Oh what a week it has been…
If you live in or around Northeast Ohio, you are feeling the shock and pain of the past five days. If you have kids of high school age, those feelings are particularly acute. Monday morning, N called me at work to ask where “Chardon” is. Since she works for a local grocery chain and has moved around to several of their locations over the past few years, I thought she was asking because she was looking at a transfer to that area. ”No,” she said, “there’s been a school shooting there.”
My first reaction was, “In Chardon?” We have family friends that live there, and Chardon really is the last place you would expect to hear a school shooting had occurred. It is the type of small town that picture postcards are made of, with a picturesque town square and rural setting. It’s biggest drawback is that it is a bulls-eye for the lake-effect snow that rolls into NE Ohio every Winter. Of course, our first concern was that our friends’ children were safe, and they are.
Unfortunately, as Monday and Tuesday wore on, we would find that 3 high school students had lost their lives due to the shooting. It’s kind of like Columbine, you’ll carry those images with you forever. Especially this time around since I had a kid sitting in a local high school while this was going on. And since Columbine, we’ve seen horrible images and situations that you don’t want to picture, particularly in your own backyard.
On top of that, every screwed-up high school student in the area felt the need to pull a copy-cat incident, so we have spent the entire week hearing about student arrests, school evacuations, aggravated murder charges, calling hours and the possibility of paralysis for the one student who remains hospitalized. Even with Columbine and the Virginia Tech shootings, I’ve never really been afraid to send my kids to school before now.
And it’s hard to find a balance between not wanting to scare the shit out of your kids and at the same time, impressing upon them the importance of reporting threatening, strange or unusual behavior to an adult. Add to that, teenagers think they are a breed-unto-themselves and know so much more than the rest of us, and it’s like spitting into the wind. Maybe, one of them will listen and go to an adult if they’re worried but better chance that they’ll just try to handle it on their own because they’re so sure that they can. And as a parent, there’s only so much that you can do at this age.
Beyond that, my contract at work is running out at the end of March. Supposedly, I’ll have something else to move on to, but the economy has been so bumpy, I’m afraid to count on that. Plus, my combination of experience, skills and education is esoteric enough that I’m not seeing much interest in employers that have positions that are a good fit and a challenge too. It’s frustrating.
Right now, life in general is frustrating. I’m up against my usual role of being the bad guy in disciplining the kids. DH is a wonderful father, and the kids love him to death, but he’s a worry-wart and a push-over. So I spend most of my parenting time being the “bitch,” the one who doesn’t care and the one who garners little, if any, respect. It gets old.
Ok, enough whining… At least for tonight.