Sunday, September 26, 2010

People I’ve just met are reading my blog.

This is making me realize that I need to write more often. So, here I am on a Sunday morning hungover and writing for you, my dear readers. I’m sorry for not posting sooner, but my new job has been taxing, and I’m working close to 60 hours a week.

Yesterday, I get a call from Jimmy. He needs his phone turned back on. Essentially, he needs $30 bucks from me. This is my part time son. He was one of my favorite students from last year. The kid just rents a space in my heart. I’m scared he’s going to get shot. He has a big mouth and nothing to back it up with. I tell him he has to have his mother call me back. I have to at least make sure he’s going to school and doing the right thing before I hand him over $30 bucks.

When school started for this current year, Jimmy needed shoes and asked if I could buy them. I said yes. Yes, because this was like my child and yes because I’d hoped it would be motivation for doing well in school for a couple of weeks. We’d met over in the Northeast side of town to go shoe shopping.

Before he had arrived, I was asking the lady at foot locker for the new Jordans or whatever the hell they are called. I told her one of my “kids” would be here soon and that I was trying to get him new shoes for school. The lady must have thought my “kid” was switched at birth when Jimmy bounded through the door. Jimmy is a black kid, of course, but not what you’d call “light-skinned.” He’s black as the night is long. There’s no possible way that if I birthed him, he could be called my own. I felt sorry for her confusion and almost that I needed to explain.

Anyway, we bought a different pair of shoes because Jim has really small feet. Not abnormally small, but smaller than your average male. So, he picked a different brand of Jordans. He loved the new shoes and put them on as soon as we got in the car. I took him to Union Station so he could ride the Metro home. I give him money for this as well.

My husband thinks I’m a fool for doing these things. He doesn’t understand I suppose. These kids get in your heart and become like one of your own. We don’t have kids right now, so I suppose my biological clock dictated that I needed to adopt juvenile delinquents for the time being.

In any event, Jimmy would be the last kid anyone would adopt. He’s high-strung and has ADHD. He can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time. I’m really working on having him communicate better with people instead of flying off the handle about things (“kirking out” as the kids call it). I was the only teacher last year who could deal with him. When the new semester started in January and he no longer had me, he came to me and said “Things haven’t been right since I left your class.” Those words broke my heart.

I’m very close to Jimmy’s mother as well. We talk regularly about her, the other children she has (all older than Jimmy) and her new grand child. She’s doing the best she can, but she’s at her wit’s end. Once she told me that when she hears gun shots at night, she prays to God that it’s not Jimmy dying. Tears were welling in my eyes as she said these words.

I try to stay in Jimmy’s life to be a stable adult for him and a good role model. The kid is like a 6-year-old who woke up one day in a teenager’s body. He can’t handle it. He doesn’t know how to navigate life or any of the things that happen to him.

He used to have a reason to come to school. It was me because I cared for him so much. I worry now because the teachers who work at this school might allow Jimmy to fall through the cracks. This was something I refused to let happen. I couldn’t have him dying. He was my son after all. No mother wants to bury their child.


  1. It's wonderful that you care for "Jimmy" but some learn at a young age to use and take advantage of people who "care". Be careful or you may find your heart broken. Good luck. Luv, PP

  2. This is a truly moving post. Your observations speak to so many things that are left out of the arguments on education that seem to be roaring around us these days. I guess it's the human element, strange as that may sound. Keep up the good work.

  3. Thanks for posting Ms. S. My "son's" name is Lewis and short of murder, I'd do anything for that kid. He's 18.5 with severe dyslexia and can barely read. He's been in 9th grade 3 times but still comes to school everyday. He's so frustrated now he comes to me everyday wanting to go home. Sometimes I feel like I'd stay in DCPS and put up with it's bull just so I could try to support him getting what he needs. A big thanks and hugs to the countless teachers like you that never give up on the Jimmies of the world