Part One: Are You Buying What Back-to-School is Selling?

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August 18, 2017: I am re-posting my conversations with Michelle S. Hite, friend and Assistant Professor in the English Department at Spelman College, from 2015. It is back-to-school season and the topics we discussed are just as relevant, in fact they are timeless. This is the first of a three-part discussion.

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I met a mother in the comments section of a post I wrote for The New York Times Motherlode blog this past February. Isn’t that how we meet people now?

Her comments were aligned with my own but more than that they were knowledgeable, challenging and potent. I wanted to know what informed her ideals and beliefs. After some searching online I found her email. Fortunately for me, Michelle didn’t think: Stalker. But, instead she thought: Kindred spirit.

Two weeks ago Michelle introduced me to the notion of oppositional consciousness in parenting. I was intrigued primarily because it challenged my ideas about educating and advocacy. We decided to discuss this more through the timely topic of: Back-to-school. This is a three-part conversation I will be posting throughout the week. Continue reading

Book Review: Not Always Happy by Lauren Smith-Donohoe

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Please go read Lauren’s thoughtful review of my book and while you’re there read everything she’s written. Click here on this blue line please.

The Stalker at the Beach

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On a beach somewhere in Maine you see a small blonde-haired boy bodysurfing. His mother — that’s right his mother, not grandmother, bitch– is watching lovingly from the sidelines not yet aware a stalker has descended.

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Thorin’s Endless Summer

Cue the soundtrack from Jaws.

Out of the corner of her eye, the mother, sees a middle-aged woman (these types are always middle-aged women) laser-focused on her son who also happens to have Down syndrome. You stare at her and she smiles back. Crap, you recognize she is a Do-Gooder! Every summer you come across them. They have some kind of nebulous connection to a child with a disability. Meaning they think “they” are all alike and super special.

You ignore her because your son isn’t even aware of her. He’s doing his thing, Man. As she circles closer and closer into his space the soundtrack picks up in tempo and volume, she’s coming in for the kill. Your only hope is she will come for you and not him. As she saunters over–as much as you can saunter in waves, you steel yourself.

“Hello! Are you his grandmother?”

“No, I’m the mother.”

“I work with special needs kids.”

“Okay.” In your mind you are thinking: “I wish you wouldn’t.”

Your husband, who is super hot, shows up– he’s been through this with you for years. He puts his arm around your shoulder. He doesn’t say a word to the woman.

That doesn’t deter her, “I love to watch these kids! They’re so special.”

Ward and I reflexively grimace– because it’s creepy, right? Doesn’t she get to watch them enough at work?

“Can I go say, “Hi” to him?,” she wonders.

“Do you have to?” I answer.

She smiles a crumpled smile and looks confused. Then she moves back toward the shore where she belongs. The soundtrack recedes. You got this!

Thorin is never the wiser. That makes you and Ward very happy.

I know she doesn’t get IT. Here’s the IT. What if some guy stared at a well-endowed woman at the beach. He starts circling her. She gets nervous. He comes to her, smiling: “Hey, I’m a breast guy. I’m admiring your breasts. You have quite a rack. I could watch you do anything!”

Shocker, it’s not appreciated! Either was this chick’s comments about Thorin. The beach is about The Chill and The Cool and The Mellow, Man. Don’t Harsh Our Buzz.

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Thorin and Ella on the beach.

We are beach people. Here’s a lovely post about what’s good about the beach.

Part 2: Are You Buying What Back-to-School is Selling?

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August 20, 2017: I am re-posting my conversations from two-years ago with Michelle S. Hite, friend and Assistant Professor in the English Department at Spelman College. It is back-to-school season and the topics we discussed are just as relevant, in fact they are timeless. This is the second of a three-part discussion. Click this link for Part 1 of our conversation.

Check out Macy’s back-to-school commercial. The soundtrack is Tears for Fears “Everyone Wants to Rule the World” with new lines including: “Everyone on their best behavior.”

Curt Smith, founder of Tears for Fears on the song: “The concept is quite serious – it’s about everybody wanting power, about warfare and the misery it causes.”

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