Ssshhh! Whisper this paragraph: My whole family fell asleep at bed-time, including Anthony and the dogs. I’m in the basement on the computer. By myself. This is a rare wonder and enough of an event to constitute the basis for today’s tiny gratitude. DON’T DO ANYTHING TO WAKE THEM UP.
The reason I’m desperate to be alone is that I spent a couple hours at a school board meeting where a bunch of parents talked about a business that is sad and divisive and not to be discussed in this space, because to do so could potentially hurt more than one child. It was a lot of humanity and and a lot of emotions and some hypocrisy and some dishonesty; and dear reader, you know I don’t recover well from that.
I spoke too, because I’m a broken record with an agenda. I’ve been attending every school board meeting this year to natter at them about getting more mental health supports into our schools. I want them to arrange for school-based mental health services, which is a fancy way to say: give a therapist office space for a day every week, so he or she can see students on campus. I want them to hire social workers at each school, so that families can have guidance in navigating needs and services and insurance and all that jazz. I want them to fund educational programming for parents and teachers, to build wisdom about mental health and stigma and resilience and the importance of community and healthy relationships and on and on and on.
Why do I care? Because Jesse told me to care. She insists that it’s not fair that she has access to therapists and meds and psychiatrists; that her parents care about her so much and get her help, even when she doesn’t want it; that we’re not ashamed of her and insist on school supports that she needs. It’s not fair because she has classmates who don’t have the same resources, and they deserve all of this as much as she does.
She’s right. So I’m on it.
The school board is generally good natured toward me, but I’m not sure what to make of them. They make eye contact with me when I speak, but sometimes I get the feeling they think I’m cringey. Maybe next time I’ll ask them if they remember anything I say, if they care about anything I say, and if they are being impacted in any way by anything I say. If their answer is a resounding “NO” to all of the above… then clearly I will have to attend more meetings. For the sake of Jesse’s profound sense of social justice, I will carry on with the lobbying and advocating and wheedling.
And then, when I’m done with that public business, I will always need to curl into a figurative fetal ball somewhere. Tonight, I’m thankful to my family, dogs and all, for passing out and letting me curl up in peace.