We were sitting on those hard wooden benches at the first Friday night of the Volleyball high school season. It’s El Chico’s last year of high school volleyball. Are we sad? We, as in mi amor and I. Maybe a little.
You see, it’s Friday night after a long day of work. Then drive clear across the city to get lost for 15 minutes before finding our way. Then it’s a 5pm game. No dinner. Win. 7 pm game. Win. Drive hour home. Eat. Sleep. Tomorrow repeat. It’s exhausting! And I’m not even playing!
But it has been a very good run. El Chico has really enjoyed it and we are there to support him. We love watching him play. It’s really fun. This year he’s the captain and it’s cool to see him out there trying to rally his troops. But then again, we’ve watched him play for seven years. That’s a long time. So we aren’t really sad. “We” are ready to move on. At least I am, and I keep telling mi amor that he is too.
English is so confusing! Today, I was trying to explain the different sounds that “ea” makes, such as in the words: head, meat, break.
So hard for my EL students and I want to know who was the smarty that decided that each of the English vowel sounds needed to be spelled in multiple ways?
Why cant head just be hed? Or meat just be mete? There are so many rules and then so many exceptions to the rules.
Another one… “Mrs. Y, why do I have to do that?” Asking about why we double the consonant in some words. It’s a rule thing. I explained the whole short vowel vs long vowel/silent e etc….
She says “Ok”. And really what can I say? English is complicated and we move on.
Today is a cold rainy day in March These cold rainy days in March always remind me of Maddie. (name changed) Initially these days don’t remind me right away of the fun we had together in college, the laughter, the planning, the mural we worked on together in art class, or the time we spent together with our kids later in life. Those memories come after my initial pain, and struggle to push the sad memory back into its cave.
But after I crush that sadness into a little ball and tuck it away again, then I can focus on all of the wonderful and fun memories.
Since her funeral people have often asked me what do you remember most about her? I gladly share the wonderful memories I have. I say first, I remember her true beauty in every sense of the word. Her beautiful red hair, her dazzling white skin and piercing blue eyes. I remember her gentle voice and her very soft hand on my hand as we laugh about something so silly it doesn’t matter. I remember how kind and loving she was to her children, husband, family and me. I remember how she was so smart, and looked at things so deeply and in ways I hadn’t considered until she pushed me. I remember how spontaneously creative she was and how I wished I could be like that.
So even though rainy days in March remind me of Maddie and it takes me a few minutes to lift up out of that fog, I always, always go back to the great memories and how she challenged me to be a better person.
One of the great things about my work is that so much of it is one-on-one. This availability gives kids the open-wide time to tell me things that are hilarious, very sad, surprising, and shocking. Sometimes kids tell me things that I think “Yikes, you probably shouldn’t be telling me that.” But I try to never cut kids off when they’re sharing. I’ve learned in this job, not only am I a teacher – teaching English and content but most of all I’m a listener. It’s so important to listen to these kids. The things kids say to me, very often change the course of my work, my lessons, my opinion but most of all my approach and not just for that day or week but forever. No one told me that I would have to grow such big ears in this work. That’s totally fine. I’m so grateful kids can tell I have big ears.
Like so many people we watch a lot of Naked and Afraid and debate what we would have done different in their situations or if they made good choices. The show’s participants are given a PSR (primitive survival rating) before they head out on their adventure and afterwards.
I’m thinking of assigning PSR’s to mi amor (hubby) and El Chico (18 year old) because mi amor is starting to panic a little thinking about how I will be gone next week during my school’s spring break. What will he ever do? I mean my goodness, does he really think the fridge and freezer will be left empty, leaving him and El Chico, our youngest to starve to death? My 18 year old would probably survive if they couldn’t leave our property for 21 days. Fortunately for them I’ll be gone five days, hardly enough time for them to “starve” not to mention, they’ll have cars to get them to a number of eateries within five minutes of our house.
But being the planner that I am, I’m planning for a few days of meals, so that El Chico and mi amor (hubby) will not have to worry about having to make that awful decision between hamburgers at AJ’s or burritos at Chipotle. So tonight I’ll be making that list of groceries to stock the fridge and leave them plenty of food in the hope that they don’t have to worry about their PSR’s dropping to low to ever be considered participants for Naked and Afraid.
Maybe it’s better not to make big plans and just see how the day rolls. Maybe. Yesterday was one of those days. All my boys are home, we have no big plans. But we decide, quite spontaneously mid afternoon to make movie reservations. “Sure, I’ll go see Captain Marvel with you.” I told the boys. Really, I wouldn’t have chosen to go see that movie nor would I have agreed to with anyone except that these are my three muchachos! I don’t want to say no.
“No thanks, I’ll pass on the movie.” My husband says. “Yeah! I get the boys to myself.” I think selfishly.
“Hey mom, before our movie, what if we go bowling? We have time, right?!”
“Yea, let’s go bowling. Dad? Mama?”
Okay, bowling, I like. I can do this, no problem. So now we’ve got dinner, bowling and a movie. All of a sudden – WHAM – busy. Now I’m in a time crunch to finish that Colombian dinner, I have been planning all week.
But it all goes so well! A dinner that everyone enjoyed. Bowling games that we were point for point. And a movie, that I actually liked!
Maybe sometimes it good to just let the day roll and see where it takes you. Maybe – it will go in your favor! Happy Sunday!
Sometimes things do not go as planned. Sadly, last night was one of those times. The good news is that I got to share a delicious pizza dinner with one son, El Medio and spend some real quality time with him. The sad news was El Grande missed the bus and didn’t come home till this morning.
So I followed my plan, I drilled El Medio gently about all the things going on at the University – classes, studying, tests, friends, frat life, laundry, groceries, internship applications, you name it, we talked about it. I even finally got details about his road trip with friends on Monday to the Smoky Mountains. This had been “top secret” info until last night. Now I know where he’s going, with whom, where they’re staying and how long they’ll be gone. I even got emergency contact info and THAT is very good to have when your 20 year old son is traveling with a group of 20 and 21 year olds! I still may not be able to sleep all week but at least I have information now!
Needless to say, I was very disappointed that El Grande missed the bus. How did he do that? He apologized a lot on the phone. He didn’t budget his time very wisely all day, he had classes, he had a phone interview and he had a peer review session. Okay all very good reasons to run out of time. But the mom in me wants to yell at him – plan your time better! Pack the day before! UGH that ticket was $31!
It’s all okay, he’s home now. He managed to find a friend that was driving our way this morning. So better late than never! AND he still benefited from the Pizza Dinner. He got leftovers for lunch!