49 years of life

June 2020

The circumstances that my little family have been in the last few years have been challenging, to say the least. At times I feel we have been misunderstood, disregarded, overlooked, attacked. I withdrew into a kind of small protective shell. That’s how I feel most comfortable because it’s scary out there right now.

I’m a truth teller. For me that means that when I speak or write I spit it straight out. Sometimes people describe that as being direct or blunt. I’ve found that people react to my truth in different ways. Sometimes people love it. They think I’m hilarious or inspiring or refreshing. And sometimes people just can’t tolerate it. I guess they think I’m rude or shocking or embarrassing. For whatever the reason, people don’t always appreciate me. What are you gonna do, right?

Sometimes I feel bad because I know that the way I am wired can be polarizing. I’ve experienced a lot of this last year. Life has been really hard. There hasn’t been a whole lot of joy. There has been a tremendous amount of pain. That means my truths are hard and they can expose a lot of difficult feelings. They are called hard truths because they are hard. It’s hard for me to express them and it’s hard for people to receive them. What I know, having gone through hard times before, is that my inner circle can become really small during these times. Not everyone can handle the hard things I’m dealing with. It just is what it is. I am sorry for the family and friends who have fallen away from my inner circle right now. My family and I do need support and I am grateful for those on whom we can depend.

One of the products of my truth telling personality is that when people ask me how I’m doing I have a hard time not just blurting out everything that’s on my mind. I’ve found that the best way for me to answer honestly and still within the social norms that people expect is to simply tell them that I’m okay. I’m okay has been my standard answer out in the world for the last year or so. I am okay. We are okay. Everything is okay.

This last year all three of my kids have been primarily unschooled. I’ve come to love this term unschooled. I’m not sure how my kids actually feel about it. They grieve not being able to go to school with their friends. My cousin’s partner introduced me to the term unschooling when she used it to describe her own teenage son. Despite anyone’s assumptions or judgments, my kids being unschooled is because I was left with no choice. They have been unable to attend school. All have been related to their health. I’ve met dozens and dozens of parents with kids who are being homeschooled for similar reasons. Our school system is unable to serve these kids. Despite working in the school system all these years, this is not something that I truly understood until now. It is something that I’ve now spent a lot of time coming to terms with firsthand.

I have had to stand up for my kids and for myself in our public school system. This has meant countless hours in exhausting meetings, nearly constant emails and phone calls, and complaints and lawsuits. I’ve had to handle a lot of health issues with my kids who are all working on getting back on track. I am also dealing with my own health issues, which have been triggered after being under control for the last 7 years. Now my health issues are back and I have to figure out how to take good care of myself all over again. Anxiety and depression are something that I am now understanding firsthand. It’s really hard.

So that’s where I’ve been. The details aren’t really that important to share here and I am happy to be moving into a new year of life. 48 was so hard, my friends. So hard.



Published by stuckinmybra

First and foremost, I am a mother, but I am also an education lawyer and policy specialist, an advocate, and an activist. I've been told by my closest friends that I am a fighter. My practice area is disabilities and education, which is where I have been practicing since 1999, before I had my own kids who are now teenagers and are all educationally identified as twice exceptional. I write about what is on my mind, which feels like a messy file system of old and constantly new information. I think about my kids and the people they are and how to help them become who they want to be in this world. I write about issues that affect deaf people because one of my kids is deaf. I write about giftedness, autism, trauma, inclusion, mental health and chronic illness because those are all things that affect my family. I write about my own life and the people in it. I hope what I write touches peoples hearts and opens people’s minds because I think people in our world need to have more understanding and compassion. I'm here to tell the straight up truth.

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