juxtaposition

23 Apr

I am working with a new student.  Well several new students (that’s a whole different story), but in jail, my remaining student (one got translated somewhere else) is finally out of lock-in (basically solitary confinement), which means that I can actually work with him, in the same room.  Hooray.  He’s been a doll, following my directions, doing what I ask, trying really hard. 

.

Today we were talking about how I know Spanish.  Apparently, even though he was in lock-in, he was able to confer with my former student, who was recently transferred.  They discussed the fact that I am white, yet know Spanish, which fascinates most of the students I’ve worked with over the years. 

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So I was telling him how I lived in Spain, explaining what that was like.  And then it hit me.  I was only a year older than him when I went to Spain.  He’s locked in jail while I was out traveling the world.  The difference in our lives really hit home to me.  How do things get so bad in a kid’s life that they end up in jail? 

..

 At his age, I had a head full of dreams.  The world was my oyster–I could do whatever I wanted.  He is in jail.  He will never live that down, even when he gets out.  He’s barely traveled within Rochester.  He moved here from Puerto Rico and hasn’t even been to the beach.  I actually don’t know if he even knew there WAS a beach in Rochester.  Life’s so unfair.

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This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  And I am sad.  Because I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would be a great mom.  That Eric would be a fantastic dad.  That our kids would have such a great life.  They would know the beach, the zoo, the parks, the museums, cities in the US, hopefully cities in other countries.  They would know people from other cultures.  They would know our family histories, who they are, where they come from, who their ancestors are.  They would be great readers because we would read together.   And there are just so many children out there who don’t have that.  And it’s so incredibly judge-y of me to think that other people are not fit to be parents or that I would be a better parent.  But that’s just how it is.  And it’s unfair and it sucks and it makes me sad because this kid who I work with every day, this man-boy, has made bad choices that have landed him in jail.  But I can’t help but think that his bad choices are the results of bad choices made by his own parents.  And that’s really sad and unfair.

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