Posted in Middle School

How to Save a Life

In my eleven years as a counselor I have made more a dozen calls to “the crisis team” for students in different kinds and severities of personal crisis.  On Tuesday, I made my second call of the school year.  After working closely with a student for several days, I was not confident in her ability to be safe at school and home, so I consulted with her mother and made my precautionary call to the Crisis Team.  This student is a “cutter.”  In 6th grade her grade level counselor and I discovered this and have been monitoring her ever since.  I wasn’t thinking it was a huge deal, despite her history of self-harm.  Yes, she made a cryptic and frightening facebook post, yes, she brought a pair of sharp scissors to school (which I confiscated), but she would be fine…chat with the crisis team counselor…debrief with me and her mom and I would return to the chaos of my day.

Apparently that was not the case.

The crisis counselor met with the student for over an hour, and then came to debrief with me.  “You were right on with just about everything going on with the student today – her stressors and supports – her risk factors.  You know her very well.  The only thing you were wrong on was about her cutting herself at school today.”  I tell him something about how we take self-harm threats very seriously and I appreciate his time, thinking that I’m being told that I called this guy to my school for a false alarm.  “What I meant was, your student wasn’t going to cut herself today at school.  She planned on killing herself today at school.  She had a plan, her scissors and access to a private bathroom.”

Whoa.  Not what I was expecting to hear.  Not what I wanted to hear.  Not what I’ve ever heard or ever want to hear again.

In those 11 years of crisis team calls I’ve had all kinds of outcomes from counseling and parent phone calls to students hospitalized because of plans and access to things outside of school.  But never a student who was actually hours, or possibly minutes away from attempting to take their life.  I tried to hold myself together while the counselor called the student’s mom and his supervisor, reviewed her safety plan with me, and gave me all the forms and contact numbers I needed, but I was shaken.  I gotta say, I was pretty done after that.  If I could have left for the day, I would have.  I genuinely felt like I needed to be home with my family, preferably snuggled up in bed where I could watch everyone and keep them safe.

I don’t know what I thought I was going to feel in a situation like this.  We are trained on how to handle situations and I may have explored scenarios like this while in the counseling program. But it didn’t prepare me for what I was feeling. A mixture of sadness, relief, guilt, worry, confusion, stress, burden, and a strong desire to reexamine my priorities at work.  I wonder if it’s similar for our emergency responders in the community – police and firefighter or our military.  Or do they get desensitized with time and exposure?.  Or maybe I’m just too attached to these kids.  Whatever the case may be, I’m awake, I’m listening, and I’m hoping for a better day for the kids and for all of us in this crazy world.

Posted in Random, Uncategorized

Desperately Seeking Costco Apple Pie

Costco apple pie is one of my all time favorite treats in the whole world.  I love them.  I look for them every time we go to Costco, smile at the deliciously perfect pies, and sometimes, when I’ve been really good, I buy a pie and split it with my sweet mother-in-law, who also loves them.  But sadly, they have been missing from my Costco, and the other Costcos on O’ahu for a long, long time.  Too long.  Even my 6-year old checks the bakery section for apple pie when we go, sadly informing me (again and again) that there’s no apple pie.

I am officially desperate for Costco apple pie.  It’s a treat I associate with the holidays.  Thanksgiving is made of turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and apple pie.  We’re going to Costco on Friday…please let there be apple pie.  Please.  Don’t make me harass the bakery people, ’cause I’ll do it.


Good night.  Sweet apple pie dreams!



Where Moms Who Blog Go!

Posted in parenting

My First Lesson of Motherhood

My first lesson of motherhood remains the one I’m still learning.  The date was March 12, 2004 and I was very, very pregnant – due on Aril 1st.  Yes, I was going to have an April Fool’s Day baby.  It was a Friday, and I was sharing pick up and drop off duties of my niece and nephew since my brother-in-law was not well.  I picked up the kids, and we were driving home, planning our trip to the local carnival opening in our small town that weekend when my phone rang.  It was my OB’s nurse.

“Kristin, ” she said, “Dr. Inouye wants you to come in to the hospital tonight.”

“Excuse me?”  I confusedly mumble.

“Dr. Inouye is concerned about some of your test results from your appointment yesterday.  She wants you to come in to the hospital.  Your husband should come with you.  And you should bring your bag.”

“Why do I need my bag?”  I ask, completely shocked at the phone call, mind racing about all the things I was going to do that evening/weekend/the next week, etc.

“Dr. Inouye thinks it’s time to have a baby, ” the nurse cheerfully informed me.

“Oh, um, okay.  I guess I’ll, um, tell my husband when I get home.  Um, I’m kinda not packed…am I in a rush?”

“Take a shower, pack your bag, get some dinner and come eat here at the hospital, Kristin.  It’s gonna be a fun night.  See you soon!”

My niece and nephew, hearing my side of the conversation, are naturally curious, so I tell them that my doctor thinks it’s time for me to have the baby.  My nephew, my Godson, laughs out loud.  “That’s so crazy, Aunty Triss.”  And ya know, I really had to agree.  But, my first lesson of motherhood was now in full swing: pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and children are really not in your control.

The story has a mostly happy ending – my labor was induced due to worries of high blood pressure.  And after petocin, having my water broken, and what seemed like years of pushing, my daughter was born at 5:05am on March 13th.  It has been a wild ride, and I’m still a recovering control freak – thanks to being a mother.  And although I’m still trying to embrace my loss of control and order in life, I have three beautiful children who make it all worthwhile.

“Control is never achieved when sought after directly. It is the surprising outcome of letting go.” ~James Arthur Ray

Where Moms Who Blog Go!

Posted in photography

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I really like the idea of “Wordless Wednesday,” used by many other bloggers out in the world.  In case you’re new to blogging (like me), it’s basically posting a picture or series of pictures without words, allowing the pictures to tell their own story…ya know, the whole “a picture’s worth a thousand words” thing.  So here I go…joining the bloggy world with my first (almost) Wordless Wednesday.

Posted in parenting, Random

Help! I’ve been abducted by children…

I’m a college educated mother of three who works outside of the home, because I need and want to.  I’m no rocket scientist, but I consider myself to be kinda smart and capable of complex thinking and problem solving.  I grew up with brothers and never was really one for girlie-girl, cutesy pink and princessy type nonsense.  And on top of everything else, my husband and I are sure to make time for us as a grown-up couple, so we’re not always immersed in the universe of our children.

Imagine then, my surprise when I find myself arguing with my six-year-old, no, not arguing – DEBATING with my six-year-old on the issue of whether or not we’ve seen the Barbie movie that is going to be delivered to our mailbox from Netflix.

“No, we have not seen Fairytopia.  Fairytopia is the movie that comes before Mermaidia.  In the beginning of Mermadia, they tell you a little bit about what happens in Fairytopia so you know how important Elina’s wings are to her…ya know when she had to trade them in for a mermaid tale.”

I stopped, after clearly winning the debate with my six-year-old, and then the reality of what just happened set in.  I looked at my husband.  He’s got that smile on his face – the one that is reserved for the very special moments when I’ve clearly made an arse out of myself.  “Nice, ” he says.  “Shut up,” I reply.  “Did I really waste energy and brain power on a Barbie movie?”  “Yup,” he says still smiling with THAT smile, now permanently affixed to his face.

Great.  This is really what I’ve become.  Please, someone – help me.  I’ve clearly been abducted by my children…it’s really all their fault.

And I love it.