18:33 This blog is helping me. Thank you so much for your presence here…
Yesterday on the after-school pickup I managed to talk to the principal about the issues at the school. She was booked solid for two weeks she said (i.e. till the end of the school year) but I asked if we could talk right then and she said yes, and brought me to an office. My eldest looked after the younger ones in the van; I had brought ice cream for the kids.
I told her about it all, i.e. the technology problems and even possibility of racist issues in the town, and that some kids were known to be experimenting with alcohol, and the possibility of bringing more education into the school on these topics… It was a good conversation. A starting conversation… I will say that in France, at the four different schools we have attended at least, there is a general (not unanimous, but general) attitude of “but it’s up to the parents to educate their kids about these things” (e.g. how to filter information, anti-racism, alcohol-awareness etc.) and I argue: but school was a system that was meant to be the great equalizer between all cultures and backgrounds. This means we are responsible as a “village” for all the children. Not just our own.
Sadly, forgetful as I am wont to be, I forgot to use the slogan I had planned on using, “All unique, all equal” which is actually written on their school wall (in French of course). But it doesn’t matter. It was a start. (Oh and I was in my pyjamas… except the top. I did change the top.)
Another thing I did was email my husband a very long letter. I was a bit scared to do it. What I attempted to do was express my feelings while rebuilding what I perceived to be broken bridges (broken at least, in my own heart).
I thought, I am blogging and blogging but he has little idea what is going on in my head. That seems unfair. Also he is working very hard during this period of our lives, while I must seem lucky and lost, my only heavy job caring for the children, though they are now all in school, and doing a rather imperfect job of it at that (for example, I am letting them happily watching Netflix and munching fruit right now while I sit here typing, instead of making dinner, which will now be late). That also seems unfair.
But we both have to remember that at any given moment we are (hopefully) doing our best, and our lives change constantly as the kids grow. When the kids were young I was doing a LOT. Perhaps in some ways, at least so I felt, I had more responsibility both in the work zone and in the parenting zone than him (our work situation was different then). Now the tide has shifted and I am trying to find my place. I am not quite ready to take on new work for the sole purpose of “feeling more financially independent” or “gaining more social status” since I know it would affect our children (I would not be at home with them as much). Meanwhile he has a great job at the moment and is well paid, a huge boon for us compared to early days. And at home he is very organized and productive on the weekends. While I moon over words and ideas. So, unfair…
I want to say here for the record that while he has his weak points (some of which are also his strengths, as for many of us), he’s a very good man. He’s faithful, at least as far as I know (and as I do trust him to be, and as I am). I don’t say that flippantly. I was with someone who was grossly unfaithful, before him. One of the main reasons I married “mr right” (haha, actually that name suits him quite well) was because other than my dad, he was the most honest guy I’d ever known. (Er, not to mention damned good-looking, intelligent, and made me laugh.)
There is no physical abuse (just want to put people’s minds at ease). Same thing in the selection process there.
If anything it’s more of an Asperger’s-type situation. And maybe a bit of (non-religious, completely non-religious) “god’s-gift”-ism. Which was at first one of the parts about him that made me laugh the most, and is now (of course) the part that bothers me the most.
The kids adore him, which is the main thing.
However, the kids adoring him means, I feel, that he has a special responsibility to not model “god’s-gift”-ism. I have a horror of accidentally raising boys who feel “entitled.”
Which perhaps is ridiculous on my part. My husband was raised in a situation that was anything but entitled. If anything, *I* was raised in that bubble of modern “entitlement” that many late-Gen-X-ers (and Gen-Y’s) seem to be affected by. Not with regards to race or religion but with regards to outcomes. “I am special,” lol. “I want to be somebody.”
So, I’m trying to take responsibility. I’m going to see what I can do besides sweep things under the carpet for a change. (Come to think of it, if I picked up a broom at all it would be great…)
One other note: last night I could not sleep. So, I read some of the AA book. It’s been a while since I have… it’s a really good book if one can get past the male-Christian-centricity of it, which I can. Bill W was a good guy. Last year I went into a state of semi-enlightened bliss, while reading the first half of the book and practicing its suggestions… but I have to say it was also a bit lonely, since very few others are on the same wavelength when you’re in that state. Probably too real for me to handle first time around. Sometimes you have to fail a few times…
I have mostly lost my sense of spiritual connection for the moment. That’s part of why I had such a hard time sleeping last night (well, that and screen addiction…) I could not connect at the “molecular” level with Tree, i.e. at that level where your molecules feel electrified.
Anyway, the part I re-read in the “big book” last night was this:
“This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked [Tree] to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick [person]. How can I be helpful to him [or her]? [Tree] save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”
“We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn’t treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least [Tree] will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one.
“Referring to our list again. Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened? Though a situation had not been entirely our fault, we tried to disregard the other person involved entirely. Where were we to blame? The inventory was ours, not the other [person]’s. When we saw our faults we listed them. We placed them before us in black and white. We admitted our wrongs honestly and were willing to set these matters straight.
— Inc, A.A. World Services. Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition (pp. 66-67). Kindle Edition. [Note: “God” has been replaced with “Tree” and “man” has been replaced with “person.” – st]
It’s all about holding ourselves accountable. Something which I am constantly trying to to (and failing at a lot). It’s a very, very humbling exercise.
I tried to write the email as forgivingly as I could, also apologizing sincerely for my own retaliation in last weekend’s argument. It was as hard to “Send” on it as it is to hit “Publish” on this blog. We’ll see what happens.
I hope it’s something good.
(Ah, “hope”… you have returned. That’s good, at least.)
xo sstl (still sober tree lady. hey, dinner might be late but it will be served without wine. step by step improvements… hopefully. :))
Thanks for being here. ~ sobrietytree.home.blog/sobrietytree.com
post image: this is a tree near our house. Or rather, two trees, entwined at the roots…