51 today

I thought about doing one of those posts about what I have learned in my 50th year. Surely I am wiser. Surely I figured out a lot of stuff.

Mim gave me these lovely lemon earrings.

What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger is a fucking lie. Some people die from the strain of life wearing them down minute after minute. Some of us end up dying of suicide. Some of us become little old bittys.

Music soothes me and lifts me and hugs me. I require music.

Being a part of my childrens’ lives is the most important thing to me.

I am not good enough to my mama.

I could ramble on but who cares what I know or don’t know. I would rather tell you a story from earlier this month. It is always a risk to tell recent stories because they are recent. Have I had enough time to process it? Have I gained enough distance from the moment to refect? Will I regret telling the story?

The truth will set you free. You can add that to the bits of wisdom I proclaim.

Two months ago I called an IEP meeting because I was concerned about Mim’s education. Parents are members of IEP teams and can request IEP meetings when they see fit. I got a sub. I made four poster size sticky noters and presented my concerns. Walt had planned to attend virtually but he was 45 minutes late and couldn’t get into the link. Using my detective skills and looking for the underlying meaning of what the administration was saying, I found some flaws in their logic. Fortunately, I speak special education language. I went home spoke with an advocate who was visiting my school and researched the federal law and Georgia state Department of Education website and I requested another meeting with the principal and special services administation. After more than a week, they scheduled another meeting for me. I got another substitute teacher and requested time off from my job. Again. Walt requested a virtual invitation again. (I know this is boring. Hold on. We are getting to the good part.) March 16th, 2023, I sit in the waiting chairs in the office of the middle school. The principal in his too cool for school pointy shoes is surprised to see me. He says that he though the meeting was online. I said no. I requested the meeting and Mim’s dad had requested an online link so he could attend. This time I only have one poster size sticky note. I have condensed my concerns to the most pressing one- which I believe to be egregious in the light of Georgia and federal law as it relates to Mim’s education. I am starting to get disgruntled. Walt is online. The head of special ed is on another screen. The head of special ed at the middle school is in person with me and the principal in a meeting room off the library. The head of Equity and Inclusion is on another screen. I present my poster to the screens and the in persons. I choke back tears insisting on showing the emotion and the facts. Because that is how I roll. I forgot to add that Walt ‘s screen magically doesn’t work so he is just an unsquelchable booming charismatic voice from space. The people from above have allotted thirty minutes for my concerns. The woman from equity does an amazing job of hearing me and expressing herself and her current restraints and asking me for feedback. Walt interrupts her and spends at least five minutes explaining that Mim is black and female and intellectually disabled so she is the perfect candidate for the equity platform. It takes him so long because he has to insert scary statistics and as many words from his mental thesaurus sprinkled with ingratiating humor. He says stuff like “If I may, I would like to affirm Martee’s point by blah blah blah.” The head of special services says that we need to wrap up the meeting because we have reached the end of our time. So— I made excellent points supported by Mim’s dad and the Equity Director was awesome but I want special ed to say what they are going to do to right this wrong! Tell me how you are going to fix it. Answer in real time from your virtual screen how you are going to address my concerns about my child’s education. She says she needs 10 minutes more and asks the participants if everyone has time to continue the meeting. Walt does not. Walt doesn’t have a fucking ten minutes because he is assisting the pope in Easter mass or driving a race car and the start is right now this very minute or thousands of hungry children need him to serve them breakfast. I don’t know how his life is so fucking important but it always has been. His schedule is so fucking important that the world will move mountains to apease him. He is Rupert in Ted Lasso charming whoever he wants to manipulate. I interrupt. I’m Rebecca. We can continue without Rupert/Walt. I will let him know what is decided. Rupert’s voice appears from on high. Smooth laughter. “I hate to be the problem child (These grown men and women grinning like chumps.) but if you are able to reschedule that would be so blahblahblah.” Hardy hardy har har- Of course it would be better if we all met together. Let’s reschedule. Mom, I will email you to let you know our availability. End of meeting. They disappeared into the neververse. And I wind my way through middle school straights and angles searching for the Exit.

On Ted Lasso, the men and the women are fully human well developed characters. Fully dimensional. We see the good and bad and in between. Every single person is lovable. We cheer for them and hope for their futures. Except Rupert. Rebecca moves on but Rupert rears his awful head. repeatedly. One can’t get to the real or the good of Rupert. Rebecca has to live with the ugly split over and over again. Because one can’t reckon with a man like that. The show can make Roy and Jamie Tart lovable. We root for Keely. They aren’t just ex footballers or ex models. We learn to love people we thought were awful. We grow and discover the realness. The truth about all these characters, even Nate.

Season 3 Episode 3, I can even love Trent Crim. The show heals me. And I love that on television from my comfy couch , I can feel the reality of what it truly feels like being the ex-wife of a Rupert.

Hi Ted.

The moral of the story— Don’t be the people charmed by the Ruperts. Respect the mothers who researched, made posters, got a sub, left work, fought back tears to speak to people who were not expecting my cute chubby sensitive person in real life instead of on screen, spoke truth and peace to advocate for their child who they parent independently 97.6%, left the meeting alone, cried the way back to work and walked in right in time to teach and read to first grade in the library.

Last night before bed, I emailed the IEP team and asked when our next meeting will be. It has been nine days without an email from the administrators.

p.s. Why do I expose Walt? Why can’t I just let it go? Why do I write this stuff? Well, this isn’t the worst thing he did this week. I write what I think about unless it feels too much for me to say. Or unless, I just don’t want to deal with it then I can’t write about it. Writing about it is dealing with it and sometimes I can’t. Having six kids with him necessitates that there are moments when I have to communicate or attempt to communicate with him but I. I can’t avoid him completely.

p.s.s I am celebrating my birthday next week when I have spring break and I will be on vacation.

p.s.s.s. I love you. Thanks for reading.

One Comment

  1. Lee

    Your plan to celebrate your birthday on your own time and in your own way is a piece of staggering genius which i wholeheartedly support. I will be celebrating you – and also sending some hopes for karmic reckoning to Walpert.

    Liked by 1 person

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