Progress Report

Prayer works. I talked to God, I meditated in stillness, I listened for His still, small whisper. And He moved through me, and through the advice of others.

During my ten days, I cancelled all kid’s evening activities going forward, and consolidated all our credit card debt with our credit union. Saving money + saving time = just a little bit of sanity. A lot of bit of sanity required a little more: running, prayer, yoga, prayer, meditation, prayer, art, and prayer. A whole lotta prayer. Both by me, and by my friends. And by some of you. Thank you.

I’m back on the writing schedule. (I’ve abandoned the count down. Other said, and I agree, that it’s nothing but anxiety producing.) I started today with 2.5 hours. That felt like enough. An hour of it was going back and forth in my head and on my laptop about whether or not to use qualitative data analysis software. The only one that is reasonable and can run on a Mac is Dedoose, an internet-based platform. But it is SO ssssllllloooowwwww and actually crashed on me today. My paper, highlighters, and scissors never crash. Guess I’m keeping it old school. But that made me anxious, because I know old-school is also inefficient. So as soon as I felt that anxiety, I knew it was time to stop. I don’t want to be back where I was 10 days ago.

But life kept going even when I was stopping. My little girl came home with her progress report today. I already knew some of the issues were about her emotional regulation, her “shutting down” suddenly, her inability to let things go. But today I saw a new word: “argumentative.” And I’m like….

One of my interview respondents, in talking about their child who struggles in school, said something like as parents we have to take responsibility for the kids we made. We have to realize that when we, as parents, came together to mix our genes, we would create a kid that is like us in some ways. And those ways might be the ways that we don’t like about ourselves.

I’ve been told I’m argumentative my whole life.

Honestly, I’ve always taken that word “argumentative” to be more about the person making the assessment than about me. I don’t think I’m:  contentiouscontroversialdisputatiouspolemical,  quarrelsome, or scrappy. What I know about me is that I have a very honed sense of justice, and I always have. I don’t go along with just anything. If it doesn’t seem right to me, I’ll probably let you know, if you’ve asked my opinion.

I also am very curious, and I’m not one to believe just anything. If you say the sky is blue, I want to know how and why you’ve come to that conclusion. I don’t think it’s “argumentative” to ask people to justify the things they say and things (they say) they believe. I don’t like to argue, because I don’t really care for anger or contentiousness, but I do enjoy a healthy debate which to me is a conversation in which we have a difference of opinion. I’m the person that wants to talk to atheists and Republicans and pro-lifers and racists to understand why they think the way they do and understand better why I don’t think the way they do. I realize that all most of us have are opinions, including myself. I can’t argue with your opinion, but I can debate the propositions that lie underneath. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. I’ve always had a keen sense of what I consider to be just (which is different from what I consider to be wrong) and yes, I will argue over that.

So when the teacher says my little girl is “argumentative” I’m struggling a bit with keeping an open mind about what that means. And what it means to call a six-year-old argumentative. And what it means to call a black six-year-old girl argumentative (angry black woman, anybody?)

Sigh. I don’t need this right now. But I’ll take it.

All things. All good.


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