I am a nice person. Have always had people comment about that, how nice I was, despite everything I had to overcome in life. I am pretty introverted unless I know you, then I am very extroverted. It is that quirky equally I/ENFJ of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
I am deep thinking and feeling. I am concerned about people and the world we live in, the environment and what we do about it. I am concerned about emotional health, bullying, and misue of power.
It is all of these things that converged this year.
When I ran for public office, I never expected the windstorm that I received, especially from my daughter's elementary school where another parent was also a candidate. Perhaps that was naive of me, but I just thought choice mattered.
Yesterday, we were all sifting through the devastating news of what happened in Oklahoma, that children in schools were killed with the tornado made a direct hit at the school. I believe every mom's heart stopped beating and we held our children a little close. If, like me, you wondered about the "safe room" and "storm shelters" at your local school. The destruction still seems so unreal, even as the news cameras show it more and more.
The same can be done regarding the destruction of the heart and what happens when a small community attacks instead of nurturing, when school bullies are allowed to reign over all simply because their parent is on the school board, what is left in the wake is often debris that will take a long time to clean up.
I have never been in clicques, wasn't in one in high school, college, or even my adult life. Maybe it is the introvert in me or that for a long time in my life, I really didn't care for the cattiness of women. Being in my small suburb, I see why.
An adult can take it, being ignored, maligned, or mistreated, but not a child. And it was a child, my child, who is being mistreated by the adults who are supposed to be leaders in an organization. Why? Because I ran for public office against one of their husbands and they felt threatened - that is why bullies attack in the first place. I can take it, but not the heart of my child.
So I spoke out. I called, emailed, and contacted the parties-that-be and in their communication back, they were more concerned about their "hurt feelings" instead of the tornado they caused in the heart of a little girl.
Sometimes storms come and wash away all the dirt and give an opportunity to start anew, to make it stronger, more resilient, and better in the end. I hope that by speaking up and out, but not cowering in a corner because of the mean mom, that I am speaking up for all the other girls and moms who have been afraid for years to speak out about this person's meanness. Hopefully, a new year, a new school, a new start will change it all, we will see.
In the mean time, we pick up the pieces, clean up the mess, remove the debris, mourn for what is lost, and resolve to build stronger next time.