Friday, September 14, 2012


Perspective is a powerful thing, and it can change quickly. My perspective on several aspects of life has seen some things in a new light lately.

1. Texting and driving. Since the texting ban took effect in Alabama however long ago, I've sent maybe two texts while in the car, and have made/received less than 5 phone calls. Cause, you know, I don't want to get a ticket--I hate being stuck behind somebody driving the speed limit, can you imagine how frustrating it is to have to STOP and WAIT for a cop to write you a ticket? And then that slow person has just had that much more time to back up traffic EVEN MORE. But I digress. That's not what changed my perspective. A ban on something won't stop people from doing it. Seeing billboards and commercials and magazine ads won't stop people from doing it. What scared ME most was when I was on my way home from school one day. I was exiting off 65 south at Montgomery Hwy and going straight across to Lorna Road, and I was stopped at the light, third car back. The light turned green, and I had enough time to think, "WHAT'S TAKING SO LONG?!" before the little red Honda took off. The other light had been red for several seconds. And yet, that little red Honda got t-boned by somebody going over 50. 31 was shut down for awhile, and I'm sure both cars were totaled. It was LOUD. That's the worst wreck I've ever witnessed. Now, I don't know that the driver of that car was texting, but something distracted them from the road for a good 5 seconds or more. And that's what can happen in 5 seconds. I don't want to be the one responsible for totaling somebody's car, breaking somebody's leg, or killing somebody's child.

2. Prenatal care. Because I work in special ed, I see what can happen when you don't take care of your body, when your body is busy creating somebody else's body. I work primarily with a child who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Just so you know, this is what alcohol exposure in utero does to a baby's brain:

This child is such a sweetie. Many kids with FAS can be aggressive, but he is not. When his medication is in full effect, he can sit at a table or on the floor, listen, and attend (somewhat) to a task. This doesn't mean he understands--what many kindergarten students come to school already knowing, he struggles daily to learn. Things like colors, numbers, shapes, and letters, and writing his name, things two- and three-year-old children know, he doesn't fully comprehend. Before his medication has kicked in, or after it has worn off, all self-control is left behind. He is incapable of keeping still, he constantly touches or pats his classmates, he makes inappropriate comments that get all the other kindergartners riled up, and he spontaneously attempts to do back-flips and lands on his head. When he's in that state, there's absolutely no way he's going to be able to learn efficiently.

I also have worked with kids whose disabilities are attributed to prenatal drug exposure--blindness, extra fingers, mood disorders, and mental retardation. Kids whose lives could have been so different. Don't get me wrong, each one is a blessing and I love each one for all that they are and all that they can be. But I see the frustration when a first-grader tries to write his name for the thousandth time and forgets how to spell it, or when a third-grader has to ask how to spell "him." And there's every chance that some of these challenges would be present even if every precaution was taken--but please, ladies, if you are of child-bearing age, even if you don't WANT children, take care of your body. I'm sure these kids' mothers didn't have malevolent intent, but the consequences are what they are, and it can't be changed. Some of these kids will never be independent. They will rely on others for care for the rest of their lives, robbed of the ability to make responsible decisions, control their impulses, or fill their own basic needs.

3. I'm grateful for so many more things in my life. I'm grateful that I have fruit flies to deal with at the moment (though I hate them too) because it means there's food in my kitchen. I'm grateful for the alarm clock that goes off at 5:45 in the morning because it means I have a job to go to, even if it's not the one I have dreamed of for the past 6 years. I'm grateful that I have twice as much laundry to do as I used to, because it means I have a husband who loves me and puts up with my erratic moods and various ailments, real or imagined (although I'd be grateful too if he'd put clothes IN the basket instead of NEXT to it, HINT OH HINT.) Finally, not to upstage the hubs, I'm grateful for the parents I have who have supported me (and us) when it was needed, whether I (or we) wanted it or not.

Yes, yes, I know, I've blathered on and you're probably all asking yourselves why you're bothering to read this far. Well, I'm done now. Go enjoy your weekend. Roll Tide.