Life sure is bumpy, isn’t it?
It seems like every time I turn around, I’m bumping into something. I wish I could say that I’m not literally bumping into something – but that would be a lie. I have many inexplicable bruises. It’s become a joke. “Where’d you get that one?” “I don’t know.” I bump into so many random walls and countertops and doorways that I don’t even notice anymore.
But the bigger story here is all of those metaphorical bumps that jump out in front of you and shout DETOUR!!! I hate those.
Like yesterday. I was volunteering for Griffin’s teacher – ‘cause that’s what I do – and instead of making copies or cutting out pumpkins or reading to kids, she needed me to take down the hallway displays. All of them. Some of which I had created for her just three weeks ago. Why? Oh, you’ll love this. The fire marshal had come through and declared the entire school a fire hazard – at least according to the newest fire code approved by the city. (Oh, how I love those city codes!)
Now I may be a little biased, but our elementary school totally rocks. I cannot say too many good and glowing things about this school. I love it. You walk through the front doors and immediately know this is a fun place for kids to learn. The teachers are phenomenal, the staff is amazing – even the library is a fully-stocked, joyous place to fall in love with books. I have never walked into the school and not seen a handful of parents buzzing around volunteering. The hallways are colorful and creative – I can’t even describe to you how awesome the hallways are – created in large part by my artist friend, Brenda.
But sadly, now the fire code tells us we have to Go Flat. Nothing can be three-dimensional. Flat. On the wall. Nothing hanging from the ceilings either. Apparently, such things could catch on fire and drop on a small child. (Though, as Griffin’s teacher noted, she’s not planning on staying in a burning building long enough for anything to drop on anyone.) And no more fabric bulletin boards. No more reading lofts. All in the name of fire safety.
So no one is happy about all the new rules, but what can we do? Rules are rules. This is the deck we’re dealt, so we just have to find a way to make it work. While I was pulling down puffy cornstalks and pumpkins, Brenda was already adding glitter to our newly Flat hallways. You do what you can. I’m not worried. Our parents and our teachers are incredibly creative. Brenda is awesome. We’ll make it work. You take what you have, and you move forward. You can be mad, and you can grumble and whine, but in the end, you’re still left holding the same deck of cards. So you make it work.
The day before, I had conferences with Meghan’s teachers about her progress for the first 9 weeks of school. Or, I should say, her standing-still-because-she-already-knows-it-all. She needs a little challenge, and while it’s frustrating that it’s taken nine weeks for her teachers to realize that, it’s where we are now. So we discussed projects she can do and challenges she can undertake to make her educational experience a little more enjoyable. I have a feeling it’s going to be an ongoing conversation throughout the year, and I’m going to have to dust off my advocate hat a little more often than I’ve had to in the past. Meghan is going to have to learn to put on her own advocate hat and respectfully speak up for herself and what she needs – and that’s hard to do when you’re 10. But that’s where we are, and this is what we have to work with.
In the meantime, Meghan is having a really hard time forgiving her 5th grade teachers, Mrs. M and Mrs. W, for not being Mrs. H, her 4th grade teacher. Mrs. H is one of those once-in-a-lifetime teachers. She is a great teacher, and Meghan doesn’t just love her, she looooooves her. Mrs. M and Mrs. W are not Mrs. H. Not even close. And they’re not bad teachers – they’re just different. And Meghan is angry with them for that. Every day I hear, “But Mrs. H did this…” and “In Mrs. H’s class…” She can’t get past it – to her own detriment. I’m trying to formulate some kind of wise saying about walking forward while looking behind you and not only missing the beautiful sunrise, but then running into a tree and getting a concussion.
So we’re talking a lot about moving on and making the best of what you have been given, even if it’s not what you would like to have in your hands.
Like our house. The closing date keeps getting pushed back, and I’m told this is the year of El Nino – which, for Texas, means wet. Very, very wet. Which isn’t good when you’re trying to pour a foundation. But there’s not a lot we can do – ok, nothing we can do – to control the weather, so we are resigned to wait. And wait. And that’s ok.
One more example, then I promise I’ll wrap this up. Meghan has been going to physical therapy for her back pain. Her orthopedist prescribed 2 times a week for 6 weeks. We found out earlier this week that our insurance company has only approved coverage for FIVE office visits. This is the hand we’ve been dealt. This is what we have to work with.
That is just seven different kinds of WRONG, and I refuse to keep these cards in my infuriated hands. We could jump through a couple of hoops and submit an appeal and request coverage for additional treatment. Or we could kick the insurance company’s a** and pay for the treatment out-of-pocket (which is ironically less than the contracted insurance rate) and still submit our receipts for reimbursement through our HSA. I’d prefer not to give a stinkin’ red dime of payment to the insurance company because we’re not going to meet our obscenely high deductible by the end of the year anyway.
Evil, thy name is Humana.
So sometimes you have to work with what you’re given and make the best of it. And sometimes you fight back. I prefer the assess-and-adjust method that has become all too familiar, but I’m not opposed to standing up and refusing to back down. I guess you have to pick your battles according to which ones you can actually win.
And if all else fails, just add glitter.