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Bullies Suck

bully

 

I sat here for at least 10 minutes, stuck on what I would title this blog post.  Finally, I decided that there is no better way to put it… bullies suck.  After being bullied mercilessly as a child and teenager, I now get to watch my own children suffer the same fate.  Just what the hell is wrong with people?

Now, I am NOT the mom that thinks that everything is bullying.  Kids can be obnoxious and sometimes, they truly don’t mean harm by what they are doing.  What I am against, is the children who constantly put down another child and the brats that put their hands on another kid.  It’s sad to know that they get by with it.  Hell, it’s completely heartbreaking.  Schools claim they have “no tolerance” for bullies but it just isn’t true.  This isn’t a new thing, it’s something that has happened for as long as there have been kids.  So, what should we be doing?

My kids are adorable.  They are sweet and loving and that in and of itself, makes them targets.  You have a child that shows emotion?  You might as well be painting a giant bulls-eye on their back.  The more perfect a child is, the greater the chance that they are going to be tortured by another kid.  Name your son “Paris” like I did and you might as well just kick him yourself.  Yes, what I just said is harsh but damnit, this is serious!  What we do as parents directly affects our children.  We can try to change those things or we can sit here with a “woe is me” attitude and we can complain about something that we don’t try to fix.

A few days ago, my youngest son came home sad.  I knew something was wrong and when I asked him, he shied away from me.  Paris (my 9-year-old) spoke up and he told me that Bristol was sad because of the bullies at school.  Paris then turned to Bristol and he told him how proud he was of him.  Then I heard the details of what happened at school that day.  Another student was getting picked on at school so Bristol stood up for him and he asked the bullies to leave the kid alone.  Almost immediately, the bullies turned on him and they began to kick him under the table.  Bristol didn’t mention a word to the teachers.  How could they not have known?  Bristol told me that after it happened, one of the boys was acting like he was pointing a gun at him and was pulling the trigger.

It’s only been a week since Bristol came home and he told me that he needed to take chips to school the next day “or else”.  I asked what that was all about and he said that one of the boys in his class told him that if he didn’t take chips for him the next day that he would give him “a whooping”.  Really?  Physical harm over chips?

Things for Paris aren’t much better.  Of my 3 boys, he is the most sensitive and always has been.  In Kindergarten, he would come home crying, telling me how the kids on the bus were making fun of him and calling him names.  Their favorite torture was to call him “gay” and by the time he was 7, Paris started to believe it.  I taught him how to respond to bullies and he honed his skill.  He would come home on the bus and say, “Hey, mom!  The mean kids picked on me but I did what you told me and I didn’t let them see me cry.  I just turned my head away so they couldn’t see my tears.”  As a mother, to hear your child say that, it crushes you.

After one of my boys was punched in the stomach during the morning bus stop, I changed their daycare and I put them in the before and after school program.  That way, they never had to ride a bus again.  I hoped that it would stop what was happening but that was short-lived.

Nearly every day, my boys come home telling me what another kid said or did to them.  While sometimes I think my boys are trying to get some extra attention from me, all the other times, the mom in me wants to go find the kids’ parents so I can punch them in the throat.  But then, I’d be just as pathetic as they are.  Double standards…

I’m thirty “something” now and even though I grew up and moved out of the town where I lived, I still carry those horrible, horrible days with me.  Sometimes, I forget what I ate a few hours ago but I can always tell you who my bullies were in school.  The school bus was always the hardest thing for me.  When I would get home, my hair would be full of gum and spit wads.  And that’s IF I got off of the bus successfully.  Once, two of the bullies on my bus (who were sisters and the bus driver’s kids) reached under my seat and they tied my shoe laces together.  When I stood up to get off the bus, I tripped and fell and I hit my head.  Another day, they painted the back of my new shoes with nail polish.  Life on the bus was hell for 10 years and then I took matters into my own hands.  As a plea bargain one morning my Freshman year, I grabbed bottles of alcohol from the cabinet at home.  When I got on the bus that day, I tried my best to act “cool”.  I tried to be different, as different as possible.  I thought that if I was bad, maybe they wouldn’t be so mean.  By 8:30 am, I had given a handful of kids enough Wild Turkey to have them passing out on their desk.  I never touched the stuff myself, of course, that didn’t really matter when I got called into the principal’s office.  The principal talked to me and asked me why I did it and after I told him, he said that if he had it his way, he wouldn’t have to punish me at all.  We all know that he did anyway.  I had a day of ISS (in school suspension) while the bullies got to have out of school suspension.  It was the one and only time that I ever got in trouble and it was only because I was at my wit’s end.  After that, people on the bus left me alone.  Sometimes they would even try to sit by me and talk to me.

I know what bullying is.  I got it at school, I got it on the bus and I had the joy of having it at home.  They cut my hair,  ruined my clothes, took my school papers and ripped them up, spit in my face and they laughed at me every chance they got.  I would hear their whispers and I’d gather my things when it came to my stop.  I’d try to hold my head high and I’d walk off the bus and into the waiting fists of my step-dad.  I had no “down time”, no break from the pain.  Why couldn’t someone have stood up for me?

People, we have to change.  Bullying ruins lives, permanently.  Our children deserve so much more than this.  We deserve more, too.

 

KC vs. DC (Part 1)

Wikipedia says that jet lag is: physiological condition which results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance transmeridian (east–west or west–east) travel on a (typically jet) aircraft.  Well, Wiki, I believe you can “suck it”.  I disagree!  It doesn’t take a trip from coast to coast to be exhausted.  Just stick three kids on a plane anywhere and everyone on it will have jet lag and an urge to smack someone.  (disclaimer: this is where I say, “I do not condone violence.” blah blah blah)  Forget snakes on a plane, my biggest fear is KIDS ON A PLANE!

When I found out that I would be traveling to Richmond, VA for a work-related conference, I had the brilliant idea to include my family in on the trip.  I can tell you now that there is not enough Xanax in the world to prepare you for the combination of three kids, their first flights, east coast traffic and no escape from the little spawns of the devil (wait, that makes me the devil).  I love my kids to the moon and back, everyone knows that.  But damn if they don’t make me want to yank every hair from my head sometimes.  <——— possibly the under-statement of the year.  My kids are ADD, ADHD and many other acronyms for “crazy ass kids”.

A few months ago, I secured our flights, rental car and hotels.  I guess I didn’t take into consideration how much everything costs nowadays.  For the cost of those three things and the short-lived happiness of a vacation, I could have had the breast augmentation I’ve always dreamed of and a life full of joy.  Missed that chance.  Again.  I should have had it years ago with my EIC (earned income credit) from the IRS.  Because THAT’S a good use of a credit for making children. They are who ruined them in the first place.  Breast feeding three kids sure “sucks” the life out of your boobs.  Okay, I got off track… Redirecting myself now…

We had months to prepare everything in our life for the trip.  There was money that needed saving, arrangements for the dog’s boarding, packing, etc.  A week before the trip I called the schools to let them know the boys would be out and that they would need to pick up their homework so they could take it with them to be completed on the trip.  Of course, the smart-ass of the house tried to get his teacher to feel sorry for him by telling her that the plane was going to crash on his way home and that he really didn’t think that he should spend the last days of his life doing homework that he wouldn’t be able to turn in anyway.  Those of you close to me have a pretty good idea which kid said this.  Of the three, he’s the one most like me.  Sometimes it can be a good thing but much of the time, watch out world!

*** Stay tuned for Part #2, coming 3/28/13 ***

If the World Ends Tomorrow

If the world ends tomorrow… I will hug my kids a little tighter.  I won’t wait for bedtime or “owie’s” as the main reason for a squeeze.  As they run through the house screaming and being obnoxious, I will close my eyes to the fact that they are running in the house and I will close my ears to their screams.  I will make a point to sit each one of them down, alone, and I will look into their very soul and I will tell them just how proud they have made me, how they have given my life purpose, how they have made me wake up every day and thank God that I am alive and how they are the most special thing in the entire world.

If the world ends tomorrow… I will remind myself of all of the great things that I have accomplished and I will take the time to forgive myself for all of the times when I “slipped up” or made a mistake.  I will remember the dreams I’ve had, the trials and tribulations and I will smile when I think of all that I still have left to do.  It’s only when we stop making lists that our life is done.

If the world ends tomorrow… I will tell everyone in my life how much I love them and how they have changed my life.  I will rely on a hug in person rather than a Facebook post, a text message or an email.  I’ll remember how the phone works and I won’t be satisfied until I hear a voice at the other end of the line.  The people that have come into and out of my life have shaped me into who I am today.  I’ve learned countless lessons on friendship, expectations, compassion and love.

If the world ends tomorrow… I will honor my own personal heroes.  While they don’t wear capes or save the world, they have saved me, motivated me and pushed me to be so much more than I ever thought possible.  They aren’t superstars or famous people, they are “everyday” people who choose to change the world and influence positive behavior and actions.  It’s impossible not to be a better person when you have them in your life.

If the world ends tomorrow… I will forgive and forget.  I won’t just act like everything is okay, I will make it so.  I will forgive those who have hurt me and those who have made it a point to rundown everything that I have ever been.  I will allow my enemies the courtesy that they have never extended to me.  I will kill them with kindness.  (if the world doesn’t end first)  And most of all, I will remember to say “I’m sorry”.

If the world ends tomorrow… I will tell that special man how much he means to me.  I will look deeply into his eyes and whisper “sweet nothings” in his ear.  I will tell him that when he walks into a room, my heart still skips a beat and my palms begin to sweat.  I’ll touch him as if for the very first time and I will revel in the beauty that he possesses.  I’ll tell him that he is all I dream of and that he’s the only man who I can fantasize of (although not for a lack of trying).  I’ll show him what’s in my heart and I’ll point out all the once broken pieces that are now held together because of his love.

If the world ends tomorrow… I will give my dog an extra treat and I’ll try really hard not to laugh at his nearly toothless old-man face.  I’ll refrain from telling him that he has a fat ass and a smile that only an Okie could love.  Instead, I will tell him how he has been my rock and how he’s pulled me through dark times in my life.  I’ll remind him of that time that I wrecked my car and he was so scared that when my mom came to save us, he took a giant shit on her console and that she found poo under her seat for a year.  I’ll smile and tell him how much that still makes me laugh when she pisses me off.  (sorry Mom)  I will try to cram all of the love of 12 years and all of the years that we will miss, all into one moment.  I’ll know that he feels it when he completely ignores me and instead tries to get past me to take over my couch.

If the world ends tomorrow… I will blame the cat.

“The Talk”

While driving the boys (8 & 7 years old) home from school today, we happened upon a conversation that started innocently, just to pass the time, but it ended up to be a serious conversation that I think all parents should have with their children if they own a pet.

Our initial topic was the fact that we are going to a horse show tomorrow.  Paris (the 8-year-old) was excited but Bristol (the 7-year-old) wasn’t really interested.  When Paris asked Bristol why he didn’t want to go, Bristol said that he would rather go to the animal shelter and help the animals.  For those of you who know me personally, you know that volunteer work, especially for the shelters and animals, is extremely important to me.  I’ve tried to raise my children to respect and understand the full realm and responsibilities of pet ownership.  I’ve shown them the great moments and sadly, the really depressing outcome of bad decisions.  Anyway, while Bristol lamented, somehow the conversation went to Biscuit, a dog that Paris found at the shelter in January and who he deemed “Biscuit”.  The name came from a book about a dog, one of my child’s favorites.  Paris said that he wanted to go back to the shelter so he could see Biscuit and because he really hoped that the dog was still there.  I explained to Paris that he really didn’t want Biscuit to still be at the shelter because that would mean that he hadn’t found his “forever home” and that he had no family to call his own.  (I didn’t dare tell him that dogs don’t live that long at the shelter)  Paris just responded with, “Well, someday Bowser will die and then we will get a new dog and we can save Biscuit then.  We can be his family.”  I told the boys that yes, someday we would have to deal with Bowser dying and that eventually, we would get another dog but that I didn’t know how long it would take me to get over the loss of Bowser.  Then the conversation took another turn…

Paris said that when Bowser died, he would still be with us, he’d just be in the yard all the time.  This is when I brought up the subject of cremation.  At first, Paris was outraged and offended and he screamed at me.  He said that he wanted Bowser to be in the back yard so that he could give him kisses and talk to him every day.  I asked Paris what would happen if we moved and he said that he had never thought of that.  Then I told Paris about “Rainbow Bridge” and the fact that when Bowz dies, he will leave his body and go to the heavens and there he will wait for us.  Without hesitation, Paris said, “”Okay, we can do that. As long as I have my good memories, it doesn’t matter. You aren’t supposed to think of the bad memories anyway. I will remember him as he lived and not as he died.”.

Death is not something that we want to talk about with our kids.  But shouldn’t we?  Shouldn’t they understand that when someone or something passes, that it’s never truly gone as long as we let it live on in our hearts?  Shouldn’t our children understand and have a say in what happens to them when they are gone?  At my boy’s age, they only understand 2 things.  When you die, you get buried.  Unless you are a fish, then you get flushed.  But is burial always the right answer?  When I think of Bowser leaving us, all I can think about is that memories will not be enough for me and that I always want him by my side (I do have a tattoo as a living memorial in his honor).  I had decided years ago to cremate his remains but what I still haven’t figured out is exactly what I want to do with them.  As macabre as it is, I really think I want to carry his ashes around with me until I am gone and then, I want to be cremated and reunited with my best friend.  Yes, the Rainbow Bridge and thoughts of heaven are great but I want to be back with him, body and spirit.  My strangeness factor is through the roof.  I better not talk about the other thought that I had of using his ashes to create a diamond…

Regardless, my kids now know of another option and I think they understand the meaning behind why someone would cremate vs bury.  The biggest thing for them to know is that although those we lose are not here in body, they live in our hearts and through our memories of them.

Amazing to think that even though I am supposed to be teaching them, I still have a thing or two to learn myself.  The love of a child knows no bounds.

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