I haven't written a blog post in so long you probably all thought I'd skipped town with a hot young Flamenco dancer. You did, didn't you? Admit it.
I didn't mean to take a vacation from blogging, but honestly, I didn't have much to say. My friend Jaimee, the original vagabond, finally showed up on my doorstep after a meandering drive West from New Jersey. I wasn't sure when she'd arrive or how long she'd stay. Unfortunately it was horrible timing work-wise, so I couldn't really take any days off. When I was home and got done slogging through all the other stuff I needed to do, the last thing I wanted to do was sit at my computer when I could be spending time with one of the most lovely people on the planet.
When you're me, or when you're like me, friendships and people aren't easy. As Jaimee would say, I'm crunchy on the outside but the crunchy layer is only there to mask my soft nougaty center. I'd like to think that as I get older I get more comfortable with who I am and less afraid to show my feelings, but I'm sure I'm not as far along that path as I'd like to be. People scare me. I don't trust easily, and I have a terrible phobia of being made to look ridiculous. The end result is that I will twist myself into the most convoluted of knots to avoid allowing anyone to see how sensitive I truly am.
Jaimee is one of those people that can get along with just about anyone. She's part tree hugger, part hippie chick, part beautiful, sophisticated center of attention at parties and she can put on a dress and heels and have every guy in the room wishing she'd dance with him. In many ways you would think that we have nothing in common aside from our mutual love of nature and the outdoors. When I left New Jersey for Washington Jaimee gifted me with a beautiful necklace - a Yin/Yang symbol made of a white and a black pearl on a silver circle. She told me that she thought it was symbolic of our friendship.
What we found, though, when we were comfortable with each other to actually talk about the important stuff, is that we are inwardly very much alike. She's just far better than I am at masking her vulnerability.
So we've been hanging out a bit the last week and a half. We didn't *do* much, really, just sort of hung around. Sadly I was unable to convert her into a Cowgirl. I like her anyway.
It was good times.
On the home front, C started medication two weeks ago. We've been gradually increasing dosage, and he's been doing better. He had two days last week that he didn't get written up at aftercare, which was a first. He's still apparently not doing all that great fitting into the routine in Kindergarten, or at least that's what the prinicipal observed to me, since his teacher hasn't communicated a damn thing. I requested last Friday that I get an email from his teacher just letting me know what kind of a day he had - even just a sentence or two so that I could communicate that to his doctor. Its Thursday. Guess how many reports I've gotten from his teacher? Yeah. I requested the IEP testing be conducted and that's underway. I know a bit more now than I did when this started with A a few years ago. I now understand that the IEP is not only to address cognitive function but life-skills as well. So even if the testing shows no cognitive impairment, under the I.D.E.A. he is still entitled to assistance in social and life skills.
And because I'm in a good mood at the moment, I'll refrain from discussing the nightmare arguments I've had with the insurance company over coverage and refills.
I have friends and acquaintances I've met who are very anti-medication, and friends who are pro-medication except when it comes to their own children. Lest anyone think that my very first avenue of approach is to medicate, let me clarify a few things.
From my perspective, medication isn't always a requirement when behavioral problems are present. As an adult with ADHD, I'm not even certain that medication is a necessity for all children who have the disorder. I had no idea I had ADHD until I was almost 40 years old. I spent my whole life learning how to live with it with no pharmaceutical help whatsoever. It CAN be done...but I can tell you from experience that it's not easy.
When it came to my own children, my first steps were to find out what was wrong and to understand how much it was a problem. We tried things prior to going the medication route, and honestly, I'm almost sorry we waited as long as I did. My daughter's quality of life before Focalin and Lamictal was so awful compared to how it is now that there I times I feel guilty for not pursuing it sooner. We actually waited a little bit longer to medicate C than we did with his sister. His issues have manifested much differently, and I wasn't really certain how he would react to a school environment.
For my family, medication has made a colossal difference. But I also respect that it is not the avenue of choice for every family. At the best, though, I hope that parents of children who have ADHD, Bipolar illness, Anxiety disorder or any other neurological disorder that affects corporate governance and cognitive function will at least consider looking into medication.
I've heard so often, "Medication just turns your kid into a zombie." I can't promise that every medication out there won't turn your kid into a zombie - but I can tell you that there are very likely many that won't. We did find one medication that had results we disliked - weight gain, general listlessness - and very few positive results, so we discontinued it very quickly and found something that worked better. I can't imagine any parent that wants their child to be a zombie. I mean, can you imagine how hard it is to clean all of those brains out of their school clothes?
Finally, if you've stuck with me this far, I will weigh in on the hot topic of the news, blogosphere and twitterverse this week - suicide amongst gay teens.
It is distressing and disheartening that even with all we know now about sexual orientation being an integral part of a person's hardwiring, with LGBT stars living open lives, with television shows and movies and reality shows either featuring LGBT cast or at least having them as key cast members. Unfortunately our growing awareness and acceptance hasn't reached every family, particularly people in small, conservative towns, and the social conservatives among us have only stepped up the hate rhetoric in response to such wide acceptance.
I hope that the hard of heart among us will be moved by the recent attention to this issue, that anyone who is a parent or an aunt, uncle, grandparent, teacher, classmate, or spiritual leader will read the following statistics and if they have been unsupportive before, will mend their ways:
According to a recent study, LGBT teens who have experienced rejection from their family are
- 8.4 times more likely than their non-LGBT peers to attempt suicide;
- 3.4% more likely to use drugs; and
- 3.4 times more likely to engage in unprotected sexual activities than their peers who have received family acceptance and support.
There are people who want to argue that the bible preaches against homosexuality. I'm no biblical scholar, and I won't pretend to be. There are plenty of respected scholars out there, though, who have researched the etymology and original context of the earliest writings the bible was translated from, and who have concluded that the writers may have been speaking about something entirely differently than the current commonly accepted meaning. Issues of biblical scholarship aside, as a Christian, I find that my understanding of God and Christ are so much bigger than what one can find in a book. If you want to see the love of Christ in living color, all you have to do is look at the eyes and hearts of the people around you. In my belief system, each and every one of us is a child of God and each and every one of us is loved equally. I could say more about my opinion of people who aren't biblical scholars, have never researched its many translations or read all the many versions and scholarly treatises regarding it, but are absolutely willing to take the word of some pastor or religious commentator that it is the unequivocal word of God and only the one translation they're reading from is the "right" one, but I won't. It would be a waste of breath.
Science has taught us that being gay is not a choice, that it is the way people are born. How can it be a sin to be born gay? Seriously. God doesn't make those kind of mistakes. If God thought being gay was sinful, people wouldn't be born that way. I am so tired of Christians who need to feel morally superior to other people. Stop being so damned judgmental, will you? Your hatred and fear are, literally, killing our teenagers.
And finally, in other news, the chicken is off the nest and happily wandering around the yard eating worms like all good chickens should.
I know this was long. I'm sorry. I missed you. How have you all been?