Friday, May 25, 2007

Odds and Ends... and Bullies

Jodi P. and Me!

Even with my sunburned nose and lopsided smile, I had to post this pic.  I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to attend another book signing event of my favorite author, Jodi Picoult, last week in her hometown of Hanover - the very same town that has banned her new book (Nineteen Minutes) from the shelves of its high school.  How dare anyone put into words what no one wants to give voice to out of fear or even - dare I say - IGNORANCE? 

Bullying...  Where does it stem from?  Are there ways of escaping the clutches of adolescent demons?  Is there any stopping it?  What happens, when the child who has been bullied relentlessly for years upon demeaning years, in turn becomes the biggest bully of them all? 

Neither one of my children have ever been the victims of bullying.  At least not that they have been willing to share ~ and believe me, I ask often. 

That is, until yesterday...

Mailee arrived home from the school bus with a bit of a twist in her shorts.  I immediately summed it up to the same issues we had been arguing about for two days straight.  She had a softball game scheduled for the evening as well as her school's annual Picnic and Learning Fair.  She would have time to attend both, (which didn't quite happen) but was bound and determined that she was going to win the battle and skip the game.  Which went against my own better judgement that NO, when you are committed to a team, you don't let them down just because something more fun comes along. 

So I wasn't prepared in anyway, shape or form, to hear that her frown and wounded spirit was due to the fact that she had literally been assaulted on the bus ride home.

I know the student quite well from when he attended the school where I work.  *FIRED UP* doesn't even begin to describe the blood which runs through this kiddos veins.  I even have my own note of apology in my files written from this student after he lashed out at me, swinging full force and shrieking obscenities in my face.  He is unpredictable and very lost in a world full of anger.

He punched my baby girl...  VERY hard.  Because he was angry.  Because she was there.  Period.

After investigating the incident and conversing with other students who witnessed the incident, the principal of her school called me at work today and assured me in no uncertain terms that my daughter would be safe from now on.  This child will no longer be riding that school bus.

So now comes the issue of not what if, but when?  And who?  And what will the future hold for this disturbed young boy? 

And will his next victim be even smaller, and weaker and unable to speak out of fear?  And will that encourage him to continue his lashing out?

Okay, enough of that already...  My baby girl is good.  She is happy and she feels safe.  So for now, I'll just keep sending up those prayers...

My own life has been a whirlwind of emotional ups and downs lately.  As if that ever changes...  I HAVE made a decision regarding my job.  I just can't walk away from something I love so dearly.  I've never been very good at doing that, even when it appears that the alternative might be a wiser choice.  What I AM planning to do - and I hope it all pans out the way I'd like it to - is to work part time over the summer at a catering business that hires temp summer people to set up and serve an amazing feast that is well known in our area.  They are very busy, but mostly on weekends, which means the girls can hang out at their grandparents some.  I can't see working full time and leaving them home all day.  Amanda is too old for daycare, and is actually interested in gaining experience babysitting, so I figure (or hope, anyway) that it will work out for us all.  I DO receive a lesser pay amount throughout the school year so that I have money in my pocket over the summer as well, just not a whole lot of it.  SO, I'll simply do what needs doing and hope for the best.

I've been spending the last few days trying to really focus on the positives and the joys in my life.  Also to allow myself to see my true worth, and to stop demeaning myself and defining myself through my faults and my failings.  We all have faults.  We all fail.  The point is to rise above it.

I was watching a FABULOUS Oprah today on finding happiness and love within and for yourself.  Something she said on "self compassion" really hit me.  She calls such hits, "Ah HA" moments.  I'll close this entry by sharing her words:

"Imagine yourself caring for someone you love who is ill (physically or emotionally) and needs your constant watchful eye and loving heart...  Imagine that you are watching over them as they sleep, and that as you gently hold their hand, you pour all the love and care from your heart into their very own.  Imagine how much you would pray or wish for their healing.  How much you wish for them peace and comfort and gentleness...

Now look again ~ and imagine ~ that the person you are holding and pouring all your heart and soul into ~ is you."

Love yourself.  Your the only "you" you've got.  Your life is a precious gift.  Take it, hold it and TREASURE it. 


Some days are truly dark, but there is always tomorrow.  There is always the gift of time...

Have a safe, warm and memorable Memorial Day weekend.  Don't forget to give thanks for the men and women who live and die for us and for countless, faceless others. 

And don't forget to smile  =)




barbpinion said...

First off I just HAVE to say how pretty you are, and you look so happy in this picture. I could write volumes when it comes to bullies. Two of my children had experiences with them and I did too, when I was eleven. Never forgot how horrible it was- how terrified I was to go to school. And THAT was years ago, long before the bullying got vicious and so dangerous:knives, razor blades, chains, etc.
I am SO glad your daughter is okay and that she has a mom who cares. So many kids don't. Too many are latch key children =too many with parents who just aren't that involved with their children. So sad.
  Sounds like you have your act together, hon: positive attitude, a decision you're happy with, and uplifting, encouraging, motivating words for others. Ah yes, OPRAH! I love that woman. I have learned so much from her. I hope every woman watching her show today had an Ah HA moment. Wouldn't that be wonderful if they did?
Keep on keeping on, dear one. I LIKE where you're going. You're a terrific lady. I admire you and love you with all my heart, even though we've never met.
Hugs, love and prayers too,

pippa1116 said...

i love Jodi P also!!!  and I also watched that episode of Oprah.  and it is so true.  we have to feed oursevles first!
take care

lanurseprn said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Oprah!!  I also had to say how very pretty you are!

bobbysgirl8584 said...

Hi Michelle! I am so sorry to hear about that incident with your daughter; I hope she is ok. good luck with all the decisions about your job; have a great weekend!!

queeniemart said...

i wish we lived near enough to meet because i know you would be able to calm me, guide me. There is no one more compassionate than you. You are so pretty too....i love that pic. I am very upset your daughter was assaulted......and i know all about teen boys that are angry inside.....i pray that boy gets help now.
Love you

siennastarr said...

What a beautifully written entry, Michelle.  I loved the quote from Oprah.  I saw that too, and it really made me stop and think.  I would do anything in the world to help another, but often times I neglect myself.  

I am so sorry to hear that your daughter was bullied and hit like that.  I have never (to my knowledge) had that happen to any of my children.  I am thankful for that.

I do hope that boy gets so psychological help, because he truly needs it.  Your daughter may be safe from him, but what about some one else's child?  That boy sounds like a bomb about to explode.  


mariebm56 said...

GREAT entry, Michelle!!!
As for bullies...I think everyone has some kind of experience with bullies....just part of lliving, a learning experience.  
Enjoy the rest of the weekend~

radar446 said...

It amazes me how violent kids have gotten in the past years.  There have always been bullies, but I really do think they are getting worse now.  I don't want to be one that blames it on TV and video games, but there is something that is different with this generation that has never been an issue before.  


am4039 said...

I'm so happy that your daughter is ok. But what an awful experience. My kids have never been bullied thank heaven.  Love the picture you look great. When my friends kids were to old for daycare and she worked full time, the school had after school care and before school care. That worked for her.

lindapaterson177 said...

Found your journal through Indigos. Glad you got the bully sorted before anything else happened, My daughter was bullied at school and it takes a strong spitit to get over what they do to you, and she did. I love Oprah and what she said is so true, there is only the "One" you so you have to look after it, so look after yourself. take care
bella xx