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Another Coda

Last night, Schuyler had her final band concert of the year. We’ve certainly had plenty of those before, but never on the senior high school level. Lots of tearful farewells to the senior class, of course. And while Schuyler is only a junior and has one more year to go before being cast out into the cold, cold winter to fend off the wolves, it still felt significant to her. There’s no gentle way to say it. Schuyler’s had a rough year. It hasn’t been uniformly bad, and in some ways it was as good a year as she’s had in a long time. But it was complicated, and taxing, and when Schuyler posted on Facebook that she was looking forward to the end of the school year, it was an epic moment of understatement. Another week left. Let’s try to minimize the damage in that time, shall we?

This has been a complicated school year. Schuyler has made some big mistakes, and she’s paid dearly for them. She’s made friends who turned out not to be such good friends after all. Some have led her astray, manipulating her and then tearing her down, bullying her, and even sexually harassing her. She’s had friends get close to her and then inexplicably freeze her out, which I realize is 100% teen behavior (I’m sure I did it, too, back in the Jurassic Period), but try explaining that to tough but fragile Schuyler. She had teachers get it wrong with her in ways that I still don’t think they totally understand. School was harder for Schuyler than any of us expected it to be. She didn’t go off the rails completely, but there were a few moments where she came close, like the mine train in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Up on two wheels and teetering, but never quite crashing.

Her ultimate survival of her junior year is in large part due to the people who watch out for her, quietly and without drama, and who make it a little easier to put her on that bus in the morning and send her once more unto the breach, dear friends. Schuyler’s true friends have turned out to be the ones we didn’t see coming. There are the band directors who have watched out for her and striven to understand what makes her tick and to build a safe but unrestrictive space around her. There’s the assistant principal who has taken exactly ZERO of her nonsense but who has become her absolute greatest advocate on her school’s staff. Then there are the members of her percussion section who have pushed her but who also love her dearly, as they made crystal clear at a percussion party last weekend in a moment that most certainly did NOT make me cry, I have allergies, shut up. And there are the countless people who see her at school and like what they see and greet her every single time they see her. Walking the halls with Schuyler is like hanging out with the Fonz.

Schuyler doesn’t love school like she did when she was younger, although I don’t know that many people whose affection for school increased as they grew older. High school is hard for anyone, let alone for someone who’s giving a little monster an never-ending free ride. I watch Schuyler, I see how hard she tries and how much she celebrates, quietly to herself, when she gets it right. And I’m inspired and rebooted by her. I feel that more with her than anyone else in my life, and certainly more than I’ve ever felt it about myself.

I guess that’s what I wanted to say today. I want to say thank you to everyone who has been Team Schuyler all year, from peers on up. I want to say shame on everyone who mistreated her or discarded her when she became too complicated or simply stood in her way somehow, even though I know she’ll forgive you; she probably already has.

But mostly, I want to repeat to Schuyler the thing I say to her every single day without fail. I’m proud of you, Space Monkey. More than you’ll ever know.

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One Comment
  1. gerry
    May 26, 2017 |