. It’s not my concern or place to judge people. You obviously have a strong enough immune system to fight anything that comes your way. I don’t have that luxury.

Taking Advantage of the “Free” Time

It wasn’t too long ago that I was at the healthy weight I wanted to be at, keeping in shape for a while. Then specialists appointments and evaluations and youth sports and changes of medication all hit at a time that ended up snowballing into weight gain. Combined with the fact that once you pop over that 30s milestone, your metabolism is nowhere near what it used to be. I didn’t prioritize myself, which is a common factor among most women who are struggling to breathe most days let alone worry about whether or not they got their workout in.

Right before the pandemic hit, I had been switched to a new medication and was able to start losing weight. Then that weight loss vanished and went to a significant gain while I had to manage my workload, remote learning responsibilities, trying to be an occupational therapist with no training, and managing reminding my oldest about his AP exams. Then there was the also trying to keep everyone behaved upstairs and on task while keeping the youngest away from Daddy, who was working in a makeshift office in the basement.

One of the problems that happened with my first round of weight loss was that I stuck to a severely strict diet, which really wasn’t going to be maintainable after the fact. I didn’t care, I just wanted to lose the weight fast. I enjoy working out, it’s just finding the time. I enjoy salads, fruits, and veggies. It’s just when you add in other things, such as convenience meals and eating on the go, that becomes a problem.

I had to take a look at what my problem was. It wasn’t that I over-indulged when eating. Even at my heaviest, I couldn’t eat a lot in a single sitting. My problem was the snacking. The mindless eating at my computer as I worked or when I stress ate snacks without paying attention to how much of it I was eating throughout the day. Those are the things that added up. Those were the real lifestyle changes I needed to make.

After doing some research, I did find myself interested in intermittent fasting. What this would do is take an entire piece out of this equation: the mindless eating as I worked. By timing my daily “fasting” with my work schedule, I would eat a light lunch of a sandwich or salad at around 1 or 2, eat supper at 5:30-6:30, and maybe have a light snack if I felt like it at the end of the day. I would eat in the kitchen, standing at the counter after I made my lunch. If I wasn’t done with work, I would go back to it after I ate and was careful to only bring a glass of water back with me. I would not eat anything past 8 or 9, and do the routine again the next morning.

I didn’t work out the couple weeks of the fasting. I wanted to see it work on its own and I manage to lose about 5-10lbs by sticking to that. I focused on portion sizes without giving up something I enjoyed. For instance, I would only have a single slice of pizza and eat a leafy green salad. The important thing was to I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any negative side effects, like dizziness or other issues that would impact working out. Plus, losing a little weight before getting back into it would probably make working out more effective, or at least help me have the stamina to do a workout.

Here we are today. I started probably back in the latter part of May and I’ve successfully hit a major milestone and am back to my pre-quarantine weight, if not less. But it’s not about the weight. It’s about staying sane in a time when things are on fire in the world around me. I do yoga every morning, followed by a workout or two (dance workouts, usually). On days when I feel overwhelmed, I do another workout (usually something like an MMA-style workout) instead of grabbing a snack. I feel better afterwards, and I’m getting healthier and stronger every day.

This isn’t about looking cute in clothing or trying to make my husband happy by getting into shape (because he honestly doesn’t care about that). My priority is getting healthy because I want to be healthier. Before, it was about getting into my pre-baby clothes or that astonishingly skinny level I was at when I was a teenager/early twenties. That was another change in mindframe from the last time I lost weight. I wanted to not look horrible in photos or out in public. This change of focus has really been a key factor in my success.

The takeaway here: my approach changed and my weight loss has been significantly more successful. I didn’t lose much during my dreaded female time, because I can barely function like an actual adult, but I still lost something. I acknowledged the realities of why I gained weight/maintained higher weight, and adjusted it to my lifestyle. It’s not about looking good; it’s about feeling good. It’s not about following a bunch of rules or giving up the things you enjoy; it’s about learning how to enjoy them in a different way. These are the things that helped me. Intermittent fasting isn’t an ideal choice for everyone, for health reasons. But this was the best way to resolve an issue I had with my eating habits.

I look forward to what the future will bring in this new journey to a healthier me. Because this is something sustainable. And I look forward to not feeling too terrible to run so I can get back to that. If you want to get healthier, the point is to find the best approach for you because we’re all different. You need to find something that you can stick to. And you need to be sure that you do it for you.

Living in this New World

I can’t say that this being locked up thing is getting to me. It honestly really isn’t. I wasn’t one who really liked going out too much anyways, so being forced to stay home for the sake of my own terrible immune system and to protect others seems perfectly fine to me. I never really use babysitters aside from 2-3 times a year, so having the kids around me 24/7 is something that doesn’t get to me because that’s my normal anyways. I can get more work done. Fit in more time for things like working out and clearing out the DVR of all those trashy reality shows I didn’t have time for. What perfect time to escape this horrible reality we live in right now than fake, trashy reality shows that gives your brain a break?

As things start to open up, I keep going “nah, I’m good”. I’m not ready yet. I won’t be ready until the numbers are down to next to nothing or there’s a vaccine/actual medicine to help prevent the virus or significantly reduce the symptoms. I’ve very much prone to upper respiratory infections. I’ve had sinus infections so bad the doctor orders me to take steroids and bed rest. If something like that can take me out, the idea of something more serious doesn’t make me feel safe at all.

But schools will be starting in fall. My youngest will have his 8th birthday in September and my oldest will have his rescheduled Confirmation ceremony a few weeks later. These are events where I would normally throw parties that people love because I make a lot of adequate tasting food. But having a party while this is all going on? That’s silly to me. I have family members with compromised immune systems. I have a terrible immune system. Attending parties like this or inviting parties into my home is not something I’m about right now. Other people can make the choice to have a massive party, but honestly I’m out. I’ll be clear right now. Nope. Don’t be insulted. I don’t mean it as an insult. But I have to make decisions that are right for my family. And I don’t think my family could function without me.

After discussing an idea I was offered by my father with my husband, I realized a great idea to have some celebration for these events while minimizing risks. People can come to the house between certain hours on those dates if they want to drop off a present and/or just say “Hi”, then they can take a cupcake and goody bag for the kids, then people can keep cycling in as they want throughout the day. I don’t have to worry about figuring out a socially distanced birthday party with my small house, which would be even more complicated if it rains and I can’t take advantage of my decently sized lawn. And I can properly disinfect after each guest. And it helps people who don’t want to sit around at a kid’s party all day long so that they can leave without sounding rude. It seems like a great idea in theory. We’ll see if people get insulted when they get their invitations.

The point is, everyone is working through this matter at their own pace. Some people are ready to have big parties, and that’s okay for them. Some people aren’t ready to do anything. That should be equally okay. People shouldn’t be insulted by people not wanting to attend parties right now. I’m waiting until my doctors and the experts on this matter to say “It’s all good now, folks”. Forcing others to move at a pace they aren’t ready for and shaming them or getting angry at them for working at a different pace is actually kind of selfish and terrible. People interpret information differently. Some insist this is a hoax. That’s cool. Some prefer to err on the side of caution for whatever reason. That’s also cool. It’s not your place to tell anyone what they should be doing while people are dying around them. You do you, let me do me.

Navigating the Tricky Season of Preparing for School Next Year

The school district my boys attend had their last day of school yesterday. With another school district releasing their tentative guidelines for next year and the state releasing theirs, it has caused a lot of… mixed feelings. From uninformed people saying their kids are going to die of carbon dioxide poisoning if you make them wear masks and the others fighting about how selfish non-mask wearers are, there have been a lot of opinions on this topic. As usual, I’m here to share mine and I’m choosing to look on the positives.

For instance, the biggest positive is that I won’t have to do “distance learning” with my kid every day of the week. Sure, I’ll have to do it 2 or 3 days a week potentially, but I’ll take that over struggling to get them to do their work done every day. Those other days, they will have the teacher in the classroom helping them out as best as they can with restrictions in place. I’m sure their help, even as restricted as it may be, is going to be a lot better than what I’m doing as I frustratingly scream at my youngest saying “Just use a calculator, I don’t even care anymore.”

I have started “doomsday prepping”, if you will. I ordered materials to make masks for the boys for school so that they can comply, while being as cool as possible. I bought some Spongebob fabric for my youngest, and this really neat “peacock” colored fabric for my oldest. I bought supplies ahead of any announcement because honestly, I don’t want to be put in a place where I’m stuck without anything I need and I have to resort to “homeschooling”.

I will be sending my boys back, even if these strict guidelines are in place. My oldest is going to be a senior and he needs to have as much of this senior experience as he can. My youngest has his own set of issues and getting him back into the strict routine school offers is going to be the best thing for him. Will getting him to wear the mask be hard? Maybe. But as someone with a terrible immune system, I’m okay with having extra protections to ensure I don’t get sick. It’s fine when you’re a healthy person to throw a fit about making your kid wear a mask, but this is for as much my protection as it is his.

I think the smaller classroom sizes only benefit the kids, especially kids like mine with sensory issues. With less “noise” going on around him, he might be able to focus better. The teachers may not be able to closely interact with the students, but they are still going to get more individualized attention in the classroom instead of getting lost in the shuffle of 19 other students. The teacher will be able to take more time explaining things that other kids are struggling with.

People tend to always have this knee-jerk reaction of negativity, without looking at the positive. Like, now I get to send my kid back to school for at least some of the time and regain some of that “me-time” I haven’t had since March. If done well, this could be a positive thing for students. I have to start thinking about the positives because right now everything seems to be on fire around us in the world that we need to start looking at the positives in the situation.

The Duty of Writers

Writers are expected to have moments of poignant insight that stirs strong emotions in our readers. We’re supposed to be observational. We’re supposed to offer insight and opinions, eliciting some type of response. We are the people that others turn to in order to forget about life for a while, imagining other lands, or just to help them process something that they were otherwise struggling with processing. It’s a heavy weight to have to bear sometimes.

To continue with my last post, I did want to discuss what went on last week and what is still going on today. Tuesday’s post was to offer disdain for the people who were complicit in letting things get to how they are today and how we can help to make things better by voting those complicit players out of office. I did try to make it clear as possible that I stand with those fighting injustice. Today, I wanted take a different approach. I wanted to make it clear that sometimes it takes a fire to start fresh again. These protests are the fire, both figuratively and literally, it seems. It isn’t just one race marching; it’s a rainbow of support across the spectrum. Fighting racism is no longer an “Us vs. Them” mentality. This is a matter that impacts us all. We could sit quietly, but that’s not how change ever happens. That’s not how the LGBTQ+ community earned their “rights” (I use quotations, because they are still struggling to get the rights they deserve). That’s not how women got the right to vote. That’s not how the civil rights movement started. It started from people who were willing to shake things up.

I don’t condone violence. Police are there to protect people, not harm innocents. You shouldn’t assault a police officer because of the uniform they wear. Bad officers deserve to actually get punished for their crimes. The fact that they aren’t is the sole reason why people have trouble trusting the men and women in blue who are supposed to protect us. It’s the same reason why many struggle with Catholicism. You sweep a problem under the rug enough times, eventually people are going to revolt. It’s an unfortunate consequence of terrible actions. Rather than face things head on with courage as they should, they ignore the problem. They defend the indefensible. Sure, I had my knee on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, but he was on drugs and had COVID-19 and had heart problems and how was I to know that when he went unconscious after saying that he can’t breathe that putting the full weight of my body on his neck was going to hurt him? My bad. Over a potentially counterfeit $20? That’s why people are revolting. How many cases of brutality from cops do we hear? Even more terrifying, how many don’t we hear about?

I won’t immediately jump on the “f- police” bandwagon. I’ve had family serve with honor. My son hopes to be in law enforcement, with the goal of helping injustice in the world. To do so, would be a slap in the face of those good officers who died on duty while serving and protecting. But I also think that people do need to rise up and fight against these injustices that are hurting Americans. This continued racism is passed on to other generations. I see that when my son wasn’t played with because he was a “little Chinese boy” or when he told me about how other kids think he looks weird. I’m not blind to what’s going on. And these are kids who learned racism was okay from their parents. Kids aren’t born to hate; we teach them that. Our choice is to teach them to love and to fight for what they feel is right. My oldest wants to change the world by tackling change on the inside. As skeptical as I am that he can make a difference, I believe that I raised him with enough compassion and conviction that he can be one of the many of the next generation that can create change. Because that’s what we need right now.

So it’s not “F” police; it’s “F” the institution that encourages the bad behavior and refuses to hold those so-called “bad apples” accountable. How many crimes do they get away with, while their brothers and sisters protect them at all costs? Those are the people you want to get rid of. Not the ones taking the time out of their shift to play soccer with kids or giving them a reward for wearing a helmet while out biking. You want to encourage the good and get rid of the bad. When that happens, when you stop allowing them to be the judge, jury and executioner, then people might start trusting the police. It’s their job to enforce laws, not make them up as they go or only enforce them when they feel like it. Police should have the compassion for dealing with people while being courageous to help those in need. They shouldn’t be killing people on camera with no soul in their eyes and let people say “Well, this was a misunderstanding…” Sitting on a neck for nearly 9 minutes isn’t a misunderstanding; it’s murder.

To sum all of my 2 day posts up? It’s the institution that breeds and accepts these awful incidences that are at fault, not every single man and woman in blue. It’s the media at fault for pushing the agenda that makes them the most money. It’s the politicians that remain in power because they have divided and conquered us, while we sit around and blindly follow them. We are the ones who can make the change. Through protesting to see changes in policing policies and fighting for true equal rights. Through electing these people out of office. By stop watching the mainstream news because they are lying to us anyways. Maybe losing money and ratings will encourage them to start being the honorable institution that they once were. These are just some ways that we can help turn this sinking ship around.