Monday, August 27, 2012

School district FAIL ends in win

My handsome high schooler, up before the sun and ready
for his very first day of some high learnin'!
Nothing like some school district drama to inspire me to break my more-than-two-week blog hiatus. After months of preparing my sweet kiddo (with autism) for the big high school transition, someone in the district dropped the ball ... big time. I put my nervous, all-dressed-up freshman on the special-needs bus this morning with full faith he'd have a spectacular first day! I even took him for a ride to the new school last night to get him all warmed up and hyped for the morning. Then, about 25 minutes after I waved goodbye and let out a sigh of relief, I got a call informing me my baby had been dropped off at the wrong school!! Oh, no, that's not even it. The transportation department refused to pick him up and take him to the correct school! They said it was the first day, and things were way too chaotic for them to right this wrong. Are you kidding me!? Nope. They weren't kidding at all. The wrong school offered to keep him for the day, and because I said HELL NO and went and picked up my son and dropped him to the correct school, transportation denied him a ride home.

I was not about to allow my baby to have to endure TWO first days of high school just because someone screwed up. I was so livid that after a few furious phone calls to no (immediate) avail, I decided I'd contact folks tomorrow after I've calmed down a bit. I know it's spilled milk at this point, but this isn't a FedEx delivery gone wrong. This was my precious child whom I put in the hands of capable strangers, and there's no excuse for this bullshit.

Part two of first-day debacle

I insisted on picking him up at 1:30 because I refused to have to sit in car-rider traffic. Got there, picked him up. As we got to the car, he had the wrong backpack on. Had to turn around and go right back in. After 10 minutes, a smile-less woman brings us the right backpack, takes the other one and departs. Really? I guess that was our fault too, huh?

Here's the bright side to this rocky first day. He was really excited to be at his CORRECT school and had a great day. He smiled at drop-off and a pick-up times. His smile and my happiness are one and the same. And in the parking lot, I ran into the mom of Nabeel's most beloved friend who had moved to another school during junior high but is now reunited with him in high school! She and I had a great chat about some huge improvements she's had with her son's communication skills thanks to a special tutor and therapist she found. Sounded very encouraging! We exchanged numbers and vowed to keep in touch and share ideas. I had been wanting to meet her for the longest time, knowing how much Nabeel adored her kiddo. He had never shown such interest in a friend before, and it was just heart-warming. Nabeel talked about this kid non-stop, even after he moved to another school and hadn't seen him in a few years. I was so happy to see this mom that I got emotional. She's one person who can understand what I'm going through as her son is also autistic and the same age as Nabeel.

If Nabeel hadn't been dropped to the wrong school and ended up with the wrong backpack, I would have never met up with her at the car. God works in mysterious ways, and He guides me right where I need to be. My baby got his best friend back, and I made a new friend. And my son had a fun day after all.

Life is precious.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Review: Jane Eyre

I started reading classics a few years ago, simply because I love books SO much that I felt a little silly that I had never indulged in the classics. Aside from the forced reading in my grade school days, it's been mostly random picks. The first true American classic I picked up was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and once again, it was also thanks to my son's assigned reading. I never enjoyed the assigned reading when it was mine as a kid, but I sure do enjoy his.
This was definitely a story of a powerful woman, which speaks volumes coming from the time it was written, a time in which women were powerless unless they had the fury in them to fight for what they wanted. Jane Eyre did so without bringing the fury to the outside. During the story, I could sense her fire within, but she stayed classy and never acted anything other than ladylike, even when she conquered some great evils throughout her life and put up with an abusive so-called family.

She was left to her uncle's wife after his passing, a woman who despised the sight of her. She had three cousins who adopted their mother's bitterness toward her. It reminded me much of a Cinderella-type story just in the way she was shunned at the start but shined at the end to everyone else's demise. But by saying that, I'm jumping ahead of myself. *clears throat*

Just like any other girl, whether rich or poor, gorgeous or average, she has dreams and those unavoidable girly thoughts and feelings about men, her looks and the behavior of other people. She was incredibly humble and never strived for extravagance. After a bloody brawl with her cousin John, things only got worse. She was sent off to a school for the underprivileged, and her aunt made sure to cast the evil eye upon her by the head of the institution. Jane befriended a teacher who nurtured her through her years at the school. She had friends, something she'd never really know before. She learned French and excelled in her general studies. Years pass until she's hired as a governess, and that is where the real story begins.

She lands on the doorstep of Mr. Rochester at Thornfield, the man to whom she will devote the rest of her life. She does her job well and puts up with Rochesters snarky remarks to her and his abrasive treatment (although he developed feelings for her too). After a weird sort of courtship of mind games and mental torment, they profess their love for each other, and he wants to marry her ... BUT! This part is a killer ... he's already married to woman who is stark raving mad and lives locked up in his attic. As they are about to take their vows in the church, a protester rushes forth ... the brother of this mad woman stands up for her honor, mad but married nonetheless!

Then comes one of my favorite lines in the book, "Jane Eyre, who had been an ardent expectant woman -- almost a bride -- was a cold, solitary girl again: her life was pale; her prospects were desolate. A Christmas frost had come at midsummer; a white December storm had whirled over June; ice glazed the ripe apples, drifts crushed the blowing roses; on hayfield and cornfield lay a frozen shroud: lanes which last night blushed full of flowers, to-day were pathless with untrodden snow; and the woods, which twelve hours since waved leafy and fragrant as groves between the tropics, now spread, waste, wild, and white as pine-forests in wintry Norway," said Jane after the truth came out to bite her just minutes before saying "I do."

She starts yet another journey, because she leaves Thornfield, wanders, finds camaraderie in another town until much time flies, and she ends up heading back to Thornfield to check on her Rochester. She finds Thornfield burn down, no one to be found and Rochester, now blind, stays with friends, wife dead.

I was a bit perturbed by how crappy Rochester treated Jane in the beginning. I softened a bit after he admitted he loved her and wanted to marry her, but lied to her about his wife. I first thought Jane should move on, but true love leads the way, I suppose. So back to him she went to take care of him, marry him and have some kids. The unfailing happy ending. For the time in which this book was written, I find it very powerful and very supportive of a strong woman, ironic considering at that time women didn't have many rights yet in the man's world.

I love classics!