Sunday, October 26, 2008

The best 2/3 day of my life

As a teacher, I had hopes - high ones - that I would impact the lives of a few of my students. I know that few kids like to read. Ok, this might just win Understatement of the Year, since the majority of my students would rather rake their eyes out with a rusty Garden Claw rather than read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, so I knew that few of my students would even like me, let alone look to me as a mentor.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

As with so many things in my life, I was wrong. I was wholly unprepared to have them impact my life. It was Christmas time during my first year of teaching, when I was irritable and a little weepy that I could not afford to buy each of my 168 students a gift, that I realized, with a little start, that I loved my students. Even the ones that made it really, really, I mean really difficult to love them, I still did.

This was not supposed to happen.

I was supposed to be the cool, consummate professional, whirling through my day, encouraging learning in many, a love of literature in some. Of course, since I teach English (if I am to follow the example provided my English professors), I would have to whirl dressed as a shepherd with dangling earrings, funky glasses and truly ugly shoes, but still ... I would be whirling. But my students had other ideas. They smiled at me, talked to me, were nice to me even when they were getting bad grades. Good Lord, what else was I going to do?

Four years ago I took on the job of being an adviser for the class who just graduated. We ran a booth at the fair, held fund raisers, decorated and rode floats in parades and threw red and black drink cups to the bystanders (I had to apologize to the one bystander who really wasn't expecting nor even wanting a cup, but one glanced off her head anyways), put on dances, cried together when we lost a student with the face and heart of an angel to cancer, and laughed so hard at least one girl peed her pants at least 900 times. This litany doesn't even come close to telling our story, but when they graduated it was one of the hardest things I have ever done: saying goodbye to all of them. It was different from when my oldest daughter graduated; I knew she'd come home at some point, even if it was just for homemade stuffing and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving (I put sour cream in them). I have no blood ties, no holds to make them come back so I can make them mashed potatoes.

But once again, wrong, thanks for playing.

They have come back. Some by emails, some by stopping by, some by seeing me in odd places, like the fair or the grocery. So when my Teacher's Assistant for three years, the one who babysat the Peanut and was her Kindergarten aid, walked back into my classroom, I died a little. Right there, in front of my third period, I died a little bit from happiness. Then, at our BIG football game against our rival, she comes to the game bringing part two of the TA Trio, which made me so happy I wiggled. Embarrassing, but, sadly true. Since the third member of this reunion of joy was too busy (yeah, babysitting, whatever) to be there, making it only the 2/3 best day of my life, I will post a ridiculous picture of him here:

Mess with the bull's happiness, you'll get the horns. And on this one, I am correct.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

kachinas and blogs

I realized that I had not posted to my blog in over two weeks.


I really enjoy doing this, but it sure doesn't look like it if you count how many entries I have made since I started doing this. I thought about this and how much homework I had due for my online masters' course, and how it looked like some kind of Stephen King monster had crept into our home while I was away at work and tried to eat every toy, marker, bill, and sock that had been neatly tucked away in its proper place but, when this proved to be too much, the monster then vomited all of these items all over my beautiful home. So I took the day off work. So that I could do my homework, clean, and then - only of there was time left - blog my heart out.

It was this idea that led me to cement my belief in God. I have always been on the fence when it comes to organized religion (I loved being a Catholic but going through a divorce kinda cured me of that. When I realized that I could have killed my then-husband and all I would have had to do to be absolved and allowed back into the fold was to state "forgive me Father," but to rectify a divorce takes a year and hundreds of dollars, I had second thoughts.) and have always had a faith that could be stronger when it comes to Supreme Beings, but yesterday, well, much of that vanished.

I started my morning off by dropping the Peanut at school and finishing up my last batches of salsa and applesauce (my oldest daughter remarked that I seemed to be canning a little more than usual, to which I replied "Well, this way when John McCain is elected and six months later we are in the throes of a nuclear winter from the crisis his 'energy plan' has plunged us into, I'll be ready!). I cleaned and did laundry and ate a wonderful lunch while watching the latest episode of Life that I DVR'ed. What a great day! Then I figured I would start on the homework that I took the day off to do. Hmmmmm, the internet is down. So I waited a little bit (well, I waited by taking a nap), and then when my husband came home, he took a look at the airport, but things were still down. So we had dinner, and when he tried to get online, it was still down. After 45 minutes on hold with Windstream, it turned out that the entire server for the state of Pennsylvania was down. Please try again in at least four hours.

So an image of a god like Loki, or one of the trickster Kachinas, came into my mind, one sticking out a tongue in a big fat raspberry, taunting "haHAhaHAhaHAAAAA! NO homeowrk for you! Good thing you took a WHOLE day off! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

And even worse, no blog. The whole reason I stayed home.