By Zerline Hughes
I couldn’t wait to start watching season two of Netflix Original “Orange is the New Black” last Friday. I set an alarm on my Galaxy S4 calendar to remind me of the date it’d be released. I turned it on in excitement after work (a rarity — I NEVER have time to sit on my couch to rest my feet) and watched three episodes.
I was transported to the Upstate New York women’s prison that is home to Taystee, Piper, Red, and our household favorite, Crazy Eyes (Suzanne). By the first scene when Piper was abruptly taken out of a long stint in solitary confinement, I was reminded of the policy and advocacy work I do from 9 to 5 (actually, 8 to 4). I was also reminded why I rarely get to take timeouts on the couch for such selfish, nonproductive activities.
My time – most every moment – is devoted to the Js. I want them to be active. I want them to be social. I want them to be involved. I want them to be productive. I want them to be healthy. As a result, I shuttle them from 4:30 to 8:30 Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday for some sort of enriching activity.
My strategy: I want to do my part in giving them options, showing them opportunities, expose them to different communities and cultures.
My goal for the girl: That my JT does not find interest in fast money, does not feel like she needs a replacement family, like Taystee, and instead, always clings to the family time we’ve spent together and remembers the support she constantly receives from us like this week at her school performance of “The Wiz.”
My goal for the boy: That my JD doesn’t feel isolated while excelling in doing what he loves to do, and in an effort to fit in and be accepted, falls into the wrong crowd and eventually does something illegal- a la Janae. Instead, I want him to feel
comfortable in his skin, and feel like a leader in the karate lessons I shuttle him to four times a week and mastering the saxophone that was purchased on CraigsList about three years ago.
Now, I’m about to start episode six. The kids were both at a sleepover so I was able to (without guilt) fit in two more episodes yesterday. Despite the funny characters and comedic script, my OITNB private screenings continue to remind me that prison is not an option. Not for these Two. So I will pick them up in the morning and off we go to flag football. Gotta keep them (thus me) occupied!