Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Coulter's Experience So Far

Many of my friends have asked how school is going for Coulter. It has only been two weeks as of tomorrow but I am hopeful for his first year at the Ivy School.  As I wrote previously, he missed his first day of school and I was worried for him but he bounced back and had a great first day.  They spent the first couple days getting to know each other and talking about how the classroom will function.  

On the following Monday, he was excited to go to school and that had not happened for quite some time.  I got a call around 1pm from a teacher.  She called to tell me about an incident that involved Coulter.  She said, "Everything is fine and Coulter is fine." to assure me Coulter wasn't hurt or anything.  She explained that a kid in his class had bullied him.  She was talked to but didn't back down.  She eventually pushed Coulter and one of the teachers witnessed it.  She was taken to the office, her mother was called, and she was sent home. That is the information I got from the school.  

Coulter experienced bullying at his last school and I was very worried about him and how he would respond to this situation.  I went to pick him up so I could be there and support him.  I was a little early so I waited anxiously in the lobby, I worried.  Five minutes later he came out of his classroom smiling and with a bounce in his step.  Wha???? I asked, "How was your day?" He said, "Great!" I was confused but happy for him.  

On the way home I explained the phone call I received and asked him about it.  He told me that the class was listening to a story and he and this girl had a disagreement about the interpretation.  She was loud and getting in his space. He rolled his eyes at her and that was what pushed her over the edge.  She said, "You rolled your eyes at me and now I am going to bully you all year long."  She proceeded to shove him periodically throughout the day.  She lunged at him, tried to trip him and grumbled at him under her breath.  I asked if he talked to a teacher.  He said that he did but it wasn't until he was pushed and caught by the teacher that they physically stepped in.  They talked to her earlier but it hadn't made an impact.  Coulter then said that she was sent home.  

He couldn't put it into words why he was happy that afternoon but I think it was because he felt supported and cared for.  Instead of hearing, "You need to work it out." as he had so often in the past, they did something about it.  He seemed to let the whole incident roll off his back.  In fact, he talked about the new friends he made, the games the class played and how they got a long recess and lots of freedom to move around.  His focus was right where it needed to be, on the positive.  This made my heart swell with pride and joy.  He had handled it perfectly by using words and not being aggressive back.  And the school handled it perfectly by stopping a physical situation with real consequences.  

The next day I drove Coulter to school to talk to the teachers and ask if he had done something more to antagonize the girl.  They confirmed his story, it was just the eye roll.  As I was getting ready to leave, one of the teachers pointed out the girl's mother, then walked with me, and introduced us.  The girl's mother was glad to meet me and was a kind and responsive mother.  Just how I like them.  She, like me, is not a parent that thinks or says, "My kid would never do that!"  She actually said, "I know when someone says your daughter did _________.  She did it."

We chatted and this girl's mother told me some back ground on her daughter.  She wasn't making excuses but explaining.  It made a lot of sense.  Then the daughter walked by and the mother said, "Hey X, this is Coulter's mom.  We are on the same page with how our kids need to act."  And then she gave her the mother's all knowing stare.  It wasn't said out loud but I heard...... "Girl, do you see this mother and I?  We are on the same page and you better fall in line."  The daughter nodded affirmingly and went to class.  Her mother then said, "She knows we are onto her.  She knows we are talking and this will make a difference."  She was a lovely lady and I was grateful to know we could talk.  I told her if Coulter did or does anything that I need to know about to please let me know.  We agreed to stay in touch.

Over the next few days I asked Coulter about the girl.  For a few days there wasn't much to report other than she wasn't bugging him.  A few days later, he reported that she sat as the same table as he did at lunch.  I asked, "How was she?" and he said, "Fine."  I asked, "Why do you think she was nice?" and he reported, "I think her mom scared the crap out of her." And then he laughed heartily. 

Since then I have talked to the mom who told me that her daughter said, "Coulter is actually pretty nice."  The mother also had an interaction with Coulter and reported that he was very polite and charming.  I told her,  "He better be or else.... "  We laughed.  

The rest of his week was great.  They all learned how to navigate the classroom and their day.  Coulter made a few friends and now has a new best friend, Lily.  There is lots of movement.  They get a full hour of recess daily.  The time spent learning is in bigger chunks and open to interpretatiion on how they learn. The Montessori method seems to be working for him.  

After being so concerned about where to send him and not knowing what to do to help him, I am grateful.  I am grateful we found a place where Coulter can be Coulter and not have to worry about being different or bullied.  I am grateful that he feels safe and secure.  I am grateful that he is strong and has a positive outlook.  I am grateful that Coulter can learn how he needs to learn.  So far it's all great.  I pray that it stays this way for him.  He is so much happier and that makes me smile.  He helps when I ask him to and has generally been agreeable.  This has been a great ride.  JOY!!!! ……that is what I have to say about my feelings for Coulter’s experience at his new school.  I'll keep you posted.  

Coulter's Experience So Far

Many of my friends have asked how school is going for Coulter. It has only been two weeks as of tomorrow but I am hopeful for his first year at the Ivy School.  As I wrote previously, he missed his first day of school and I was worried for him but he bounced back and had a great first day.  They spent the first couple days getting to know each other and talking about how the classroom will function.  

On the following Monday, he was excited to go to school and that had not happened for quite some time.  I got a call around 1pm from a teacher.  She called to tell me about an incident that involved Coulter.  She said, "Everything is fine and Coulter is fine." to assure me Coulter wasn't hurt or anything.  She explained that a kid in his class had bullied him.  She was talked to but didn't back down.  She eventually pushed Coulter and one of the teachers witnessed it.  She was taken to the office, her mother was called, and she was sent home. That is the information I got from the school.  

Coulter experienced bullying at his last school and I was very worried about him and how he would respond to this situation.  I went to pick him up so I could be there and support him.  I was a little early so I waited anxiously in the lobby, I worried.  Five minutes later he came out of his classroom smiling and with a bounce in his step.  Wha???? I asked, "How was your day?" He said, "Great!" I was confused but happy for him.  

On the way home I explained the phone call I received and asked him about it.  He told me that the class was listening to a story and he and this girl had a disagreement about the interpretation.  She was loud and getting in his space. He rolled his eyes at her and that was what pushed her over the edge.  She said, "You rolled your eyes at me and now I am going to bully you all year long."  She proceeded to shove him periodically throughout the day.  She lunged at him, tried to trip him and grumbled at him under her breath.  I asked if he talked to a teacher.  He said that he did but it wasn't until he was pushed and caught by the teacher that they physically stepped in.  They talked to her earlier but it hadn't made an impact.  Coulter then said that she was sent home.  

He couldn't put it into words why he was happy that afternoon but I think it was because he felt supported and cared for.  Instead of hearing, "You need to work it out." as he had so often in the past, they did something about it.  He seemed to let the whole incident roll off his back.  In fact, he talked about the new friends he made, the games the class played and how they got a long recess and lots of freedom to move around.  His focus was right where it needed to be, on the positive.  This made my heart swell with pride and joy.  He had handled it perfectly by using words and not being aggressive back.  And the school handled it perfectly by stopping a physical situation with real consequences.  

The next day I drove Coulter to school to talk to the teachers and ask if he had done something more to antagonize the girl.  They confirmed his story, it was just the eye roll.  As I was getting ready to leave, one of the teachers pointed out the girl's mother, then walked with me, and introduced us.  The girl's mother was glad to meet me and was a kind and responsive mother.  Just how I like them.  She, like me, is not a parent that thinks or says, "My kid would never do that!"  She actually said, "I know when someone says your daughter did _________.  She did it."

We chatted and this girl's mother told me some back ground on her daughter.  She wasn't making excuses but explaining.  It made a lot of sense.  Then the daughter walked by and the mother said, "Hey X, this is Coulter's mom.  We are on the same page with how our kids need to act."  And then she gave her the mothers all knowing stare.  It wasn't said out loud but I heard...... "Girl, do you see this mother and I?  We are on the same page and you better fall in line."  The daughter nodded affirmingly and went to class.  Her mother then said, "She knows we are onto her.  She knows we are talking and this will make a difference."  She was a lovely lady and I was grateful to know we could talk.  I told her if Coulter did or does anything that I need to know about to please let me know.  We agreed to stay in touch.

Over the next few days I asked Coulter about the girl.  For a few days there wasn't much to report other than she wasn't bugging him.  A few days later, he reported that she sat as the same table as he did at lunch.  I asked, "How was she?" and he said, "Fine."  I asked, "Why do you think she was nice?" and he reported, "I think her mom scared the crap out of her." And then he laughed heartily. 

Since then I have talked to the mom who told me that her daughter said, "Coulter is actually pretty nice."  The mother also had an interaction with Coulter and reported that he was very polite and charming.  I told her,  "He better be or else.... "  We laughed.  

The rest of his week was great.  They all learned how to navigate the classroom and their day.  Coulter made a few friends and now has a new best friend, Lily.  There is lots of movement.  They get a full hour of recess daily.  The time spent learning is in bigger chunks and open to interpretatiion on how they learn. The Montessori method seems to be working for him.  

After being so concerned about where to send him and not knowing what to do to help him, I am grateful.  I am grateful we found a place where Coulter can be Coulter and not have to worry about being different or bullied.  I am grateful that he feels safe and secure.  I am grateful that he is strong and has a positive outlook.  I am grateful that Coulter can learn how he needs to learn.  So far it's all great.  I pray that it stays this way for him.  He is so much happier and that makes me smile.  He helps when I ask him to and has generally been agreeable.  This has been a great ride.  JOY!!!! ……that is what I have to say about my feelings for Coulter’s experience at his new school.  I'll keep you posted.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

In the Groove

I have been "retired" again since April but it has taken until about now to get in the groove.  It was great to be home over the summer with my kids.  They needed me.  Now they're back in school and I have been figuring out my days.

Over the summer we spent lots of time around Portland.  I had intended to work all summer so I didn't plan any big trips.  Most summers that I have been home the kids and I go on at least one big road trip.  We talked about going up to Vancouver BC but in the end, the kids just wanted to be home.   Why spend the money and time if they weren't into it?  We spent time at beaches and swimming holes but mostly we were just hanging out.  It wasn't super productive but it was relaxing.  I would give this summer a B.

My biggest reason for quitting my job was that the kids were not thriving.  I know that we are very blessed to be in the situation that allows me to be home and I do not take that for granted one minute. When I was working, I just didn't have the energy to give to all three kids.  I got the basics done but that's about it. Here were the challenges of me being at work.....

Sophia - We live 100 feet from her high school.  I always planned on being "that house" for the kids and not being home with the teens was killing me.  The kids would come over every day for lunch.  There were between 7-10 kids daily and poor Sophia was trying to keep them in control, keep them cleaning up after them selves and not eat all our food.  It was stressful for her.  AND, when I got home from work and had to clean the kitchen before I could make dinner, I was not happy. They "tried" to clean but a teen's clean and mine are two different things.  I was tired and not in the mood to clean, make dinner, clean again, finish basic household duties and then finally sit down.  Most nights that I was working Bob and I would not sit down until 9 or 9:30 after straightening the house up after the kids.

Coulter - He is a pretty happy go lucky kid most of the time but he was depressed.  Beverly Cleary is an excellent school but it wasn't working for Coulter.  At Beverly Cleary School Coulter didn't have many friends.  As a matter of fact, he only had one.  That one friend didn't live in the neighborhood and wasn't returning to BCS in fall.  This was a very sad thing for Coulter.  He was being bullied and was an easy target because he is responsive.  He explodes and that is great fun for the kids causing the stress for him.  His teacher was so supportive but she had 34 kids in her class and couldn't protect him all the time.  He needs to toughen up a bit, I know that, but it was more than being tough, he was feeling broken.  The adults there kept an eye on him but there are more than 850 kids at BCS.

Kees - Well, he didn't say much about me working but when he did, he was sad.  He just missed me being here when he got home.  We used to go over his day and just snuggle on the couch most days.  He missed this tremendously.  He felt lost.

None of the three did their chores.  They are great kids but they just "forgot" or conveniently did other things.  When the cat is away.....  I get it.  Again, this is where Bob and I got so frustrated.  We would come home and nothing was done even though lists were left.  Finally, we hired a nanny to come and direct the kids.  It helped but they didn't like it much.  And, it was money that I was spending when I shouldn't have had to.  Mostly, I didn't like being mad and frustrated with the people I love the most.  These were not the interactions that I wanted the kids to remember.  It was not the parents Bob and I wanted to be.  Messes are acceptable but a messy house is not where I feel in control.  I was feeling more frustrated than love, I was feeling let down and I was feeling like I was letting my kids down.  We even went to counseling to try and figure out how to function as a family with two working parents.  It didn't work for us.

I left my job in April and I could see the difference in the kids immediately.  I was thrilled to be home for the kids and their friends.  The boys thanked me daily for weeks for being home.  They were truly, deeply happy about it.  Most of us never know if / how much our kids appreciate us.  Maybe they don't usually give it any thought but when things changed how they wanted it to, they knew it and said so.  Sophia was more subtle but she was happy I was home.

Sophia and her friends thought it would be a total bummer to have me here.  In fact, it gave them more freedom.  Where Sophia didn't want them getting into our food, I gave them leeway.  I bought stuff on sale, boxes of pasta, granola bars etc and created a "Teen Food" Box.  Anything in there is fair game.  Best of all, I got rid of my left overs. Teen boys will eat anything!   I could give rides, a couple bucks, some advice, a bit of support, but mostly, I set parameters.  I think all the teens were glad I was home giving them directions.  They are all here every day.  Now I am available for emotional support, food support, and neighborhood mothering.  It was my plan all along!  The kids don't even knock any more, they just walk in and yell, "Hey mamma Leek!"  I love it.  It's loud, messy and not cheap but it's totally worth it for us.

Kees has perked right up.  He is so helpful.  When I ask him to do anything, most of the time he just does it.  Talk about a kid who wanted direction. He is cheerful and is happy to have me walk him to school or home and we spend a little time cuddling most days.  He is still my baby and I am glad to give him the attention that he needs.

The biggest shift has been for Coulter.  Coulter was diagnosed with ADHD last year.  The meds he was on made him depressed though I am not sure it was the meds or his surroundings at school.  Eventually, we let him stop the meds.  I was so worried about him.  By the time we decided he really needed something different, it was too late to change schools as the lottery cutoff was over in March.  I started searching the District for a new school for him in April.  At this point it didn't matter what it was as long as it was different  His teacher suggested the Ivy School.  It was one of the options that I looked into and applied for.  He was number 5 on the waiting list.....  It was hard to know what to do.  If we couldn't find an alternative for him I even considered home-schooling him.  We waited all summer to hear from anyone.......  Three days before school started at BCS we got the email, "Coulter, you have been accepted to the Ivy School."  We were all thrilled, especially Coulter.

He started a week and a half after the other two so we got some quality time together and we both enjoyed that.  The extra time allowed him to volunteer at the school and get to know some of the adults.  He finally started last week and he is loving it! He is dealing with a couple difficult kids but he feels supported and cared for.  He takes the city bus to and from school or he can ride his bike, we practiced.  He is a different kid.  He is happy again and joyous.  He feels confident.  I am very hopeful for his future at the Ivy School.

For me, I am learning how to be a stay at home mom again.  Iva is the happiest to have me home.  We walk the kids to school or the bus stop, she runs in the park and follows me around the house. I think she is making sure I don't go back to work.  I have re-engaged with school advocacy.  I am on the Board of Community & Parents for Public Schools.  I have been asked to join a boundary review committee for the District.  I am merely a member of the PTA right now..... we'll see what happens there.  I will add things in as I see fit and when the kids need me, they come first.... community next.  I have been asked to do and be many things, but so far,  I am only doing what I want to do.

I am making dinner....most nights.  I am driving the kids to their lessons and sports.  I am parenting my three and about 15 other neighborhood kids.  I do laundry (the dryer is broken so it's taking forever to dry). I clean the kitchen three times per day and I am not mad about it.  I assign chores and they get done.  I do the shopping during the day.  I have had a couple lunches with friends too.

I am back home, I am happy, I am grateful and best of all, I am available for those that need me most. Yes, I am getting back in the groove and loving it!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Guest House

To rent this guest house email Heather at theleeks@yahoo.com










Thursday, July 21, 2016

An Open Letter to the DNC

I would like to preface this letter by stating I was a Reagan Republican.  A few of his quotes that reflect some of my views;

“There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.”

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”

“I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

The current party no longer values the above statements or us ALL.  It values those who agree with the party leaders.  Now that the party has swayed so far to the right and spews vitriol, I walked away and joined the party that accepts all humans as equals. 

__________________________________________________________

July 21, 2016

To the DNC,

I have been watching the RNC all week trying to learn something about their message and platform.  It has been very hard to watch.  The speeches mostly have bashed and dehumanized Hillary Clinton.  They collectively spread fear and hate toward the “other” and there is LOTS of other because the attendees are 95% plus white people.  I don’t know the average age of their attendees but it appears to be 50+.  The speeches are primarily fiction and opinions.  Heartfelt opinions but still, opinions….  The vitriol aimed at the other is offensive.  As someone who disagrees with almost everything I have heard at the RNC I feel that I am seen as un-American by the right wing.

The RNC has dehumanized Hillary Clinton so that when she is elected, anyone from the GOP that reaches across the isle will be a traitor and an outcast.  You can’t work with someone who is that dehumanized.  It is what they have done to Barack Obama when they demanded his birth certificate, when they call him names and when they refuse to work with him. 

Why is it that the GOP rails on the private server of Hillary Clinton yet no one mentions that both Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell did exactly the same thing?  And there were fewer lives lost under Secretary Clinton’s time as the Secretary of State than most of those before her for both Democrats and Republicans.  Yet the GOP has railed against her even though they found nothing illegal or wrong about how she handled her job thus dehumanizing her further. 

As the DNC approaches I hope that you are paying attention.  We need to come together, we need to see the good, we need humor and we need to value all human beings.  We are stronger together. I want to know what you are going to do to make things better.  I want to hear about how coming together can create a stronger America that still has open doors.  I want to hear about room for more diversity and inclusion.   Our country is 95%+ immigrants.  All but the native people are immigrants.  I don’t want to be surrounded by people that look, act and think like me.  I want to hear about the experiences of others, learn about their values and traditions and live in a richer world and country.  

Please do not spew hate.  I don’t want to hear how bad the other guy is and dehumanize him.  He is pretty good at doing that himself.  Let him and the GOP implode on their own.  We do not need to stoop to that level because we have strength in our diversity.  A test; picture a standard Republican.  That becomes much more difficult on the Democratic side of the isle. 

To that end, be kind and accepting.  Speak for things and not against.  Call out what is good and denounce things that drive hate.  Cross the line in the sand to reach for your opponent’s hand.  As Ronald Reagan once said, “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.” The RNC would be wise to listen to its elders living or dead.  Since they have completely ignored the value in all of us it is the responsibility of the Democrats to be the leaders and stand up for what is right.  In the end, it will prevail.

I/we have high expectations for next week.  Please do not disappoint us.  We all want the same thing, a better place for our selves and our children.  When you know better you do better. We implore you to start us on that path at the DNC.

Heather C Leek
Mom of three
Wife of one (only one ever)
Community Activist
PTA member and leader
Hopeful member of the human race

Proud American

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Terrified

As I mentioned in my last blog post, my family has experienced some growing pains as I have gone back to work.  The kids are adjusting.......more or less.  We have asked the kids to step up and take responsibility in a few ways.  First, do your chores.  Second, you need to be organized so you don’t forget what you need to have at school.  Third, you need to get out of the house on time for school.  

Bob and I have outlined chores for each kid every day.  I can count on one hand the number of times they have fulfilled their full obligation of chores without being told.  Basically, the cat is away….you get the picture.  

The kids have been pretty good about remembering their stuff for school.  Coulter has only forgotten a couple times.  In the past, I brought things to school for the kids at least once or twice per week.

The kids all get out of the house on time for school.  Kees is a champ.  At 7:57 he runs out the door, shoes on and backpack ready.  Sophia leaves around 8:15.  She walks over to a friend’s house and then on to school from there.  I usually leave then too.  I’ve been riding my bike to work so that gets me to the office just after 8:30.  This leaves Coulter at home alone.  He leaves just after I do to get to school at 8:45.  I make sure that he’s totally ready before I leave.  I say, “Coulter, you need to leave in 10 minutes.”  To which he replies, “I know mom.”  Coulter has a tendency to, let’s say, forget things and loose track of time.  

Two weeks ago today I received a robo call from the school saying, “A student in your household was marked absent.  Please contact the school.”  I thought that was weird but sometimes they make a mistake.  I called the school and they said it was Coulter that was marked absent.  Hmmm…. I had them call up to his classroom to confirm.  The secretary called back, “He isn’t in his classroom and they haven't seen him today.”  

I panicked a little bit and called home.  No answer.  Luckily, I had driven this particular day.  I stood up and announced, “My son is missing, I have to leave.”  Everyone agreed this was what I needed to do.  I went straight home calling the whole time.  I called Bob and told him what was happening and told him to meet me at home.  Perhaps Coulter was at home afraid to answer for fear of getting in trouble? 

When I got home I ran into the house. “Coulter, COULTER!!!! Where are you?”  I searched the whole house as fast as I could.  Maybe he was hiding?  I begged him to come out.  “COUTLER, PLEASE, I’M TERRIFIED!”  Maybe he’s at the library.  It’s his “Go to” spot.  I drove to the library.  It was closed.  He wasn’t in the coffee shop next door either.  Now I’m really scared.  I called 911.  “5’2”. 105 lbs. Blond, with a rat tail. About a foot long. I don’t know what he was wearing.  No, he’s never gone missing before.”  I am trying to be brave but my son is missing and he’s been gone for three hours.  I am as afraid as I have ever been.  I can't breathe... in out, breathe Heather.  I can’t describe how that feels and I hope others never have to go through that.  

I call the school to let them know that I reported Coulter missing and the police are on the way to take a report.  The secretary tells me, “He just walked through the door.”  I say, “Call him down for me.  I will be right there.”  Coulter needs to explain himself and he needs to see how upset and frightened I am.  I get in the car and go to the school.  I call Bob and tell him to meet me at the school. 

I see Coulter and tell him to come with me into the Principal’s Office.  I try to convey how upset I am but of course, he’s an eleven-year-old boy.  He doesn’t get it.  I let him see my tears and makeup all over my face.  He has no excuse.   He claims he fell asleep.  It was two days after Day Light Savings Time kicked in.  I suppose he could be tired.  He says my phone call woke him up and that’s when he realized he was late.  Really?  Three hours?  He’s sticking with his story.  

Bob comes and tries to convey his angst.  Then the school councilor comes in.  We all try to explain to him that his actions have terrified us all.  I tell him how precious he is to me and that this can’t happen ever again.  He apologizes but still, there is no way he can understand the feeling a parent has when a child is missing.  Eventually we all calm down.  Coulter missed lunch so Bob and I take him to get a quick something.  We’re all exhausted and hungry.  

We eat and talk.  Coulter finally apologizes without sounding like we’re being over reactive jerks.  We take him back to school and Bob and I go back to work.  I am exhausted.  Seriously, it’s crazy what something like that takes out of you.  

Later at home, Coulter apologizes about five more times.  He seems to have heard us.  

But….  A week later, I get the robo call again.  I call the school but this time they report that he showed up at almost 10.  He was more than an hour late! He reported to the school secretary that I knew he was late.  Ahh…no I didn’t.  I ask to talk to him and she puts me through.  I tell him that he is in big trouble.  I wanted him to ponder that all day.  

When we all get home Bob and I sit him down again.  We go through the whole thing again.  I can’t believe he did it AGAIN!  We take away his electronics for two weeks, no iPad, no computer, no TV, no nothing.  Of course this is almost more punishing to us than it is to him but there isn't much that means anything to him.  The only thing that would break his heart is if we took his books....but I don't want to break his heart, I love him.  I want him to be safe, I want him to thrive, I want him to follow the rules.  

I ask him why he has done this.  He says, "I don't know."

Me, "Coulter, there must be a reason." 

Coulter, "School is boring." 

Me, "Well too bad, school isn't an option." 

Coulter, "I just didn't want to go."

We go back and forth and it's nothing specific at school.  No bullying or anything and then it hits me. 
Me, "Coulter, is it the quiet and being alone you like?"

Coulter, "Yeah. (He starts to cry.) I never get to have quiet time alone."  And it's true.  Kees is always right there.  It's sort of his job as the little brother.  

I try to impress upon him the importance of going to school.  I have to know he's safe and if he doesn't go to school I don't know if he's safe or not.  I also tell him,  "Not going to school is illegal.  It's called truancy."  Maybe that will do it.  Again, he seems to understand and I tell him we'll work on getting him some alone time.  That seemed to help him. I also told him that his part of supporting our family was to go to school, to follow the rules and to do his chores.  I tried to impart that it was his responsibility and it was how he could support me in my new job but mostly I want him safe.  

So we'll see how things go from here on out.  I want him safe and I don't want to break his heart.  He's a lovely boy who made a couple of bad choices.  I hope he knows how much I love him.  I'll continue to tell him and check in with him.  Eleven is such a weird age and difficult to know how best to handle these things.  I am doing my best.   

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Working Woman

I contemplated going back to work for a while.  In late January I thought, “I should start looking for a job.”  Be careful what you put out into the universe!  About two days later my friend Gary Boyer posted that he was looking for an assistant.  He is a very successful mortgage broker.  I PM’d him and said I was looking.  A day later we had lunch, four days later I met with his assistants and within a week or so I was at a desk. 

Talk about fast!  Whew… 

I have learned a few things in my life. 

#1 - If you focus on what you want most of the time something comes along.  It is important to be specific in your focus. 

#2 – Don’t over think things.  If I sat down and really pondered what I was about to do I am not sure I would have done it.  This isn’t a bad thing it’s just important not to over think. Often times you can talk yourself out of a great opportunity.  Now that I am doing what I am doing I am glad I’m there and I am glad I didn’t over think it.

#3 – It’s important to take care of yourself.  While I have greatly enjoyed my (almost 15 years) time away from work I find that I am enjoying being productive and part of a team.  I am not making a fortune but I am learning something new, contributing to people’s dreams of buying a home, helping Gary’s Team move forward and hopefully providing some much needed relief to those that were already in the office. 

#4 – I like being there.

#5 – There is an adjustment period. My family has had some growing pains. I will write another post about specific incidents.  For a short while I thought, “What have I done?”  But I know my kids are capable and ready for this, they just don’t know it yet.  Their immediate reaction was, “The cat is away!” and that isn’t what Bob and I are looking for. 

So we are all learning at this point.  The adjustment period has been rough a few times.  BUT… and that is a big but, it isn’t about the kids, it’s about me and I am enjoying myself so they are going to have to adjust and grow too.  Ultimately, I guess it is about the kids.  I saw college coming and I am not willing to amend my lifestyle so I needed to figure out how to help pay for it.  A job was the answer.  But it has ended up meaning more to me.  I didn’t realize that it would make me feel needed and wanted.  Make me part of a team.  Let me use my brain for more than the day to day stuff I was working on.  The PTA was a lot of work (sometimes full time) but it was very thankless.  This feels rewarding, more each day

Bob and I are working with the kids, setting expectations and holding them accountable for being participants in this family.  We (Bob and I) can’t do it all.  They MUST help.  Gary has been understanding and has even given me flexibility to come in a bit later to make sure the kids get off to school on time.  It has meant a great deal to me to have a boss like Gary who knows the importance of family.  He works exceedingly hard but he knows, when family calls, it take first priority. 

Ah…the learning curve.  I am used to being highly efficient and handling lots of volume.  I know this is new to me and that I will get faster but man, it is frustrating not to be able to rip through everything.  Thank goodness the people that are training me are patient (to a fault).  I will get there but in the mean time it’s hard.  When I have a question and can’t figure something out I take my stack of papers and go ask where to find info or how to get it.  They take two seconds and bang it out.  I just spent 15 minutes looking for the answer!  I keep telling myself, “I’m learning.” but still, it’s frustrating. 

In the end I will get it.  I know I will pick up speed, learn the ropes, help the team and ultimately will be successful.  And so will my family. I believe it’s important for my kids to see me working.  They know I was in hotel management but they have never seen me work.  They also need to learn that my absence isn’t license for them to mess around but to rise to the occasion.  That this is important to me and they need to support me just as I have supported them their entire lives. The kids need to step up and grow.  They have all the skills, I know because Bob and I taught them, and now it’s time to implement those skills.  It’s my time.  


We will all be better for this in the end I hope we can all survive the learning curve!  I am in this for the long haul and I plan on being very successful.