Friday, September 16, 2011

Tranches de vie*

Mark left on Monday night for a long trip to Alabama.  He's attending this conference.  According to his email to me last night, the 22-hour trip was completely worth it.  He's sick, so that's a total bummer, but he loves what he's hearing and learning. 

I don't know if there is ever a good time to be a single parent, but this week was really not an ideal time for me to be alone with the boys.  There were parent/teacher conferences on two different nights at two different schools, I started a new job teaching an ESL class to 6 adults, a couple of the kids were sick, Sam had basketball AND football practices, I had an early-morning meeting one day, meaning that I had to let the kids get off to school with the help of my competent Sam, small groups started up again this week after a summer break, and our family group met at our house. 

I heard myself say to the kids on several occasions, "I'm sorry that _____________________(I have to go right now, we have to eat late, I'm stressed, I can't read to you tonight, this is a weird lunch, etc.), but we just have to get through _______________________________  (tonight, this next hour, the next couple days, this week).  We just have to get through.  Have you ever said that?

Anyway, yesterday (I meant to blog this last night), I wrote down some little details of our day that are all pretty insignificant in and of themselves (and probably won't be interesting to anyone but us), but they are details that made up our day.  Since Mark wasn't here to go through the day with us, I thought he would especially like these little slices of life* (when he gets back...)

So here we go:

+++Jack has a LOT more work to do this year than last.  He spends a good hour doing math at he kitchen table while I study too.  Joel writes his name 5 times and his numbers 1-50 (not willingly)

+++On the way to pick up Sam from football practice:  Jack breaks the silence with, "What's making out?"  I come out of my brain freeze with a start and turn around to look at him.  He's reading There's A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar.  "Kissing," I say to my red-headed boy, phobic of all things romantic, wondering if that will be the end of the book for him.  He just says oh and keeps right on reading.

+++Jack gets his feelings hurt over something at supper.  Joel reaches over and pats his shoulder and touches his cheek.  That's so sweet, I think to myself, just as Jack says, "Ow, Joel. Stop."  Now it's my turn to say stop.  "Jack, it was just a little love tap," I say.  I, myself, need one of those just then.  So Sam says (remember Jack is afraid of every disease, every natural disaster, every bad possibility), "Maybe he has leukemia.  That's what happens when you have it."  And I shoot him daggers and beg him with my eyes to quit it.  Jack doesn't freak.  It's a red-letter day!

+++I think of a completely random factoid to share with my kids over supper.  When I did my student teaching in Kenya, the name of the Elementary School was T'itchi Swat, I say.  It was a good choice, if I do say myself.  Everyone bursts into laughter in that way that says, "I was totally not expecting to laugh at you, Mom."  That leads me to sing Jambo Bwana to them, giving me another chance to be nominated comique du soir. Hakuna Matata!!

+++I run out the door while everyone is still eating pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, and steamed veggies, yelling out last minute instructions and "I love yous" and get to Sam's school just as the meeting begins.  Someone's cell phone rings across the aisle (there are probably 250 of us in the room), and the man answers and sits there talking to whoever for no less than 1/2 a minute.  HUH?

+++The headmistress gives a talk about expectations and rules.  When she gets to the part about drugs, she, with strength and dignity, lays down the law.  "There will be intervention on my part, if I suspect drugs or find drugs on your kids."  And then she looks at us with resolve and says that she will do everything she can to protect our kids.  And tears spring up in my eyes and they well up.  I don't understand why I get so emotional about that stuff.  When people get fierce about protecting children....well, it gets me.

+++Before going to the meeting, Sam takes the sheet that has all his teachers' names written down and writes a little description next to each teacher.  He says it'll be fun to see if my impressions match his.  I think it's a great idea, but I tell him that I hope no one will get ahold of my list.  As I listen to a little 10-minute schpeel by each of his teachers, I take my own notes next to his.  We are pretty similar in our evaluations. 

+++I adore his science teacher who walks in, throws both his arms in front of him on the desk, leans over  it, eyes the 25 or so of us sitting there and says how appreciative he is to us for coming and that it means a lot to him to have parents who care about their kids' education.  He's the only teacher who does that.  He also says that there are two kinds of teachers.  The ones who loved school and want to give the same experience to their students and the ones who hated school and want it to be somehow different for their students.  He says he's in the latter group.  He wants the kids to LOVE school and he'll make sure that they do.  Just a little side note that I find particularly interesting:  He used to be a marine biologist, specialiste mondial de la circulation sanguine des phoques (world specialist of seals' circulatory system )  Wow!!

+++His English teacher ends with a little story about a mother mouse who shoos her babies to safety when a cat comes to the door of their home.  The mother mouse says, "WOOF!" and the cat runs away.  She gathers her babies around her and says, "Now do you see the importance of learning a second language?"  Sam had already shared this joke with me at supper with a roll of the eyes.  And I LAUGHED!  So when I hear it for the second time in one night, I laugh again (but mostly at the remembrance of my too-cool-for-corny-jokes Sam). 

+++At 8:53 I start to fade, but I have one more presentation to get through--Math...boring!.  But I do get through it, and I make it home before 9:30.  

+++The little boys are in bed fast asleep.  I caress their faces and whisper good night.  I chat with Sam for a few sweet minutes about the evening.  We share a few stories, laugh, hug good night, he gets a shower and heads to bed.  I have a few minutes to myself so I read a couple deep articles online (maybe to share at my next AWESOME/NOT AWESOME post) before turning in.  I'm exhausted!

And we DID get through this week.  Granted, we have a couple more days before we see Mark's face, but I think the hardest part is over.