3ft-10ft

Three feet. Ten feet tops. That’s about the length it feels.

It is a strange thing to explain. How does one explain the length between yourself and well….yourself? But that is about the distance between the experiences. 

Three to ten.

It’s like a movie. Yes. A movie.

 I watch this movie (to be fair its the only one on) but it’s a good one. Hands down, this is a crowd-pleaser. This movie is fabulous. I can’t deny that. A true redemption story of love. And when I doubt if my interpretation is correct and not biased, I only need to look at the characters for confirmation. Yes, this is a good movie. All the characters are living their dreams. They overcame huge obstacles. All the characters are so alive and thriving. Jacob, Steve, and Benno are alive and living life to its fullest.

We are in Nantucket. 

For those who may recall, Nantucket was the place that Benno fixated on when we spent our summer last year in the hospital instead of as planned, traveling by sea. Nantucket. The place that for some freaking reason Benno was fixated on and inconsolable that we would not go. It was an odd fixation. He had never been there (we had never been there), but THIS is what Benno would cry about. How his summer was ruined because he can’t go to Nantucket. 

And I recall how I furious I was that he could yell and cry about this. Fucking Nantucket! How he would use his limited time with me when home from the hospital with Jacob to cry about Nantucket.

And here we are.

I get it Benno. It is beautiful. This is the best set ever. Every movie should be filmed here. It is truly a Brody dream. A boaters town with gorgeous sunsets, good people and food. And we sailed here! Just like we always dreamed and as I write this my boys are fast asleep on the boat. Our safe haven.

It honestly doesn’t get more perfect.

It doesn’t.

I know because I’m watching it. It is perfect. One could question if the director went too over the top. The film is maybe too beautiful to be believed.

The only issue is I’m not feeling it nor living it.

I am three to ten feet away.

Like a movie its a passive user experience. Nope. Wrong word. Passive would infer no emotions. There are plenty of emotions as I watch, but they don’t seem correct nor correlate with the show in front of my eyes. It’s narrative quite different. And I think the discord between the emotions is what frustrates me most. It’s hard to reconcile, especially when the space between the “me watching” and the “me doing” collapses. 

It has happened. I have been one. 

Like when we were in a sinking boat, or even yesterday there was one. Right for a minute, I was right there. I was scooting down main street with Jacob’s arms wrapped around me on our scooter as I navigated the cobblestone streets. The two of us saying “bumpity bump.” That I felt. Not just saw. It was amazing.

But the moments are fleeting and few.

Then back. Three to ten feet.

And it’s strange (to say the least). I oddly wish I had this experience before. It would have been welcomed in the hospital. I would have welcomed the distance. Unfortunately, the now was consuming and I felt every minute, every painful minute. But now this disassociation between experience and emotion is hurtful. Instead of living the movie and feeling joy, I see it with a weight on my chest. 

I watch the movie. I watch my life. 

Three to ten feet away.

F* YOU XXX

​Posting this to remember and for my fellow warriors, educators. I sent this email. I am XXX out all information that would identify the humans behind it. Not because people like this deserve kindness, but because there is an innocent and really awesome child who is the real victim behind it.

XXX,

I never intended to email you and will remove you immediately from any further publications from MTG. I was very taken aback by your email. A lot has happened over the last years. Sounds like great things for XXX.

But you should read it for sure. You should read all of it and LISTEN to yourself for a bit. I wish nothing but the best for your son, but you are a plague on children and society.

D​on’t you dare ever come near me or my family or any of the children (nor their families) that you label as “sociopaths.” ​

————–

The post below is dedicated to the moms that will bulldoze and hurt any child or adult in their path to “success.”  You are outnumbered and we refuse to be silenced anymore.

Sincerely,

Educators around the world.

——————————————–

Dear XXX of the world,

You need to stop. You need to take a deep breath and think about your words and actions. You also need to take accountability and it starts here today. This behavior will not go unchecked.

It ends now.

It starts with all of you reading this (especially you cancer moms who truly know what hardships are). It also starts with all the educators who now are the supermajority of my readership) who are SICK of this narrative. Sick of these parents who kill community and take up 99% of our time. So this is for you educators who love children and sometimes have to say hard things to do right by that child. Educators who are bullied by parents who hold power and money over them. It stops here.

So educators and cancer moms see the email below.  This email was prompted by a mass email from Mind the Gap. Seriously, a mass email about a program to help young adults. And one month later…XXX decides to reply (a bit scary that she sat on this reply for a month). If I go missing…you know where to look!

Classy right?

Super classy. 

And right here you have it. STOP it XXX. STOP blaming others. Stop blaming the “other kids.” And who calls children “junior sociopaths?” Wait…I know. Do you?:) 

And you readers may be thinking… This is the most extreme thing you have ever seen. This must be a XXX thing. But no! This is not unheard of at all. Okay wait to be fair, the use of a “c” word is unheard of, but I guess that’s just how XXX rolls. She is one classy “c”. But teachers receiving bullying emails of this tone are not unheard of. I’ve seen Kindergarten teachers get emails like this. Yes. Kindergarten teachers!

This behavior is not alright and I’m calling it out. So world here it is. This is a peek behind the curtain of private schools. This is how some women behave when ​they​ hear something that we don’t like, especially about our children and this was over SIX years ago. That is the scariest part. This is over six years ago. This woman is bat shit crazy.

The lesson here… Parents the next time a coach, a teacher, an administrator tells you that they are worried about their child, just listen. You don’t need to agree and that is why there are choices in schools and settings. But you also don’t need to be XXX.

And guess what XXX! We have more in common than you know. I get you. I don’t like hearing bad news either, especially about my children. I’ve gotten really bad news. One that could actually “ruin” a life. And if you could believe it, I’m not referring to the experience you and I both went through with private schools. ​​I also got hard news about my child from the exact same school. It wasn’t a fit for him either.

So XXX, when I was in your exact shoes with my own child… Did I cry? Yes. Was I frustrated? Yes. Did I feel a loss? Yes. Did I feel like the experience my child was having in school did not jive with the potential I knew he had? Yes. Did I feel like he had a weak teacher one year? Yes.

Now did I write to the teacher / administrator and call her a “cunt?” NO.

So XXX. FUCK YOU.

God that feels good. I have been waiting my entire career to say that.

FUCK YOU XXX and all the other XXXS that are hurting teachers out there.

You are bullies.

You are what is wrong with the world.

If you think we educators get off on hurting kids, you are truly crazy (or named XXX). And if anything, we have all the incentive in the world to NOT tell you if your child is not thriving. We can keep your money at your child’s expense. It’s hard to replace the kids that we lose! That is lost capital. But, no. That is not what educators do, no child’s happiness is worth that. We are there for your children and sometimes there are hard times. 

And then there are good times! I am thrilled to hear that your child is happy and thriving! That is awesome. He found the right setting.

My child did too. He’s so happy. Thanks for asking.

Sincerely,

Abby Brody​ and all the teachers who have had to work with you​

Educators need to get some balls

I’m not envious of my peers. Hell no. I say a little prayer every morning. 

Thank you God for not having me in my old job at this time. Truly I thank you. AMEN!

I think that would put me over the edge! Yep. I would definitely be going crazy licking glue in the Kindergarten classrooms as I cry over how in the hell one is to pull this thing off?! How do you pull of a task destined for disaster?!

 My heart brakes for my fellow educators. You cannot WIN here. Nope. That has been my advice to them when they call. Accept that fact when waking up and do the best you can. Not that there was ever winning before, but now you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I’ve spoken to a few. So upset by the onslaught from every corner. No summer respite to be had. Constant anxiety and stress. One of my favorite educators put it best.

“It is like swimming blindfolded in shark-infested waters.” 

Educators are being attacked from all sides, especially private school educators. They not only have to deal with uncertainty and somehow pulling off a “miracle” (more on that below), but they also have to deal with parents who are scared, financially strapped, and angry. Sure, the public school parent is annoyed but the private school parent who pays for this education is the shark in those waters!

Oh there is that chill again. I’ve met those sharks…many of them, but I never was blindfolded swimming among them.

This is pure torture for educators who happen to be ALL lovely people. I say that with conviction. These are people who have chosen to devote their lives to children. They will never get that second home. They will never retire with financial security, they have chosen a path of service. They are used to being there for you and now some of you ask them to do the impossible. “Give me my money back.” And you want to KNOW what the fall looks like, because you paid for it and need to make decisions (like should I renew my lease?!). I get it…these are real concerns. But they don’t have Crystal balls nor can many give money back. They don’t have the funds that you think they do.

But trust me they wish they knew and they wish they could give you your money back. But they don’t and can’t. So stop torturing them.

Just for a second think of all the logistics, they are dealing with. Beyond the ridiculous miracle they are tasked with (more on that below), they have pull this miracle off logistically with keeping within the “guidelines” (that change daily!). So if a school goes to a week on/week off schedule, what happens for the faculty member whose kids are on a different schedule?! Do they leave their own kids home to fend for themselves?!

So if you have a minute, send a quick note of appreciation to your school administration and stop attacking over questions about what the fall will look like or your money (that they DON’T have anymore- they most likely spent these last few months to stay afloat and pivot to onine). 

Or…maybe you should start attacking…but not about that stuff, about the RIDICULOUSNESS OF THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION.

School reopening is all based on economics, not children’s (nor faculty) safety. Can we all say that aloud? Can we?! Or am I the only educator who is not tied to an institution right now that has the ability to?

And trust me as a parent, I want school open. More than you will ever understand. I’ve been doing this for MUCH longer than you. I need my kids to return to school, but I’m also a realist and a researcher. I don’t believe in “plans.” I believe in science.

We can say whatever we want to make ourselves feel better, but these last weeks have proven that it will be the children that will spread this virus. Don’t believe me…follow the sunbelt’s data. It’s the KIDS who have caused the spikes. Schools will be the ultimate incubators and if our 20-year-olds can’t social distance, who in the hell thinks a 6-year-old can?

And even with the REAL data coming from the South, Universities continue to push forward…not because they are looking out for our youth, nope. This is about the bottom line. They have to. If they don’t open, they could close forever and the cash in online education isn’t as good as in person.

My favorite are the “new rules” on University campuses. (I’m laughing just writing this!). How students will sign a pledge to socially distance and wear masks at all times on campus. How they will have some live classes (we all know this is BS). The one thing that hasn’t gotten the large media attention, is that the professors aren’t going to show. Do you blame them?! And these are tenured faculty…good luck getting them there. Oh and there will be no “parties” allowed on campus. That is my favorite piece all of the universities are throwing in. Oh okay University, have you ever met your students?! good luck on that one.

University openings will be the beginning of a very serious health crisis.

As Scott Galloway so well put:

Every university effectively falls to the highest common denominator of infection rates. Every university catalog brags that their student body represents all 50 states and 20/30/40+ countries. This means every large university will be welcoming thousands of people from regions that have some of the greatest infection rates globally. After 12 weeks together, those students will travel back to all 50 states, and international students to the 4 corners of the earth. What. Are. We. Thinking?

So I’m calling it now.

It will be a ROUGH fall.

Schools will open as they are forced to for the bottom line. Public will be forced to open for child care and private will follow. And then they will close and we will all be isolated for months to break the very large surged they created.

It is frustrating as a country that we can’t get this right. Let’s get infections down before we talk about schools. But…I also get the need. We all want schools open, but this will be one of the BIGGEST mistakes in our history (mark my words).

So if you want to be angry at your school. Be angry at the CONVERSATION not the logistics. Be angry that they aren’t the school with the balls to have the hard conversations. (Shout out to CA state schools who do have these balls). Be angry that the educators aren’t using their EDUCATION to make informed decisions but instead are looking towards public opinion and our governmental leaders who too are putting the needs of the economy first. Be angry that they can’t be the school to say that socially distancing high school students is impossible and keeping masks on second graders is beyond anyone’s pay grade. Be angry that we are talking about this. Be angry that you keep hearing about how they will clean classrooms regularly and your children will be in pods, instead of not admitting that none of this has any efficacy of working. Be angry that they are looking at options 1-5, when they should spend their time and resources on only ONE option (distant) until we have this virus under control (which we don’t). Be angry that your money is being spent towards nonsense.

And I get the want and NEED. Educators want to open. This one too. Mind the Gap wanted to open in person too. We would make more money on that program. Our demand would be higher. Kids don’t want to be home. They want to party! But we are data-informed educators and that is not the data-informed choice. We do not intend to harm society but intend to solve issues. We want to help lift the burden on society with our crisis in higher education, not add to it.

Educators, join us! It is not an easy line to take. No one likes it. But we have a moral imperative as educators. We are public servants. We are not servants to the government nor to parents. We are servants to the world.

START ACTING LIKE IT!

It wasn’t me

But I get the accusation.

“Look now Jacob is just like every other kid! No school for them either!” “ Jacob will be as disadvantaged as other kids this fall.” “No summer camp envy now! None of our kids are going” “Other kids will also be behind in language so entering Avenues won’t be as difficult for Jacob.” 

And there is work too. “Abby, everyone is talking about gap years!” “People are questioning the value of their college experience.” 

Honestly, the list goes on.

However, when the newest shoe dropped, even Steve is now questioning me. 

“Abby, did you do all of this to get out of running the marathon?”

And while I’m not devastated by any means…(maybe an inside cheer happened…okay an outside one did), I am sad about the missing the opportunity to raise money for kids with cancer. 

But I swear I did not cause COVID. I am not behind it.

I promise. So instead of running 26 miles. I plan on doing some things 26x. 

I will drink 26 bottles of wine.

I will read 26 books.

I will smoke 26 different blends of weed.

I will be embracing training, just my way. The COVID way. But now I need to figure out a way to do that AND raise money for cancer as that is still needed. Welcoming any ideas! 

But just to set the record straight. NO I DID NOT START COVID to get out of the marathon, but I understand why those who know me could think that way;) 

Sink to swim.

I had a day without anxiety. I did! I had a whole day! All it took was a coast guard rescue. 

Yes, a real coast guard rescue. And instead of anxiety, I was filled with laughter. Oddly this was hysterical to me as we slowly sank into the sea.

We had a bit of an adventure, this I like. Adventure makes me feel alive and for some reason it takes a REAL adventure to allow me to be in the “now” recently.  We boated to Block Island and then took a small boat with the kids and my two adult cousins to a small strip of beach. In true adventure spirit, we went on a hike with the kids and discovered a seagull hatchery. Babies everywhere and angry mamas too. It was amazing. Look at the view at the end of our hike.

On the way back…we ran in a bit of trouble. First, the engine was overheating, but Steve felt confident that we could make it back in time, but then a toe felt wet. Then an ankle and before we knew it the kids were up to their knees in water.

We were definitely sinking.

We immediately threw the heaviest of the lot out of the boat to slow the sink. Benno (rightfully so) started to get a bit nervous. “Are we going to die?” “ Are we sinking?” Jacob was oddly quiet, maybe too scared to talk. It was hard to say we weren’t sinking as it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the boat was taking on water. Water in boat = sinking.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop laughing. I couldn’t stop. 

This didn’t scare me. I knew we could swim and the boys have life jackets. I just kept laughing. Look at this. We beat cancer, but here we are in a sinking ship- perfect! 

Steve on the other hand was not laughing, until I think he saw how happy the whole debacle made me. And then we both laughed. Here we are world, sinking. Here is how the Brodys live, on the brink of danger all the time. 

And it was gone. The anxiety vanished. Right then and there. I felt completely safe and fine as we took on water in the ocean with my two young children. 

The coast guard got us before the kids were completely soaked and we got to ride a coast guard boat! And like the man he has become, Benno rose to the occasion. He started laughing too and here he was on a coast guard ship! COOL.

(Special shout out to my cousins who were troopers through it all.)

And sharing this. When we were radioing in for help. We called out to Boat US which we are members to come rescue us. No answer. This was INEXCUSABLE to Benno.

Again, pure laughter. No anxiety!

I guess in life, you got to sink before you can swim!

Benjamin

Yesterday Benno turned 9. Last year his birthday was at NYU hospital. There were no presents from his parents. There was no party with friends. There was just family and an attempt to smile through it all. Jacob had just been diagnosed days before.

The hospital staff allowed us to go outside on a balcony and celebrate. And then it passed, like any other day. 

And looking at Benno today, it is remarkable the transformation. It hasn’t been an ordinary year and by no means has it been an ordinary year of growth. He may be turning 9, but he is way beyond his years. His empathy, his sense of self challenged every day this past year.

Prior to turning 8, our world revolved around Benno. We spent our days and nights concerned about his phobias, obsessed with his lack of nutrition, etc. But that all ended on his 8th birthday. Benno spent 8 having to fend for himself in new ways. He didn’t have the overflow of attention from adults even with a new phobia added to his list, cancer. Often dealing with his anxiety on his own and sometimes not seeing his mom for days who was living with his brother at a hospital 

Looking at these pictures, I wish I could whisper to Steve and I and tell them that not only would Benno survive this year, but would come out better, a new person, he calls this person “Benjamin.” 

So world let me tell you about Benjamin. 

He turned 9 yesterday and he will run the world by 13. He is beyond articulate. He has an opinion on everything and often is right. Painfully right. He will tell you how it is. But, he is also the greatest friend. When Jacob lost his mask the other day when they were playing outside with others, he took his off immediately for his brother. When Jacob screams and goes nuts, Benno will often raise his hand “I got this!” and will take the first attempt to calm Jacob’s nerves. And honestly, he has the better results than his parents.

He is a kid that randomly forwarded me this email after overhearing my conversation with Steve that I want to reach more than the 1% with Mind the Gap. He took it upon himself to create a Mind the Gap digital sign in his roblox game and then wrote the customer care to try and learn more. All of this without my knowledge. Trying to lighten my load. Always trying to lighten my load.

And this Benjamin isn’t afraid of much. 2 years ago I would battle to get Benno on a beach. He hated the feel of the sand, he was scared of the water. If someone told me at NYU hospital that day, that a year from now your son would spend his birthday SURFING, I would have laughed in their face. SURFING?! Benno doesn’t like the beach and is petrified of the ocean.

But Benjamin does.

Very proud of my boy. Happy birthday my love. You have always had incredible power.

 You are the sun. You are the light. In this year, you learned how to control your power and use it for good. To bring light to all in this world. You give me hope. Your light got our family through the darkness. 

Therapy it is.

Therapy it is.

I’m not not a fan of therapy, I do believe it has merit and have seen results in the past, but I hate the long haul of it. I always like the quickest way out. I would rather the extreme and quick method. Can I just take some ayahuasca, live on a commune for a month and return a new person?  Is there a way to get all the flashbacks and anxiety out through a good scary acid trip? Let me relive it once and put it all aside? Seriously this has huge appeal. But this whole mother with job responsibilities keeps getting in the way.

Sigh.

Because living like this and “working through it” is wasting time. TIME. The most precious asset. You know the freaking clock. Back to that clock. Tic. Toc. I may have left that hospital room, but I still hear that clock. The clock that I stared at and was convinced never moved night after night, keeping my family captive by its hands.

And I don’t have the time for this. I also don’t have the heart for this. I need to be able to enjoy this time. We need this so badly. I can’t do this to Steve either who is ready to launch forward into life, only pulled back by me. Watching him this summer has been my biggest joy. Seeing him enjoy the boys with all his heart and soul. Seeing him relish these summer nights. I try and cover the anxiety to not dampen his joy, but like the best friend he is, he is there for me through this too. But, I wish he didn’t have to.

AND WHY NOW?! 

Seriously. Sure I had depression spouts during these last few years and of course anxiety, but it all had a reason, I was looking straight at it, living in a mother’s nightmare. And now, it just lives in my body, a relic of the past. Unsure where to go. Unsure how to let go. Or is it just preparing for the next blow? My mind can’t stop thinking…between Steve and Jacob’s cancer we had 6 months. Is my body just ready for the next shoe to drop? Is it just preparing? 

I try and stop the anxiety with pure reason. But like parents, it doesn’t listen to reason. Nope. Just fear.  

But I write the following reason to remember it later.

  • We are living on the boat, adventuring! Our family’s happy place
  • Jacob is doing great and is happy
  • Benno is FANTASTIC (another post for another time)
  • Steve has never been happier
  • Black Lives are getting the attention it deserves (another post for another time)
  • Education is in the spotlight getting its day of reckoning (hello unsustainable tuitions?!). This will further change

Don’t believe it, Abby, look at the pics! Every night this view for sunset in Montauk.

But there is such grief in those eyes. Grief. Holding back tears, even in the happiest place on earth.

So therapy it is. 

Sick to my stomach

Here I am back exactly where I started.

 It is pretty frustrating. Scartch that it is infuriating. 

I left my last job to make an impact. To solve a real problem for students in real need. And after a year like the last one, one would think I would have learned or at least have a better ability to learn, but no. Right where I started. The same mistake. 

I feel like I’m running up a hill that is so steep that I can’t even get my gripping and end up right back at the same spot even after hours of running at my fastest pace. 

I must look like an idiot.  Running, but going nowhere.

And it does still boggle my mind. 

It does.

Even after YEARS of doing this. Even after years of dealing with parents and students. I need to be reminded that people don’t think based on reason or even what they see, we think based on the old.

I personally call it the “homework effect”. It’s the best way for me to explain it. Or maybe the “slaughterhouse effect” is more appropriate…maybe a bit too dramatic. But it does feel like we all watch child after child go into a hut and not come out and then send our child into that exact same hut. Why? Because that is what we do. That hut obviously is the path for children.

The lesson is that you can show science and reason (basic reason) to people and it still won’t matter. 

Not convinced? Think you are above this? Let’s talk about homework. I bet you have an opinion on that. Every parent has an opinion on homework. They may be all over the map, but opinions aplenty. I tend not to care about opinions especially when they are answers. This one is answerable. Truly. Study after study. No doubts here. We know for a FACT that homework has no effect on academic achievement nor performance for the elementary years. AND some studies show an adverse effect.

So me…you know me…puts together a lecture to declare that homework is dead. That as a data informed educator I can in good faith settle this debate. I will share the studies with the parents. Homework will finally have its day. Let the kids play!

This did not go as planned. Sure there were those who clapped. You could see the nights of screaming children crying over homework. But the majority? UPROAR. ANGER. 

Huh? It boggled my mind. Did you not hear what I said? That this isn’t really a debate? That it is fact. Homework is just busy work and not for this age important to developmental gains. Oh and don’t forget it could HARM your child! Why would you want to fill your child’s time with something that has no benefit and possibly harmful?

But I took their feedback. How it structured the child’s day. How the school’s reputation for “rigor” could be damaged. How it was good for executive skills (even though there is ZERO evidence that that is true before 6th grade). It wasn’t worth losing my job over. 

But you know me…I did not give up. 

So I reenvisioned it. What if we could create homework that had REAL educational benefits for elementary school students? I read everything I could about the flipped classroom model, everything I could about ways we could take this NEED of parents to have their kids do hours of homework and not hurt the actual kids. 

I rolled out a new model of homework. One that brought more second language input into the home looking to increase our outcomes in second language aquisition through play and leveraging technology. It was pretty exciting work. How could this go wrong?! I was giving the homework that parents demanded, but this time making sure we weren’t damaging kids!

But it looked different. Gone were the worksheets. UPROAR. ANGER.

And I put this screen shot from my book on how the brain ACTUALLY behaves to remind myself. 

And its frustrating. Why wouldn’t reason win? Maybe you have to have a child diagnosed with a life threatening disease to PRAISE science. Maybe science has to save your life like it did for Steve and Jacob to look past your opinion and study facts?

So yesterday I spent the day on the phone with gap year consultants. Yuck. Yep. I listened to them tell me their clients needs. I had to sell them on why LIFE READY is better than the hundreds of other options they have. My favorite being “Daniel” whose dad has multiple wives and he is rebelling by living with his Aunt in a masion in Tuscany. And that it will be a hard sell to the family, because it is clear that the faculty is “liberal.” I felt nauseous. I was right where I started. Right back in that office talking to parents and convince them on facts.

And not just any parents and students. So far our applicants to LIFE READY are from the .01%. All from the .01%. All the kids who have always had this advantage. Now I’m just another “program” in the mix. Another option. Sure I feel confident that i’m a better option with real research and educators making decisions to solve real issues, but this was NOT the reason I started Mind the Gap. 

I started Mind the Gap to change the bigger picture. The FAIL.The fact that only 14% of our college graduates succeed (and we all know where most of that 14% come from).  

Sure I can blame COVID for this failure. I could. But that’s not it. Its basic human nature that I’m going against. 

I remember when I visited a charter school in the Bronx a few years ago. Most students at this school qualified for free lunch. I was invited to a 2nd grade assembly and as part of their ritual they began with a chant. “College bound! College bound!” That was the dream. That was the metric of success even when we knew that most of the students would never make it and if they did they would be riddled with debt. 

I again forgot that it doesn’t matter. That the human brain will trudge on with its inputs and those inputs are formed by an education MACHINE. A profitable MACHINE. And you, the parent, that is scared shitless to mess this up. To challenge the norm. That this gift will be met with opposition, which it has. 

And I failed. I did. I missed the mark. I should have known this. 

Failing is not easy.

And I know (I hear you…) you did not fail Abby, but let’s be clear, this isn’t “success either.” LIFE READY is not hitting the students we want to hit. Our price point isn’t where it needs to be. 

I got it wrong.

But just annoyed that this is a reoccurring event. Every time the same lesson. The same mistake.

And here I am. 

Back where I started. Dealing with white rich kid problems. The 1% of the data and I’m sick to my stomach about it. SICK. 

365 days

Its a year today. 

Maybe its an anniversary for you too. Maybe Jacob was the first sign of the cracking of the world around us. It does seem (from this perspective) that all the chaos sped into warp speed since his diagnosis. It may have been the first child you knew to have cancer. Maybe it shook your core too. Maybe.

It is definitely an anniversary for me. It was the beginning of the “new normal.” The beginning of having your child diagnosed with an incurable disease that will haunt our every move for the rest of our lives, even in remission. 

But unlike the days leading up to it, I’m staying positive. I woke up to Jacob spooning me! His little arms draped over me and then we had breakfast together. And STEVE, he speaks again…this is a rare moment. 

And thank you Nightwing for being there every step of the way.

Specks

Things are better. 

Its true naming something does help. Knowing that I wasn’t going crazy was helpful and thank you Nightwing for helping with resources, articles, and even your own stories of the “anniversary effect.”.

The weight is much lighter. 

And I wrote this last night to remember its truth. That sometimes you have to relinquish control. That the world is bigger than you, a speck.

The movie is playing again.

But this time I’m watching while I dance.

From the balcony I see her.

I see her walk through the day

She’s just a speck.

Just blowing. 

Just one of many.

Of the infinite.

In no control

But yet she seems to think so

She dances

She dances well

But little does she know that she is just one

A speck

Blowing

Just one of many

Of the infinite

You want to touch her

But you can’t

She is too busy dancing

But you see the whole floor

You see that she

A speck

Blowing

Just one of many

Of the infinite

The specks become indistinguishable

Her plight just as random as the others

Her moves just as spontaneous

But yet aren’t they planned?

You try and look at 

the speck

Blowing 

Just one of many

Of the infinite

But it hurts the eyes and ears

No patterns to be seen

No rhyme to be heard

Its dizzying chaos

As you look at 

The speck

Blowing 

Just one of many

Of the infinite

So look again

At all the specks

And all of a sudden you see a swirl

Birds synchronizing in flight

It’s beautiful, a stary sky in motion

The specks

Blowing

All one 

Of the infinite