Mary Beth Writes

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Remember the kids who were smart as whips but couldn’t read, so it was important for teachers and other adults to hold them in over recess and make sure everyone knew they were failure no matter how funny and rude their comments?

Remember some teachers homing in with laser focus on kids who got straight A’s on tests and essays, but whom, when adults tried to force them to answer out loud, there was panic in their faces?

Names for the functional and dysfunctional ways our brains work are new. I never heard of ADHD until I was already a parent. I heard of autism 20 years ago. Remember how surprised you were to hear about a thing called dyslexia? I now know I have had several friends who lived with serious depression, but I just thought they were interestingly melancholic.

The violence at the Capitol was so many kinds of awful and more is threatened. We are adults now; we are responsible to seek help when we are miserable. I do not forgive adults who don’t look for help. I hugely admire people who do work to understand themselves and to live well.

But let’s guess how many of those racist men and women came from scarred stories. Who found solace and power belonging to groups of other angry people. Who felt as if they were finally overcoming their failures and unhappiness. Carry something powerful. Bash things. Yell and trash and threaten. Catharsis feels good. For a while.

People talk about “these coddled kids with all their fancy names for plain old bad behavior.”

Nope.  We must name what’s going on and give each other valid paths forward. 

Maybe we shouldn’t call the Special Ed teachers.  Maybe we should call them Guardians of the Emerging Nation.

Holy Cow, I’ve been busy all morning and had not looked at Twitter in several hours. Remember when one got the news when Walter Cronkite was ready to tell it to us? Or the newspaper arrived?

I can still see my oldest kid just home from high school. She would make a snack, pour a cup of coffee, sit down at the kitchen table, open up that day’s paper and read it front to back. I see her sitting there, light from the window illuminating her so that she looked a bit like a preoccupied medieval nun hunched over a manuscript.

Now our kids, and ourselves, sprawl hither and yon to scroll our phones.

Do you have newspaper memories? (I know some of you still get it delivered.) Do you remember watching others read it? It was such a part of our lives - morning, the paper, a cup of coffee. Who knew we could lose that quiet ritual?

People in DC have taped hundreds of thank you signs to pipes in the underground walkways between the Capitol and other buildings? “I see you. I saw what you did. You helped me. Thank you.” Itr's so powerful to notice each other and respond with whimsy, gratitude, and respect.

When I was pulling spent plants late in September, I discovered a tiny avocado plant. Kitchen scrap composting is an adventure, obviously an avocado pit had not seen its future as doomed. I brought it in with some other summer plants, hoping to keep them alive until next summer. The avocado plant soon died.

I thought.

Just saw my emerging plant. (Pix above)

I checked to see if there are quotes about avocados.

“Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Eat me now. Too late.”

 

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All throughout college my dad would save up the Sunday comics and send them to me in the mail every month or so.
Mary Beth's picture

I can imagine how fine that would be. I bet other kids were jealous...

M.B. when your avocado plant gets bigger and leaf's out you can pop off a leaf( well Len can ) and use it in cooking as one would use a bay leaf... I use them when I make beans or soup... Just one of those strange facts that I carry around in my brain...
Mary Beth's picture

I did NOT know this! MY life is transformed!! Thank you..

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