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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Widow Card.

I try not to use Matt's death as an excuse for too much (although I pretty much blame everything bad that happens on it). I will use it as an excuse for my own shortcomings, like being late getting the kids to school, or being late with a bill, or wasting a whole raw chicken because it sat in the fridge too long before I got around to cooking it, or any of the other countless things I screw up, although I never blame those things on his death out loud - usually only in my head.

I did get out of a speeding ticket with The Widow Card (which, in my defense, I used inadvertently), but this time, I premeditated its use.

From the beginning of Sydney's preschool year, there has been a ton of turnover with the teachers. There is usually one main teacher for the morning and early afternoon shift and one for the mid to late afternoon shift, and each of those teachers have a teacher's aide. The first main teacher that started the school year was there for one day and left. Since then, there had been about six total changes in personnel. Fortunately, Sydney is pretty easy to adjust and has done well despite the constant changes in the classroom. I'm pretty easy-going as well, and it wasn't until this latest change that was the last straw for me. The "permanent" teacher that just started in Sydney's class a few weeks ago has a very experienced teacher (Mrs. S.) helping to train her and acting as her aide. Mrs. S. is respected and adored by all of her current and former students, as well as their parents. Naturally, Sydney and I have fallen in love with her, too. So when I heard that last Thursday was supposed to be her last day in that classroom, I had enough.

I spoke with one of the parents that has been very actively involved with everything happening in that room from the beginning of the school year about the issue. As Adrian and I talked, she kept saying, "THAT's what you should say to the principal!" She had already spoken with the principal herself, but the decision still stood. So in support of this parent and speaking on behalf of the others and the children (we certainly aren't the only ones who feel that Mrs. S. should stay at least until the end of the school year), I decided to speak with the principal as well, and tell her the same things I said to Adrian.

When I first brought up the subject to the principal, she kind of cut me off to tell me she already talked to the other parent and there are simply no more funds in which to pay Mrs. S. to stay. I continued, anyway: When I dropped Sydney off the first day of school, she was so excited to be there that she never looked back at me while I was walking away ("Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Ma!"). She's not clingy, and enjoys school very much. However, lately, she's been clutching my leg and crying when I have to leave which is not like her. I blame the constant changes in the classroom for this. I didn't even know Miss Claudia left (one of the aides) until I asked Sydney where she was, and Sydney's reply to me was, "She's never coming back." When I heard her say this, lots of thoughts crossed my mind - how we (parents) had no notification of this, how utterly ridiculous the turnover has gotten, and just what is Sydney's understanding of "never coming back?" Does she think Miss Claudia died, or does she understand that she is just not working there anymore? I not only had no idea of the change, but I had no idea what, if anything, had been explained to the kids. With all this in mind, I wanted to make sure that Sydney understood that Miss Claudia didn't die (since my kids have way more personal experience with death than a lot of other kids their age), so I explained to Sydney that Miss Claudia is alive, she just isn't coming back to her job at this school.

At this point, the principal is near tears, which wasn't my intention, but at least she was listening.

I continued: Now that we have the permanent teacher and Mrs. S. in the classroom, Sydney hasn't been clinging to me as much, but I know that if there's another change - especially if Mrs. S. leaves- it's going to have another adverse effect on Sydney and I'll have to start from scratch prying her off my leg again, and I know she won't be the only one that will be affected. I understand there are budget issues, but even if Mrs. S. stays a couple of days a week, it's better than taking her away from the kids all together. At least until the end of the school year. The kids need some consistency and stability.

With all that, the principal said she would try re-working the numbers over the weekend, and lo and behold, they were able to come up with enough funds to keep Mrs. S. on three days a week!!

I only use my powers for good.

For more entertaining and inspirational posts about The Widow Card and the powers associated with it, check out this great source: Widow's Voice Blog


megan said...

I consider that the "advocating for my children" card.
... I only use my powers for good... :)

Wendy said...

Well done!

Mike said...

Good for you! You should be very proud of yourself. Joy