Recently Netflix released an original series titled “13 Reasons Why” and there has been all sorts of buzz about it ever since. I actually read the book the series is based on years ago and after watching the show I read the book again. I have read so many posts from educators about the dangers of this show. Personally I think they are missing the point. High school sucks and it has always sucked but with the advancement in technology it has gotten so much worse. Rumors can be spread over social networks now instead of just by people in person. The anonymity that the Internet gives individuals has caused so much more drastic threats and bullying to occur. My old school district used to have a week dedicated to anti-bullying issues every year in November. We had speakers that came and talked to the students and we did all sorts of activities designed to make them think about their online behavior. My current school district doesn’t do these types of things and I can definitely see the difference. Teenagers are so susceptible to bullying through social media. As a teacher and a parent I think the issues raised in “13 Reasons Why” are important. So many parents don’t know their kids so they have no idea how their kids feel about anything. I’m not a perfect parent but I do try and know my kids, not just as my children but also as people. I try really hard to keep up with their friends, talk to them about stuff that is going on and above all pay attention. Kids will never tell their parents everything but I think it is so important to do your best to stay an active participant in your kids’ lives. My daughter suffers from anxiety and luckily she talks to me about all sorts of things because we are really close. I’m honestly not sure how people survive not knowing what is going on with their kids. I think Netflix did a good releasing this show. I know it deals with difficult subject matter but honestly we can’t put our heads in the sand. We can’t pretend that our children aren’t ever going to contemplate suicide as teenagers. We have to beware of the signs and not get so wrapped up in our own lives that we miss something important. I remember contemplating suicide as a teenager when my parents were separated and I felt like my whole life was falling apart. I was lucky because I had amazing friends that were paying attention and they got me through an extremely difficult time in my life. We can’t always assume that our children are going to have that same type of support system within their friends so we have to be advocates for them. We have to make sure they never feel like they are in anything by themselves.
So 16 years ago today I became a mother when my daughter was born. I was 26 years old and I had been married for almost 3 years. I’ll be honest when I married my first husband I’m not sure I was really in love with him. I cared about him and he made me want a life that I hadn’t wanted previously but I’m not sure I was actually in love. When my daughter was born was the first time I actually fell in love with another person. She changed me in ways I never dreamed of. I honestly wouldn’t be a teacher today if it hadn’t been for becoming a mother. I have spent the majority of my time as a mother on my own. I never wanted to be a single parent but that is how things worked out. I have often worried that my children have missed out by not growing up with both their parents but I also know that I am a better person away from their dad. My daughter is my best friend and she has taught me so much about life. She has such a good heart and a clear head when it comes to others. She has always been one of the most perceptive people I have ever known. My life has changed so much in the last 16 years. My boyfriend actually gives me hope that my future will be full even after my kids have moved on to their respective lives. I only have two more years with my daughter and I plan to make the most of it. I never want her to doubt how important she is to me.
This is one of my favorite snapshots of my daughter. She looks very different from this now but I still like to remember her like this too!!
I honestly never think about which of my children is my favorite. I have favorite students and favorite classes but I wouldn’t say I have a favorite child. Friday night my boyfriend took the kids and I out to dinner. While we were at dinner, we got into this conversation about favorite children. My boyfriend has six and he claims that he hates all his kids equally. I know that is far from the truth because he is a really good father. Both of my kids claim to know that I not only have a favorite but that my favorite is my son. It was very interesting that they would say that because I don’t feel that way at all. I love both of my kids so much in different ways. I have the most amazing relationship with my daughter which I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. She is not only my daughter but I would also consider her a friend. I will say that things have never been easy between us but I have always been willing to put in the effort to be close to her. My relationship with my son is different because we are more similar but I wouldn’t say we are as close. My son has always been pretty secretive and it has always bothered me that we aren’t closer. I feel like I love my kids the way they need to be loved. I read an article years ago that says you can never love everyone the same. You have to love your children they way they need to be loved not the way that you want to be loved. My daughter needs more one on one attention because of her anxiety but my son usually just needs to be left alone. Of course there are times that I reach out to both of them for me. Honestly since my first divorce my kids and I have been this unit. I love the closeness I share with them but I worry that when they are gone I will be lost. My boyfriend actually gives me hope that I can be happy in the future. I want to share my life with someone special and still be part of my children’s lives. It has been such a long time since I have really lived my life for me. I became a mother almost 16 years ago and every since then I have been living for these little people in my life that are almost grown. I can hardly believe that my daughter will go away to college in two years and that my son starts high school in the fall. Favorite or not I know that I will be lost when my daughter goes away to college. I still ascertain that I don’t have a favorite because I strongly believe that both my kids are such a blessing.