Musings from Mama Bird
It’s been hot around these parts. Really freakin’ hot. Our state shares its 100-degree (and higher) temperatures with our neighbors all across the country. I don’t complain because I’m very blessed to have air conditioning circulating throughout my house versus box fans blowing warm air on me and mine during the many summers we prayed for rain and respite from the miserable heat.
There was only a slight chance of severe storms yesterday. History has taught us not to expect rain or a short plunge in temperatures on a late-June afternoon during an early-summer drought , but when gray clouds began painting the sky, I became hopeful. My son and I ate an early dinner at Frisches (due to my reformed diet, it has been almost two weeks since I’ve had any beef or grease, so I wolfed down my Big Boy burger and deep-fried fries with abandon and delight) when I noticed a a spiky cloud racing through the darkening sky. Wind suddenly swept dust and debris across the parking lot, twirling around and around. As we cut through a gas station lot, an empty milk crate scooted along next to us and won that brief race. I could feel the temperature dropping ever-so-slightly, so we raced home in preparation for what, I didn’t know. The rain eventually came, and my daughter sent me a text: Our power just went out 😦 I switched on the TV, where the Channel 9 Weather Authority began reporting numerous power outages throughout the tri-state; y the end of the brief wind shear event, some 170,000 homes and business were left in the dark.)
Like I said, I’m grateful for the power grids that cool me in the summer, and I stand in awe of Mother Nature, who once again reminds us of her power and intensity and occasional anger.
Speaking of power, intensity and anger, the Supreme Court this week voted to uphold President Obama’s health care reform act. For many Americans, I think, the facts have become distorted and blurry. I have concluded that, although it still needs some major tweaking, healthcare reform is a good thing for folks with pre-existing conditions and medical problems ignored by insurance companies that hold them hostage with their policies. It is good for others as well, and good for those of us who don’t face medical and financial crises now but probably will at some point in our lives.
For two days, my conservative Facebook friends were sharing derogatory statuses and images describing those of us who agree with the Supreme Court as idiots and socialists. Really? Had they even read the act? Wait, they don’t need to, because they get all their fair and balanced news and information from the conservative media and political ads on television and the internet. I was going to stay out of this, really I was, until they finally broke me down, so I shared this on my wall:
By the end of the evening, there were thirty-one comments, mostly from one person who regularly spews venom and lies about any issue that her conservative views despise. I actually had to delete one comment this morning. (People forget my profile page is not a discussion board, and comments that call my friends “idiots” and “morons” will quickly disappear.)
Speaking of venom and lies, this week I took a step that I believe may halt damaging emails harming my son’s reputation that have been perpetuated by one staff member and forwarded to others at the university he attends. I have seen these emails because my son trusts me and has not been afraid to share them with me. People talk disparagingly about helicopter parents who trespass on their adult children’s lives, but what they fail to admit or realize is that sometimes it is necessary and in line with today’s higher education institutions that make mistakes, don’t admit them, and have become impersonal toward students, their customers who spend thousands of dollars each year, dollars that provide university faculty and staff with jobs (and healthcare).
My son has been going through the process of appealing a grade he believes he doesn’t deserve. Following university protocol, he emailed the dean of his particular college in February. When he didn’t hear back from her, he assumed she was too busy to answer or even read the email he had sent, so he figured the matter had been dropped. In May, his final grade in the class in question was not what he expected or thought it should be, so alone, he wandered into the desert of bureaucracy and red tape. I trusted the system at the university would work, and I told him so, but as it turns out, it is a system that is very broken indeed.
After I read the final email the dean sent him regarding the matter, I had finally had enough. There was no way this appeal process had been fair to my son, no way for him to win it if left to the druthers of the dean who insisted, over and over, my son never divulged the facts to her when in fact he had, as evidenced by the email he had sent her, one he saved (thank God) and showed her during his first meeting with her in May.
It was time for some real education, so I emailed the vice provost of this university and scheduled a meeting with him, which took place two days ago. My agenda? To explain clearly the facts of the matter that had become distorted and fictionalized because apparently my son had been unable to do just that.
Game on. The night before my appointment with vice provost, I made a list of all that I would talk to him about, one that was comprised of thoughts that had been swarming around in my head like stormy wind shears, a list I verbalized to him during our conversation dominated by emails and facts.
By the time I left, I knew, I just knew, he got it. Thank God, someone at this metropolitan university finally got it. I walked out of his office with the feeling you get when you have cinched an interview for your dream job. My son meets with him next week, and while he will have to come to terms with the final outcome, whatever that is, this appeal process will finally be treated fairly, and maybe the dean will get schooled.
I will always go to bat for and protect my children, no matter their age, because that’s what mama bears do, and like I’ve always said, you don’t want to mess around with one of my cubs because if you do, I’m coming after you.
I am grateful for the storms that have passed and accepting of others I know never will. Like always, I will pick up the pieces I can, accept there are others I can’t, and at least for today, I will seek refuge in the calm that greets me the Saturday morning after.
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