Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Bitter Pill

Throughout my teaching career, I would occasionally have parents who would call with complaints.  They would range from "You're not treating my child fairly," to "The concert last night was terrible."  As I take my profession very personally, these comments would hurt me deeply.  I made a vow to never become one of "those parents" when my children were the same age.

My son is now in high school--a big step for any adolescent.  While he's been largely successful, we've had to work together to learn different study techniques, and most importantly--how to manage his time.  He tends to get impatient with himself and gets frustrated easily, and so the majority of my time with him is reassuring him that if he works hard, things will work out for the best.  He's been pretty busy with sports since school started, first with football and now with wrestling.  He starts his day at 6:15 with early-morning Seminary and doesn't get home until 5:30.  It's a long day for anyone, let alone a fourteen year-old boy.

My frustration has been with wrestling.  He has been wrestling for the past four years, and has been pretty successful.  His dad and I have given him every opportunity to develop his talent--we've taken him to wrestling camps every summer and to off-season tournaments.  Because of his successes, I thought for sure that he would be participating on the varsity wrestling team this year.

His coach thinks otherwise, and has put him on the freshmen team.  He's undefeated thus far, and has won four out of his five matches by pin.  I don't know that many of his matches have been much of a challenge for him.  On the one hand, I'm glad that he's having successes, but on the other hand, he needs to be challenged.

Yesterday he stayed home sick.  He does this at least a couple of times a month...he comes in to my room and says he feels like he's going to puke and feels dizzy.  In my opinion, this is one of the toughest things about being a mom--do you send them to school or keep them home?  Could he have gone to school and been okay?  He stayed home, slept and did some homework.  When his dad left to go to wrestling practice, Ian stayed home, saying he still wasn't feeling well.

When Gordon came home from practice yesterday, he said that the head coach said that if you weren't well enough to practice the day before a meet, you couldn't wrestle.  This means Ian can't wrestle in the big rivalry dual today.  He was going to be able to wrestle on the varsity team for the first time today.  I have a hard time understanding how this is fair.  It would be one thing if he stayed home from practice just because he didn't feel like going, but he was sick.  Gordon is siding with the head coach, saying that Ian needs to learn how to tough it out, and that not feeling 100% is not a good enough reason to not follow through with your commitments. 

While I understand all of this, it's still hard for me to watch my son hurt.  I want to protect him from everything, and I know I can't.  I want him to have everything he deserves, no matter what the cost.  I love him so much, and know he is capable of so much.  I know that this is an important life lesson for him, and I hope more than anything he will learn from it.  I know it's better that he learn this lesson early on.  I only hope that he does.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

About that...

So, I thought I'd write more often.

But then school started for me in October, and I haven't had a second to spare.  I felt compelled to write tonight, though.  So I'm sacrificing sleep for my blog.  See how good I am?

I was officially accepted to my graduate program (Educational Psychology) in mid-August.  By this time, all of the classes that area offered for the entire semester were full.  Thus, I was forced to take all 9 credit hours in 8 weeks time.  It's been hectic, but I have LOVED every minute.  I feel a new sense of purpose and it feels good to be doing something productive again.  My brain has gone soft over the past couple of years, and it feels good to flex my "smarticles" (as Courtnie calls them) again.  I'm doing pretty well.  I'm really shooting for an A in all three classes, and I should be able to do it...if I stop second-guessing my answers on my Applied Behavior Management exams!  I would have earned a 94 today if I hadn't gone back and changed answers...why do I do that?  I ended up getting an 84.  Ugh!

The class I'm enjoying the most is my Adolescent Psychology class.  The instructor gives us a lot of supplemental assignments and information, and I have found all of it so interesting.  Yesterday I watched a documentary on teenage suicide and suicide prevention.  A program was implemented at a school in New Jersey that had experienced a rash of teen suicides.  I wrote a paper on my reaction to the documentary and the plan they implemented, and really thought a lot about the despair suicidal teens feel.

As a family, we attended the BYU vs. NAU game at our local events center.  It was fun to see everyone--one of the members of our ward said that he'd never seen so many Mormons gathered together on one place.  I joked that we should just have our Stake Conference after the game.  BYU smashed NAU, and it really wasn't much of a game, but it was fun to be together.

While we were at the game, I got an automated phone call from our high school.  The principal said that one of the students that attends the high school had passed away yesterday, and that counselors would be available to help at school today.  Pretty vague. 

Through the magic of Facebook, Ian and I were able to figure out that a sophomore had committed suicide Tuesday night.  The timing of this suicide, coupled with my recent paper and learning more about what teen suicide hit me hard.  I've never known anyone so young that has committed suicide.  I immediately started wondering what would have caused him to feel that there was no other option.  Was he bullied?  Was he having family problems?  And most importantly...could this have been prevented? 

According to my textbook, 70% of teens have thought about suicide, and 40% have attempted suicide.  This is an amazing statistic.  I understand the despair that we all feel from time to time, but I just can't fathom what could have made this sixteen year-old feel that there was no other option.  I have thought about this most of the day today.  I drove to Phoenix for another blood test and felt so badly that I started to cry.  My own thoughts and worries left as I thought about his friends and family and the grief they must be going through today.  Life is hard.

I thought I had some good news at the beginning of November when my hepatologist called me to say that my Hepatitis B viral count was now down to 160.  He said that he would let the committee know that he's cleared me to proceed with the transplant.  I was expecting to receive good news the following Tuesday when the committee met.  No such luck.  They want me to be at ZERO before they will even schedule the transplant.  While I understand their rationale, it's still incredibly frustrating.  Michelle and I want so badly to get this over with.  It would be nice to have it over with by the end of the year.  I had another lab test done today, so hopefully I'm where I need to be.

The wait continues...