I sat for just a moment in my car today before I went in to get Alex.
I was thinking about a Kindergarten boy, so small he has a booster seat on the bus, I found out today his mom just might be dying. It’s her heart. She has good days and bad days, but she HAS days.
I felt my own heart sway and shudder for him . . . for her . . . for the fact that I know these things
Most of my students are “those kids”. The ones you, deep down in places you don’t talk about at a Scentsy party, are glad aren’t yours.
Collectively my students have
- speech problems
- trach tubes
- g tubes
- hands so non functional that even with multiple surgeries those hands still look . . . I will be kind and say “unpleasant”
- a history of sexual abuse
- head lice
- facial growths
- speech so unintelligible their own parents can’t understand
- IQs below the average range (85 to 115 with 100 being average)
- IQs below 70. Which yes. Makes them “the R word”
- bad teeth
- more bad teeth
- clothes too small
- no bath time
- pull ups
- free lunches
- been shaken as babies
- step parents
- no parents
I’m not here to preach. I’m totally human. Those hands I mentioned? Oh they freak me right the fuck out. Fair or not, they just do. I won’t judge anyone for what they might fear or what they might think, to themselves, about MY students. Think what you want, but treat my students with some integrity or prepare to deal with ME.
Those little punks LIGHT UP when they see me coming for them. That helps me cope with what I know about them. Their files confess to me like I am a priest.
Today I learned that in my tiny tiny district, we have 30 students identified who are categorized as homeless. THIRTY. out of less than 650. THAT WE KNOW OF. and come on, we know there are more.
My heart. My tenderheart is swayed, and I have to figure out how to cope with that, because this is a marathon. It is September and I have so many months to go, I have to figure out how to go balls to the wall for 8 hours at work, shake it off, and come home to be healthy for myself and so many things to Alex.
My job as a person just got so much larger in this tiny place. So if I’m quiet for a while, it’s because I am over here thinking. I am finding my quiet so I can find a new center, because wow, I am needed and more than ever, my act has to get together so I stay up to this challenge and because I know these things, I can’t look away.
This is why I have a fancy diploma that says I’d make a perfectly good social worker, but it sits unused. My tenderheart couldn’t take the continual beating after beating after beating after beating…
And sometimes (like tonight) even stepping away from that job I once loved doesn’t help. All the pain in the world finds me and smothers me and I can’t breathe. And the words disappear. And my heart breaks again.
One old Family and Children Services worker once told me, “You get used to it after a while.”
But I never did. Maybe that’s why I had to walk away…
(And also? We’re on the same wavelength tonight. Proofing post that just eeked its way out. Publishing momentarily.)
Well frap. I just ran the numbers. That’s 4.6% homeless. Shaysus.
Big *HUGS* and strength to you.
VDog (THAT Victoria)
Oh honey. I’m so proud of you. Do Missouri real good now, ya hear? Xoxo
You are their angel.
I know I commented last night…but I haven’t stopped thinking about this since I read it. I want to say something encouraging, something insightful…but I got nuthin’. Keep being who you be. You’re good at that. And that’s what they need.
This is what makes you perfect for the job. It is a challenge, yes…but you are rising to it.
My g-tube/speech kid (who would talk your face off..but is working on her R sand Ls), would love to have someone awesome like you working with her.
I love you and your tender heart, taking care of these beautiful babies
Thanks (?), Ira Glass « Kaiser Mommy
[…] of my floundering at work – […]
Jenny from Mommin' It Up
Oh Dawn, Dawn, Dawn. I love you, I just LOVE you. Sophie as you may know is speech delayed and she is in her 2nd year of a preschool class which is half kids w/ delays and half “typical”kids. Let me just tell you how much I appreciate her teachers and her therapists at school. We live in THE CITY – aka a poor school district. Many of Sophie’s classmates make my tenderheart hurt on a daily basis just when I see them at drop off and pick up. So you and your counterparts at Sophie’s school are like saints to me. I have you high on the pedestal. That you go in there and deal with that hard, ugly, unpleasant stuff every day and give those kids what they NEED means so much to parents like me who WANT to do everything for their kid but can’t – I am not an SLP! Or an intervention specialist. I work my butt off with Sophie at home but I. NEED. THE PROFESSIONALS! And for the kids with parents who don’t give a rat’s ass, or just aren’t there, what you do for them is priceless. You show them they are worth the effort. You help them get to their best, to reach their potential. You didn’t have to take the job you have. But you chose to get risk your tenderheart, and I thank God for you & those like you. I’m praying God gives you what you need to be the best at school, the best at home, and blessed, blessed, blessed in every aspect of life. <3