After the inauguration of the sitting president of the US, I wept fairly routinely for several weeks. It wasn’t a stretch of sobbing, heaving ugly cries, but rather an intermittent shedding of tears of despair when I’d think about what we were losing. If, after the past few months, you still celebrate the behavior and policies of the current administration, you will probably not wish to read any further. It’s OK. I believe in the Constitution (you remember that little document, right? I mean, someone has to, right?), the right to free speech and protections from persecution for differing opinions. We can disagree. Go ahead and curse me for the bleeding heart liberal you hate me for being. I will find a way to live with that.
I don’t watch broadcast journalism often. Really, almost never, and that started long before this buffoon’s reign; I moved into my bubble of ignorance when another political buffoon, more locally and personally destructive, rose to power and diminished my livelihood in 2011. Still bitter, yep. After January’s inauguration, news blasts came to me via Twitter because my psyche couldn’t manage the barrage of executive orders and the talking heads’ interpretations. I joined friends at the Women’s March through their photos and video feeds. It’s terribly egocentric, but I remember thinking this: The “new world order” would demand that my son’s class trip to Washington, DC would be canceled.
Many, MANY more people have lost and/or stand to lose things considerably more substantial than a class trip. Their very lives, for example. I understand my concern is superficial beyond superficial; I am not THAT poor a steward of human decency on this earth. But my blog is neither political nor social commentary (usually not anyway). My blog is about me, and my son so I’m writing about me and my son. That’s how we roll here, see?
Working and living in a large, urban school district, we often fall prey to sweeping mandates and/or knee-jerk reactions for reasons not always entirely clear to the masses. My opinion. With the faintest whiff of fear or fear from backlash, the district has previously recalled travel itineraries. Believe it or not, this isn’t a nasty criticism–I have avoided educational administration my entire career. There is no sum of money I could earn that would entice me into being someone’s boss (and friends, salaries are certainly bigger than mine, but it ain’t like principals or special education supervisors are exactly breaking the bank–for the work they are charged with, they’re grossly underpaid). I don’t envy the decision-making high-level district administration does. When you’re responsible for young lives traveling nationwide or abroad, you cancel when a terrorist or travel threat looms. I understand.
Somehow we’ve made it to April, 2017. Well, almost. It’s March 31 anyway.
My thirteen-year-old is going on his class trip to Washington, DC!!!
Sunday morning at 5:30 AM, I am to deposit my six-footer in front of his school–backpack, carry-on luggage, blanket, pillow, wad o’cash, and iPhone–in tow. We began planning this trip before his muscular dystrophy diagnosis, back when we believed he was merely a clumsy kid. Before. When there was a before. The thought of him being denied this trip he’s been excited for and planning more than two years was more than I could take. So yep, I’m a selfish jerk. Gimme a name tag. I don’t do name tags, but I might consider this one just this once.
Or this one.
I was (am) nervous about his adventure because, um, yeah. He’s thirteen and not super independent. Or coordinated. My generalized anxiety about my kid being gone a week is compounded by a factor of 5.4 gajillion adding MD to the mix. He can still walk, yes, but he fatigues easily and often. This trip is crazy with the walking. He has poor fine motor skills, and I worry about his ability to handle cash. For at least a year, I’ve had visions of his cash raining all over DC, and not in the comedic “make it rain” way. He forgets to collect change after cash purchases. He worries he’ll be left behind (moving more slowly than his very nimble peers), so attempts to move quickly. Quickly for him nearly always results in him dropping whatever he should really be taking great care to manipulate. He only recently has begun to smell nice (read: wear deodorant without maternal prompting) and bathe without prodding. He doesn’t snore, but he does breathe loudly, and one of his roommates is very concerned about that fact, thus in turn, he is concerned and so is mama. I’m worried he’ll have to use the toilet on the bus, and we have been warned: Whatever is deposited on the bus, remains there for the duration of the trip, and I’m like please God, if you’re a thing and we don’t have really any kind of relationship whatsoever I know, but please don’t let my kid take a dump on the bus. pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease don’t poop on the bus, Son.
He is going to have the experience of his young lifetime. I was never afforded any type of opportunity like the one he’s preparing to head out for in all my years. I wish him every adventure and happiness, and I wish it was timed under the tenure of a different commander-in-chief. Though logically, I believe it won’t, somehow I feel like his experience will be diminished, and NO, I have not voiced this opinion to him. My child, he of the shitty disease, determined all on his own that it’s not cool to mock disabled people. My child, he of the multicultural school, determined all on his own that his Muslim friends and classmates of Mexican heritage aren’t the children of rapists and murderers. My child, so often on the sidelines, so often residing in a world of his own imagination, populated only by himself and his thoughts, is mine. Well, ours actually. He is a decent kid. Like some great historical figures, and some of more recent note, he persists. They persist. This class trip is going to happen, and I’m thrilled for the kids.
In his youth, our nation’s first president wrote 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. I’ve broken at least 89% of those rules in this post alone, but the kids are going to Washington, so I have to mention at least one of his rules. I think maybe if our founding father had social media, he’d have tweeted this. It’s a good one to send my kid off to DC:
Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.
Persist, my boy. Have fun. Be good. Do good. Just don’t poop on the bus, OK?