by Tony Brandenburg
The last few days have been busier than usual, and the bleak hue of bitterness set upon the house when we were told of the PUSD school board's decision to deny our request for an external investigation into the civil rights violations against our youngest child by a number of high ranking school officials and a board member. That isn't to say that our home is full of dark, creeping malfunction- just that there has been a general angst that began with an injustice that was denied, and one that continues to exist.
This morning the Pasadena Star News ran an article on the denial by the board, which we paste in and will run tomorrow from here. It started the day in the same way that most days have been around here- with the reminder that we are intertwined in a battle for social justice, and it hasn't, and won't, go away. Unlike the adversaries we have pitched battle against, this does not come from a place of theory, but from a place of personal experience and dedication. We will not back down, and we will not leave this alone.
Having said all of that, we still have an obligation to our family to try to replicate a place of normalcy and to try to teach our children a sense of awe and wonder, and to assist them in their continued exploration of the world. All three of our children are very creative beings, but like all of us, they sometimes miss the smallest things in life because we are looking at the biggest problem.
On our way to take our allergy shots, my 13 year old son and I have to cross a large parking lot. In the lot is a nicely manicured garden with a few annuals plunked in to make the cement and asphalt aesthetically pleasing. Something in it caught my eye, a movement I recognized from my own childhood, but have rarely had the opportunity to share with my son. A bee was pollinating a flower. It has been more than three years since I have seen a bee. I walked over, and took out my phone.
"What are you doing, da?"
"Lookit. A bee pollinating. Cool, huh?
"Careful. You are allergic to them and I don't have an epi-pen."
I ran a few possible scenarios through my head. At worst, I could scoop him up and run over to the emergency room across the street as long as no one on their way to the Santa Anita Race Track ran us over. Oh yeah, I can just run him up the stairs and the doctor can give him a shot. Yeah. That's right, allergies doctor's have that gear, duh. At best, the bee will just let us dig the routine and not even notice our presence with hs billion eyes focusing on flower spit.
Then I realized, for the first time today, of three times today alone, that my anxiety is a life long intrinsic, biological trait, and I am doing OK with keeping it in check, and hiding its outward manifestations. How do I express this to my children to help them cope with it? Will it matter? Will it help, or will it complicate things even more? Am I doing this right? Why can't I see the world like others do, even sometimes, so I can stop pretending and stop playing the chameleon game?
We watched it for a while. Silently.
"Come on. Let's go get our shot and grab grandpa a burrito."