Badass Activist | Eve Reiland

The Promise | Circa March 19, 2007

Mon, Mar 19, 2007 | From My Journal

Don’t move. The principal’s words feel like sliced lemon pressing against a paper cut. I know she’s seen my oldest son’s school records and the many schools he’s attended. I sat at the table with her, two education resource people and my son’s doctor.  

“Don’t move or it’ll break him,” says the resource woman. 

“We can’t help your son if you move again.”  The principal gives me a stern look while she speaks. 

My son’s doctor and the other resource person nod in agreement. They focus on my reaction. I sweat.

My job is stable. I received six promotions in nine years. We added to our family through adoption. My husband is a stay-at-home dad to our sons. Our family is strong and loving. What we lack is our own home.

“We won’t move.” I show hesitation, I can tell by their reaction. Sure I made a promise, but it’s not in my power to keep it. We are renters and at the mercy of our landlord. What if he decides to sell?

My 13-year-old son was recently diagnosed with autism. He’s considered high-functioning, but these words feel trivial when life changes leave him unable to function.  

The first indication he had difficulties adapting was when he was two. We moved from one rented house to another. Before the moving trucks left, he was in a deep regression. He no longer spoke and was emotionally distant. He didn’t call me mama again until he was four.

What the principal says is true. One more new school will shatter my boy.  

So I promise again, “We won’t move.”  

In order to make this true we need to stay in this school district. Renting is too unstable. Our landlord could decide to sell or raise the rent to a number we can’t afford.  

I made a promise that was shaky at best. In order to give my son the stability he desperately needs, I must buy a home. That is my dream. I’m working hard to make it happen. It’s the one piece of the American Dream that my family is missing.

By Eve Reiland

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