Just when I think that I have surely lost my mind, something happens that is oddly reassuring. Perhaps I feel better when I know that other people are coming unglued, too.
Or maybe I feel less alone when I know that someone else shares my fears and stressors.
I don’t know.
All I know is that in the past 24 hours, I have had two conversations that were both distressing and reassuring. Tell me what you think: am I crazy to feel better after these two experiences?
The first story comes from my friend Linda; a smart, thoughtful colleague who shares my frustration about the gun issue. Linda is a special education teacher, a member of that very special group who is able to find logical solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems. She came into my classroom this morning, and we fell to talking about the ridiculous arguments that we both are hearing against banning military style weapons. We shared our outrage over the whole “Banning guns won’t help!” thing, and the “Responsible people are allowed to carry these guns!!” thing. We shook our heads at the profound stupidity of it all.
Then Linda said, in her understated way, “I have an idea.” In the world of education, when the Special Ed teacher makes this statement, you are about to hear a slight twist on the usual approach to a problem, and you are very likely to shout, “Aha!”
In this case, Linda proposed that instead of “screening out” the mentally ill, the violent and the delusional from gun purchases, we should be “screening in” those few who have a legitimate and defensible reason to own their weapons. “Make them fill out an application, and go to the local town hall. Make them prove that they are stable, law abiding and have an honest reason for needing the deadly weapon.”
Well, AHA! If only….. I am sending this suggestion to Joe Biden, President Obama, Senators Kerry and Warren and everyone else I can think of.
Unusual, yet oddly reassuring!
My second story comes from my most recent visit to my Mom.
As you no doubt know from reading this blog, I am struggling mightily to come to terms with the fact that my children have all grown up and no longer need me. I am letting go of my Mommy years with the utmost reluctance and I am kicking and screaming and sobbing the whole way.
But this morning, at 6 AM, I had a wake up call that was both heart stopping and oddly reassuring.
I spent last night, as I do most Thursdays, with my 82 year old Mom. Theoretically, I am there to give her some company and some help. In reality, I am there so that she can cook for me, pour me wine, kiss me goodnight and hand me some lunch as I go out the door in the morning.
My Mother is a feisty, strong, independent and superbly capable woman. She is a force to be reckoned with.
Except when she gets sick (which is hardly ever). Last night I went to see her, and found her fighting a very bad cough and extreme fatigue. My sister, the medical expert in our family, was pretty sure that Mom had pneumonia. She wasn’t able to get in to see her doctor until today, so she was really feeling lousy.
As the evening wore on, and I watched her struggling to breathe, I decided that I should take today off from school. I wrote out some sub plans and cancelled a conference that I was supposed to have before school. I emailed a colleague to help get my classroom ready.
Then I made a tactical error: I told Mom.
Yeah. She was absolutely not having it! She told me she’d be fine. She took her cough medicine and went to bed.
I lay awake listening to her wheezes until nearly midnight, then got up twice to listen at her door for sounds of life (which there were, thank God!)
Finally, at about 4:30 this morning, I made up my mind to call in sick, and I fell into a nice deep sleep.
Bam! My door opens. “Karen!” I jumped awake, hearing my Mother’s strong voice. I struggled to sit up, knocking pillows to the floor as I flailed.
“Karen, get up and go to school. I’m better.”
I should have argued. I should have laid back down and pulled the covers over my head. I should have been firm and assertive and calm and I should have stayed with her until her doctor’s appointment.
But I didn’t. I hopped up like a bug on a skillet, jumped into the shower and got dressed. It wasn’t until I was halfway to school that I remembered that I’m actually a GROWNUP, and that I didn’t have to wake up when my Momma told me to.
And then I started to laugh. You know why?
Because it is oddly reassuring to know that even when they are 56 years old, my children will still see little old me as “Momma” and my word will still be law.
Thanks, Mommy, for making me feel like I will always be “Mom”. Thanks, Linda, for making me feel like there may actually be some logical answers to this ridiculous morass about gun rights.