It’s Okay to Cry

Had I written this post last week the tone would have been cynical and jaded. I would have had comments like, “Hang in there,” or “You’re doing better than you think” and the whole thing would have been reduced to an Amanda Wilkinson song, “It’s Okay To Cry.”

But cynicism wears old. I get tired of being frustrated with frustrating people. You know what I mean? It takes too much energy. I don’t have that kind of time.

Although, lately I have had time. It seems since Cooper left I got two extra months added into the last two weeks. I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I managed to fit 60 days into 14. Go figure. This year might be my slowest lived yet.

But two months lived in two weeks can do incredible things for a person. I’ve been able to gain new perspectives. Move forward. Forgive. (Time heals all wounds.)

I’m not harboring hateful feelings anymore toward the football coach who told me on the phone, “I don’t have time for development.” I called it coaching, but we had a difference of opinion. He explained that he’s got his “core team of players” who’ve been in the game for six years. Six years! Wow. I had no idea my son was too old at twelve to be taught the nuances of wearing molded polycarbonate padding and hitting into other players. The short story: We turned in the pads and went with soccer.

I’m only disappointed because here was an opportunity for Jonah to be a part of a team, learn integrity and the idea that you never give up. But the coach gave up on a National Championship winning rugby player from Sweden and instead of making him feel like a part of something worth striving for, he taught him to quit before you even start because some things aren’t for everyone. Well thank you. It was a loss of one kind and a gain of another. Winner of this round: Life Experience. ‘Cause life isn’t about fitting in, it’s about figuring out…figuring out who you are and who you’re going to be when the odds are stacked against you. If you can win on the gridiron of life then you will go undefeated.

And as for Maggie’s teacher, I’m over that too. I realize that some people in St. George don’t get our lifestyle, the fact that Maggie, at six years of age, has already lived in four U.S. States and three years in Sweden. It doesn’t make sense for some people. So when her teacher informed me that Maggie couldn’t participate in the class party celebrating the kids who did the summer reading/math packet, I calmly explained our situation, the fact that we weren’t here, that we were moving, that Maggie would be deeply disappointed to be excluded and sent to another classroom while all her friends were eating muffins and watching a movie. And when it looked as though things still might not go in our favor, I even threw in her dad was in Iraq. Now if that doesn’t play on your heartstrings!

“But did she do math and reading everyday this summer for twenty minutes?” was the teacher’s only response to my plea.

Umm…did you not just hear any of what I just said? She’s six. Her dad is in Iraq. We were moving. She’s new and has no friends.

Her final offer: “Write a note stating that she did math and reading everyday for twenty minutes and she can attend the party.”

Dumbfounded, I went home and wrote the note.

There comes a point when you just gotta do what you gotta do. And anyways, packet be darned, I read to her. We got a library card. I taught her what a quarter is and how to insert it into a gumball machine—that’s math! The important thing is, she went to the party. Not moving from Sweden, not her dad being gone, not our life circumstances are going to keep her from enjoying life and having a party.

Because if we’re talking math, then how about adding this up…life is hard and that equals we all need a little celebrating. Can’t we ease up and instead of excluding someone, say, come on, you’re invited, and you’re worth a party. That’s all I was trying to say. Maybe the message was lost on the teacher, but as for Maggie, she enjoyed every minute of her celebration.

Amada Wilkinson, we’ll dry our tears, we’ll hang in there; I know we’re doing better than we think. But you said it…it’s okay to cry.

17 Comments on “It’s Okay to Cry

  1. Honestly, your story reminds me to remember that it’s (often) a waste of precious energy trying to sort and make sense of things. Doing what you have to do next – usually, making that up on the spot – almost always works. Thankfully, these recent experiences underscored that for you, Lana, so the next time someone’s dense you’ll be better equipped to move through it with lightening force.

  2. What you’re asking is that we as teachers differentiate for varied student needs. I don’t understand why that’s so hard for some of my colleagues. Because it’s easy to do. You pay attention, listen, and adapt. Then students learn to do that to.

    Having said that, I know so many teachers who love rules because they are defensible. I don’t. I’m so glad you’ve been able to move beyond.

    • Exactly Jacqui. It just takes a little empathetic listening. Rules are guidelines and sometimes you need to rethink their purpose and adjust. That’s part of teaching.

  3. You’re a JEWEL Lana!! I appreciate how you communicate and share your feelings !! You’re kids are so Fortunate to have you as their Mom. I can just imagine what Cooper has to say about all this. ( I would love to hear his response). Give Jonah a BIG Hug and tell him he is BETTER than that mentality. I’m glad Maggie celebrated with the rest !!!
    Just so you know the drama continues throughout life/parenthood.
    You’ll find this interesting. Royce was so excited to know that Bobbie jo was teaching in his city he patrols so he visited her on her first day teaching to wish her a Happy Birthday and to surprise her in uniform. It was her Birthday so that seemed like the right thing to do.
    He went to the attendance office in uniform and was turned away from seeing her. He said ” can I just say Happy Birthday to my Sister”. He was told to come back when school lets out. *(This is the same school he responds to police calls) Seriously !!! Yes, seriously…Sometimes I guess you have to sit back and wonder…

    • Wow Deb, I really fear for our country and police officers when people in this nation lose all common sense. Come on, it’s his sister’s birthday. You do have to wonder…

  4. Tell Jonah that soccer is a much more fulfilling sport anyway. Maggie’s teacher should be ashamed of herself, that’s ridiculous. Great post.

  5. My dear Lana – I hope this email gets to you somehow. I want to keep in touch with you more. (Like talk on the phone.). You are my kind of people! Let’s update our info. Love you so much, Kim (ps – I would have wrote the note too!!!!)

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!! I feel your energy!!! ..gave me energy to move on too!! Thank you!!!

  7. I love how you put words to your experiences. You really are a gifted writer Lana, and an incredible mum. Keep up the good work! Love/Louise

  8. I get you. Why do we raise so many barriers? I’ve learned that there are certain kinds of details I just don’t track well. So when it’s time to celebrate learning, we just celebrate it all. The moment you, as an adult, try to draw some weird socially-constructed meaning between cupcakes and the number of minutes read–it’s time to admit that it’s really just about the cupcakes and make sure everyone gets one. And a napkin. And a wet wipe. While they’re eating, you can read them Ogden Nash poems (but someone’s going to blow cupcake out their nose at some point, so have more wet wipes ready.)

    • Haha, you’re so right!! Let’s just read cause kids actually love to read when you give them great books. I say “Let them eat cake!”

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