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Genki des!



parenthood and the pursuit of happiness

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Dear Mom
Genki des!
Dear Mom,

I miss you.

These days, I've been grieving hard. I was so grateful you weren't in pain anymore for a very long time, and now, I'm just terribly broken.

And I'm angry.

I was on Facebook the other day (fucking Facebook), and a friend posted how much she loathes it when people say, "It is what it is." It makes her enraged because things never are as they are. There is always something more. This makes sense to me; it is a phrase like, "I'll pray for you", which is a phrase that makes me equally crazy. Both imply that human action is useless, and usually, the user is trying to placate and dismiss the listener.

Now, as you know, Mom, I've been doing my best to it-is-what-it-is the school situation for two years now. It-is-what-it-is has helped me get through it -- it has placated me, but it hasn't helped the situation itself. I haven't prayed on it, though, either, so maybe that's why I'm still screwed?

When they opened the new francophone school in town and told me I couldn't send my youngest two to the francophone school in Plamondon because of a magically imposed boundary, it enraged me. Ben and I took a long time to choose that school. As an anglophone parent, it has been a tough five years following that choice. It was a hard choice, and I know it wasn't one you supported. I remember you telling me to give it up, once. And, in my frustration, I yelled at you. You questioned my parenting as though I was being thoughtless. That really pissed me off. I did hear you, though, and I still have your doubts floating in the back of my head. I don't know whether to ignore them or forge on.

I've requested two exemptions to the boundary. One before the school opened two years ago. And one three weeks ago. Each one denied. For what reason? I'm paraphrasing his email here, "the school was opened because Lakeland Catholic stated in their mandate in opening their own school in Lac La Biche that they wanted to divert immersion students from the Plamondon francophone school." Oh, "And if we allowed parents to just send kids to whatever school they wanted, the school in town wouldn't have enough students." So, let's recap. NOT ENOUGH STUDENTS. And PISSING CONTEST. So, there aren't enough students who WANT to attend the school in Lac La Biche, and my kids can't go the school we chose for them because of a pissing contest that the board wants to win. And I defended my choice to send my kids to a school these assholes run? Really.

I supported them against my mother and all the naysayers, and now, they have so seriously alienated me that I want to remove my children altogether. But I'm realizing that removing my kids doesn't serve my children, right? Just because those neocolonial assholes want to piss everywhere, it doesn't mean I mess with my kids' stability.

Except they're not particularly stable. Right? Ezra is sensitive. He needs a new environment; the small school full of ultracompetitive boys is not good for him. And Andrew, who was once looking forward to grade 5 because the grade 5 teacher is the coolest, found out that they switched up all the teachers, and he has a teacher he once referred to as his "nemesis". This is THAT one, Mom; that teacher who wouldn't let him move his arms when he danced beside his classmates. This teacher makes him feel so bad about himself. And honestly, I cannot see this upcoming school year ending well. I have such a bad feeling about this, and I hope I'm wrong. I want to be wrong. I'll help get him through and spout all that "The teacher really likes you, Andrew, she told me" bullshit that I've spewed throughout the years to make sure he understands that teachers do want the best for their pupils. But I can't keep that up, and the push for French up, too, at the same time. Something is going to have to give.

And what am I supposed to do about it, Mom?

I want my children to have a good experience at school.
I want them to be bilingual.
I tolerate the Catholic religion part, and I don't feel like tolerating it much longer.

Stay or go, I'm not going to get what I want either way.

I've decided to give it one school year. But I'm not going to it-is-what-it-is it anymore. I've been angry to my core about this for two years; I ain't going down easy. There will be chats with principals. There will be lots of teacher meetings. There will be more letters to the board.

After my second letter, dude on the board said I was "threatening". Ha! An intelligent woman questioning his and his board's actions is "threatening" after two letters. Two. I wonder how he'll feel after twelve. I wonder if the Minister of Education will feel "threatened", too?

It will be interesting to see.

I'm angry about politics, too.

I'm tired of defending humanities education to people who believe business plans should direct education, to people who make policies that require college programs to defend their usefulness to the college moneymakers. "Prevention of ignorance" doesn't have any immediate business outcomes. Well, there's Trump as the Republican candidate. I feel like that should be at the end of every defense for liberal arts education in the world.

I'm so, so tired of willful ignorance. So tired. So angry. Yes, assholes, keep blaming Notley for your lack of job. Everyone in the province saw the bust coming. We all knew it was coming, and people still all took oil jobs and bought shit on credit. It made me afraid five years ago. Did these people seriously believe the bottom wasn't going to fall out? There's a reason my house is moderately priced. Could we have afforded a big-ass new one four years ago? Yes. But, we knew the bottom would fall out and also, in the words of my employer, "we can't justify hiring a full-time permanent Arts instructor", so we'll keep paying you as a casual and not give you any kind of benefits. (See rant above.)

I am so tired of paying for big oil's stupidity. I am so tired of big oil having control over the economic well being of my province. If big oil had to pay the EI for all these people, would they make smarter decisions? I don't see this as OPEC's problem. Fast development is entirely the fault of big oil, and they should fucking pay for it. MANAGEABLE GROWTH, assholes, MANAGEABLE GROWTH. Oh, and please don't even mention the backdoor electricity deal the conservative government inflicted on us all. I will have a fucking rage aneurysm.

I am so tired of people blaming Notley. I am so tired of racist misogynist assholes, and take note: this includes women. I am so tired of misogynist women.

And while you weren't exactly a revolutionary, Mom, I remember you trying to change what you could. I remember you giving up, though, too, and not because you were beaten, but because no one supported you; they thought you were silly and making "too much of a big deal" about "nothing". When you gave in, you weren't any less angry, it was just filed away somewhere we couldn't see it, somewhere inside "it is what it is."

And I'm trying to do better than that. You taught me that I should always try to do it better than you did it. And I'm trying to forge on.

Letters. Blog. Yoga.

All good places to start.

I miss you, Mom.

Much love,
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