To see Ronan, Taylor’s Version on an actual album will forever be one of the proudest, most incredible moments of my life. And having my name beside Taylor’s feels like a dream I never want to wake up from. I love you, Taylor. Thank you for all the ways you continue to make my little man shine. #ronan #fucancer #ronantv #redtaylorsversion
For the past 48 hours, I have been called names, had my life threatened, had things said about me that are not true, had my dead child spoken of in a derogatory way, and told to remove my post by several adult women or else. As I stated earlier, I had a conversation with the Principal of Brophy today, who was in attendance of the game Friday night. He admitted to feeling very disappointed about what had occurred from the BROPHY student section. If your own Principal is going to take responsibility for this, you should do the right thing and do so as well. Get the FUCK off of my page and out of my DM’s with your vulgar words or dismissive “kids will be kids” GARBAGE. Go take a walk outside and do some deep digging about why you think it is acceptable to hide behind screens and say such awful words while defending such appalling behavior.
I am done with this conversation and defending my stance on this. If you can’t see the problem with what went on, that is on you and your soul. I have a life that I love, kids that I am insanely proud of, work that I am passionate about, and friends who are my entire world. I am going to get back to all of those beautiful things now instead of continuing to deal with the ugliness of the grossest comments and messages.
If you have a problem with the ongoing narrative of this, take it to your administration, who will now be handling this.
This afternoon, I received a phone call from Mr. Ryan, the Principal of Brophy. We spoke at length about what happened at Friday night’s game and about the disappointment that we both felt over what transpired. Mr. Ryan took accountability for the situation, apologized, and has reached out to the Principal of Sunnyslope.
We had a constructive conversation about how this can be used as a life lesson in hopes that this kind of behavior can be changed. Mr. Ryan said he would be addressing this with his student body, staff, and colleagues. He is committed to working with them to ensure that nobody will have to leave one of their sporting events feeling uncomfortable over behavior he has no tolerance for.
Brophy and Sunnyslope are neighbors, and I really hope things can move forward in a positive direction. We should strive to learn from our mistakes, and that starts by taking responsibility for our actions instead of deflecting or ignoring behavior that we know is not acceptable.
I very much appreciated Mr. Ryan’s words, apology, and commitment to changing the trajectory of this. At the end of the day, I want everyone to feel equal, supported, and loved. It shouldn’t be so complicated, and I genuinely believe if we start working together, beautiful things can transpire.
I attended Friday nights basketball game between Sunnyslope and Brophy. As I entered the gym before the game, I was thankful to have the opportunity to be there in person to watch my twin boys play for their Sunnyslope team. I know not every parent (including me) is able to attend all their children’s games, for a variety of reasons, so I am so grateful whenever I am able to watch the two of them play. I walked into your gym on Friday night with a full heart, ready for an exciting, competitive game, but because of incidents I will describe below, I left your school with a deep feeling of disappointment that I have not been able to shake.
As the mother of eighteen-year-old twin boys who have played basketball pretty much year-round since they were three years old, I have been to countless basketball games. I have watched from the sidelines as my twins have played teams not only from Arizona but from all over the country. I know what a spirited but healthy rivalry looks like. The behavior I witnessed from your student section during Friday night’s game crossed the line of decency. Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have experienced this type of behavior with your school.
During Friday night’s game, as one would expect during any well-attended high school game, there was chanting from both student sections. At first, it seemed harmless. Things took a turn, however, when I started to hear what sounded like chants directed at the socioeconomic status of Sunnyslope’s student body. I paused for a moment to make sure I was hearing things clearly as the chants from Brophy’s student section continued. My suspicions were confirmed and the inappropriate chants continued throughout the game.
This was unfortunately not the only derogatory language directed at Sunnyslope students by Brophy’s student section. This unacceptable behavior from Brophy students continued throughout most of the game, ending only once Sunnyslope had secured victory. Towards the final minutes of the game, Sunnyslope students chanted, “This is our house,” and Brophy students replied with, “You can’t afford it,” over and over again.
This is not an isolated incident. Sunnyslope parents have witnessed this type of behavior from Brophy students on multiple occasions and for many years.
I am sure our student section was not perfect on Friday night, but I did not hear anything from Sunnyslope students that crossed the lines crossed by Brophy’s students. Dr. Lovell, our Vice Principal, does an exceptional job of keeping our kids in line. If our kids are out of line, or if they are tempted to retaliate when they are disrespected, he does not hesitate to correct their behavior. He did a brilliant job on Friday night and in my opinion deserves a big fat raise for how hard he works.
Where was your administration, and why is this behavior continuously allowed?
A student section degrading others due to their socioeconomic status is simply wrong. It is way outside the bounds of a “spirited game.” Brophy likes to promote its commitment to educating young men of high character. That high character was not on display Friday night. I hope that your school will take the time to look at this issue and use it as a teaching moment to ensure this behavior does not continue to happen.
I am requesting that this matter be addressed with your administration and student body. I look forward to hearing about the necessary steps of action you will be taking in this matter. We are all human beings, and Brophy needs to take a hard look at this type of elitist and classist behavior as it is not acceptable on or off a basketball court. Let’s do better, our children are watching, which was made apparent by Friday night’s game.
They say time heals all wounds, but we know that’s not true. It’s been ten years of not having you here, and my wounds are still just as deep, and the heaviness I carry with me never goes away. I have learned to live on this earth without you, but as time goes on, life without you feels harder. You are forever with me in everything I do and everywhere I go. Take today, for example.
Poppy has been taking piano lessons for a couple of years. Her piano teacher recently retired, so she connected us with somebody new. It is a Sunday, and I am rushing your sister out the door to lessons with a new teacher. I have an idea of where we are going as I put the directions on my phone, but the location doesn’t register with me until we pull into the parking lot. Until this point, I am lost in a conversation with Poppy. She is talking non-stop in the back of the car about her theories on religion. She wants me to explain Scientology to her. I tell her I don’t know enough about it, and I need to research it a bit more before telling her the premise. She heard it’s about aliens, and she wants to know who came up with that. Mind you, she is eight, but she is eight going on 18, and I am constantly in awe of how her little mind works. As we pull into the parking lot, I feel my stomach sink. I know this place, and I used to know it well. It is the parking lot of your preschool; I feel my stomach drop. I spent a year there with you in a mom and tots class. We never got the chance to return the following school year because you got sick.
I hold Poppy’s hand as we search for the classroom where she is taking her lessons. Out of all the classrooms here, she is right across from the room where I was with you. The memories come flooding back, and I see a sixty-second movie reel of our time here together. I see your plaid shorts, your polo shirts, your mischievous smile, and the way you looked at me like I was your everything. I see you sitting in circle time. I see us reading books and playing with trucks and legos on the carpet. I see the little playground where I help you dump the sand from your tiny little shoes. I feel the tears wanting to fall from my face, but I cannot break down now. I have to meet this new teacher, so I somehow find it in me to hold on to my composure. I talk with Poppy’s teacher for a few minutes and leave Poppy with her while I make my way back to the car.
The tears are now falling, and I know there is no stopping them, so I let them continue down my face. As I am walking to my car, my mom calls. For a long time after you died, I would have ignored her phone call for one of two reasons. 1) I was ashamed of my pain. My grief. My tears. Of not being strong because, as I was told by many, strong people heal, and strong people move on. I was not doing either, and I spent many years thinking I was so fucked in the head for constantly aching for you. 2) I wanted to protect my mom from my pain, and I thought the easiest way to do so was by putting up walls and shutting her out. After a lot of therapy from Dr. Jo and a lot of self-reflection, I realized everything I had been told about grief was not only wrong but damaging to my healing.
I picked up the phone when I saw who was calling, and as soon as I said hello, my mom said, “What’s wrong, sweetheart?” She can tell from my “hello” that I am not ok. It takes me a few minutes before I can answer her because I am crying so hard. I feel horrible, knowing I am making her worry, but she sits and tries to calm me down. I am finally able to tell her where I am and what I am feeling. She talks me through things with a soothing tone and acknowledges my pain. I know she hurts so much, too, and that will forever gut me. We speak on the phone for a few more minutes, and I tell her I love her as we say goodbye. I know I have to head back to Poppy’s lesson soon, so I pull down the mirror in my car to check my appearance. I look wrecked. My face is puffy, my eyes are red, and I wonder how to explain my face to her piano teacher. It is more than evident that I have been crying. I put my face mask on and head to her classroom, telling myself I don’t need to say anything. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my pain. Plus, awkward. I’m not ready to share Ronan’s story with a woman I just met. I thank Poppy’s teacher for the lesson and grab her tiny hand as we make our way back to the car.
“What’s wrong, mama?” asks P. Nothing gets past her, especially when it comes to me and my emotions. I consider lying to her and hiding what is going on, but then I remember, that’s not how I do life with her. I don’t keep secrets; I let her see me in my rawest, human form. I tell her what’s going on. I start to cry again. She steps up into the car, turns towards me, and wraps her arms around me.
“I love you, mommy. I remembered that Ronan went here; I knew that would make you sad. It’s ok to be sad; I’m sad, too.” I kiss her little face and tell her how much I love her. We drive home, and she proceeds to tell me about a new project she is working on at school. She knows I need a distraction from the thoughts in my head.
At home, Poppy is busy playing with her legos, and I am busy changing the boys’ bedroom sheets. My sadness is still apparent as he walks into the room. He takes one look at me and says, “Uh-oh, my darling. What’s going on?” I look at him and then down at my feet. “Nothing. I’m just having a hard day; I’m ok.” He grabs my hand. “You’re not ok. And that’s ok. Talk me through what happened because that is what we do with one another, remember? That is why we are who we are with each other.” I start to cry again, but I know my tears and pain are safe with him. He spends the next few minutes validating my words and tends to me with a cup of tea and tears of his own.
My pain is acknowledged.
My pain is valid.
My pain is safe.
My pain is nurtured.
My heart is his.