I was an unruly child. My third grade teacher Sister Barbara nicknamed me “Hotseat.” I’d finish my schoolwork and boing out of my chair to straighten books on the shelf or rustle papers (that smelled of yummy mimeograph fluid) needlessly. I was a multi-tasker before anyone had coined the word. Perhaps today a doctor would try to put me on medication – but my alert, active personality served me well as a kid. Although it did land me in trouble more often than I admit (even in my book, where I have a few confessions.) I saw my share of detentions and even a suspension…. or two. Mostly because I listened to someone (often a boy) who said, “Go ahead…” You haven’t lived until your Dad has met your new boyfriend as he (the boyfriend) carries your drunk self out of the darkened woods to Dad’s waiting car a couple of hours after the school play let out. That bad advice? “One more sip won’t kill you.” My father almost killed both of us. I wasn’t quite Rizzo, but I had my Pink Lady moments.
As a grown up, I’m able to filter out the “go ahead” troublemakers and forge my own way forward. Having kids with special needs means making far more decisions than I’d ever expected, and that will continue through out my life. There will be no empty nest chez Stagliano. But sometimes I’m the troublemaker, as evidenced in the photo above of me holding not one but two beers at the Bruce Springsteen concert at Madison Square Garden in the Fall of 2007.
Despite my advocacy position, I try not to give out too much advice to families, although I’m always available to offer friendship, a kind word, share my experiences and just listen. After all, the “Hotseat” in me isn’t entirely gone, and I’m not sure I won’t say, “Your Mom will never know. Go ahead…”
(Photo credit to the fabulous Anne Taintor products.)