Blank screens are depressing

Important things have passed.

My oldest turned eleven on Friday. Sunday was Father’s Day.

I choose to write first about the day of fathers today, because we all know I don’t like to think about my kids getting older and hey Max, if you’re reading this in ten years….you’re 21, let’s go get margaritas.

 

So, Father’s Day.

My father has always been a force in my life.

Sometimes a force of fear – I mean, I still don’t know what would have happened if he ever found out about senior skip day. Or all the European alcohol. Or the (totally platonic) bed full of 5 terrified people after my first viewing of The Exorcist.

Now you know, Pop. I’VE CONFESSED.

Sometimes a force of ingenuity. I’ll never forget coming home and finding my very first car in the driveway – one that he traded a gun for – and thinking that no one in the world could ever get as much shit done as my dad. Did you ever read about that one guy who traded all the stuff on Craigslist and went from something crazy like a piece of gum to a Corvette? THAT DUDE LEARNED IT ALL FROM LARRY WILKES.

Sometimes my dad has been a force of inspiration – I know that any “some assembly required” project is no problem because I am a product of my dad. My dad could assemble and rework anything ever and make it not only functional BUT KICKASS. He had a scuba store in Corinth Mississippi, people. He can do anything.

 

My life has not been perfect. But I’ve never doubted that my dad would move mountains for me.

In that, I know that I am lucky.

I’m also lucky in that my children have fathers who – while neither of them are quite on the trading-firearms-for-transportation level – love them and would do anything for them. And do. They love kids that aren’t theirs in any way except me. They love where they don’t have to. Where most don’t.

Seriously. Some people don’t have that. I see it every day and it makes me ache with gratefulness.

So even though it’s passed and even though my dad might not read this, I’m thankful for the fathers in my life. I’m lucky and I never forget that.

From the dad who gave me life to the dad I share a bed with, I know every day that I am where I am because of you.

 

Thank you.

 

What’s not known

I’m unsure how this is going to come out.

There are so many emotions and questions and whatever else that I just really don’t know how to put a filter on it all.

I’ve written before about the small town I live in. How it’s connected and homey. How I feel safe and rooted.

And that’s all still true. I see people every day that I grew up with, went to church (or skipped out on church) with. For better or worse, it’s all familiar. All things I know.

My kids are in the same school district I grew up in. The same buildings their dad inhabited. Sometimes the teachers have even been the same. I feel safe (or I have) knowing they’re watched over and protected.

But weeks ago, there was something…unsettling that happened. It was in the week following the Newtown tragedy, which made it more disturbing. I heard through gossip (another gem of small town living) that there had been an “incident” at the school my kids attend. A gun was mentioned. No one knew exactly what happened or why, but there was

this electric tension of scandal.

So I did what any sane parent would do and I asked the kid most likely to talk – Ava. I casually mentioned that I’d heard some things about a gun at her school, and all nonchalantly she says, “But mom, it didn’t even look real to me or I would have told the teacher.”

Turns out there was indeed a gun.
On the bus with my kids, in fact.

What in the actual hell did I do with this information? What was there to

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do? I figured surely a statement would be made, policies would be instituted…something would happen, right? There was no chance I was the only parent who heard or wondered. These people are charged with keeping my kids safe, they want me to believe they’re doing that, right? I of all people know how quickly things can get blown out of proportion and overreactions can happen…when it’s my family, though, shouldn’t I get to decide what’s important and what’s not?

But nothing happened. The administration of the school district was quiet and people went on about their business. I brushed it off, because despite my bark I am really quite a pansy when it comes to speaking up about things. Now, I’m ashamed to admit that.

Last week word comes around that a principal at one of the middle schools in the district (not our school, but the same superintendent) has been suspended “pending an investigation.” Soon after it’s confirmed that he was actually fired, following a complaint of some kind.

But that’s it. Nothing has been said. No reasons have been given. Rumors have flown and minds have wandered and horrible situations have been concocted and spun. A local news station did a story (you can see it linked here) featuring the school district’s attorney, whose house I used to go to for voice lessons. And whatever good they intended to do for their situation by having the attorney speak on their behalf…well, they didn’t do it. If anything it added more distrust and less confidence.

I do not aim to add to speculation. But this is the school system I trust with my kids. With their minds. Their day to day well being. All the things I miss while they’re away from me, I have given to these people. And based on recent experiences, I don’t really trust that they will tell me if my kids aren’t safe. I think I deserve to know if someone charged with protecting my children is capable of…hurting them.

So what can I do? Really, I’m asking. Because at this point we’re all headed to live somewhere in a bunker.