My daughter got out of the shower last night and started asking me if I remember the part in “Shazam!” when the boy gets left by his mother. (and ends up in foster care) I told her I did and she started crying and saying how sad it was that his mother actually left him.
It was quite disturbing for her to have this reality smack her in her 8 year old head. I felt for her. It’s a painful fact that some kids live this. I hugged her and told her that was never going to happen to her, but for some kids that is what reality is. She has a very dear friend who is adopted, as does my son. The student I work with is a foster kid. He also has a list of daily physical and learning challenges on top of that.
We talked about how her friend and her brother’s friend have been loved and taken care of and we were so very happy and blessed to know them and we feel the families that have adopted them are amazing.
I also added that sometime when we feel things are hard or unfair or crappy, to think about kids who don’t have families or have similar stories and maybe it helps us realize what we thought was just too much really wasn’t.
My husband also added that sometimes we forget how heroic it is and how difficult it must be to be that parent who sacrifices to give up their child knowing he/she would have a better life with a different family.
These are all big concepts. I don’t know what stuck, but I feel like her already giant heart grew because of this conversation. Her empathy and compassion takes me by surprise. I could learn a lot from her if she could just stop rage quitting her slinky.
Tonight I stumbled upon another conversation that was totally unexpected. We were having dinner and I started asking my son about what the junior high climate actually is in relation to gender topics. … we then discussed what “gender topics” was. I feel like things in my reality have changed. The media and general ideals have started coming around and I have no idea if that evolution has trickled down to school aged kids just yet. Eventually we got to the subject of the word “Gay” and how it until recently was used as a negative slur.
He started telling us how kids in his first class of the day have taken the low road and begun changing his name (Gage) into an insult. (GaaaaaY … ge) This was done in the past to him by a boy in his 4th and 5th grade classes and so it’s a bit of a sore point. I was a little shocked to find out the nickname has found it’s way back to my kid through a different school district, different school and new brats. Boys, of course. This just began this week, also.
We talked about strategies and helped redirect some possible retaliatory intentions. All in all I think my son ended up feeling better about it…?? He’s 12, so your guess is pretty much as good as mine. I told him about the long history of name battery I endured in elementary school. (First AND last name) We laughed and rolled our eyes a lot. It felt good to have a conversation about a part of his life we know so little about. School is another world to me for him and it’s sometimes beyond frustrating not to be a part of that half of his life. It doesn’t help that school is so mired in angst and frustration and challenges for him. He’s not comfortable there, so no one gets to see the real him apart from his tiny little circle of friend.
I don’t know if I have a specific point with this one, but it felt good this week to have some deep and thoughtful conversations. I think what i’m really saying is that i’ve earned my cocktail tonight.