Thursday, February 11, 2010

highs and lows

It has been a roller coaster of a day. Not compared to some I suppose, but still—pretty big for a Thursday. Part of the day was pretty beautiful. I wrote Chad last night. I know most of my friends would tell me that I am pathetic and weak—but, you know, I think the strength that I do have comes from an honesty and transparency that many both lack and see as pathetic. I wasn’t sad or mopey, he was just on my mind and I have been thinking how much I love him—if he’s with me or not, that fact of who he is doesn’t change, nor that fact that I love him, nor that I enjoyed my life the most and had the most fun and love in my life when he shared his life with me. I just wanted him to know that he is loved. I asked him not to respond—I know that’s probably not fair, but I didn’t think I could handle a response. He wrote back this morning. His response made me know and believe that he still truly loves me—even if it’s not in the way I wish he would. It’s enough that the person I love the most, simply loves me. I can live with that. Maybe I can even move on knowing that.

Another aspect of today involved one of my students. One of my sixth graders that I got this year. I hate getting sixth graders. They give you a kid who has never been really asked to do anything their whole life and then expect you to ‘fix’ them in nine months. Ridiculous. Anyway, this boy’s mom called me last week in tears because they didn’t have any food for the weekend, they had enough for that night, but then would have to go hungry. They had already used up their food bank and they wouldn’t give them any more. The office helped me get a list of resources that I could give to the mom of where she could get free food. It worked and they were able to eat. Later, she called and told me that she also thought she might be pregnant, again. Also, yesterday, they couldn’t afford Valentine’s cards for the Valentine parties as school today, so I went and bought cards this morning. I bought a lot of extras, thinking I could use them next year in case someone else couldn’t afford cards—turns out, lots of parents didn’t see it necessary to get cards for their kids, so it turned out to be useful today. This morning, she called, furious at our sixth grader because he was cursing and calling her a selfish, worthless bitch all last night and refused to shower, etc. Then he woke up and started all over again. (I have kids that I have to call every day to make sure they are showering and getting out of bed, since they won’t do it for their folks—he’s not typically one of them.) She then told me that he was mad with her because she got trashed last night. She was letting me know, in front of him, what an ass he was, and that he probably didn’t deserve any Valentine Day cards to give out. I got on the phone and got him calmed down, and assured him he wasn’t in any trouble and that he just needed to leave the house without fighting more with his folks. Most of the time, calls from Mr. Witt in the morning have a very mean sounding Mr. Witt on the other end of the line. Not today. Lady, I’m sorry your son has the clarity of mind to call you what you really are, but I ain’t gonna punish him for saying things to you that I wish I could. So glad you don’t have money for food for your kids, braces for their teeth (oh, yeah, we hooked them up with that too—or at least found someone who would), Valentine’s card, or anything else, but there is ample money for you to buy enough alcohol to get wasted in front of your kids on a school night. Oh, and how’s the potential unborn baby, by the way. Yeah, your son was really outta line with what he was saying. I am very against abortion, but I would vote on forced sterilization and applications to procreate in a heartbeat—not kidding.

Another moment happened at school yesterday, but one that made me laugh, and this probably won’t be so funny since you don’t know my kids. Most of my kids don’t have what I would call true disabilities, just one’s are popular with our culture when it decides to label instead of actually doing the hard work of parenting, teaching, and following through with consequences and consistency. However, one of my sixth grade angels does have some Autistic tendencies and a horrible/use-to-be-adorable lisp (that he can control, but is too lazy to). He also has no social clue whatsoever. Anyway, he and I were doing a Wilson lesson (a program that helps kids learn to read—he reads at about a early second grade level). Two of my fourth graders had been throwing fits and climbing on tables and trying to tear up the room most of the morning, and I had spent most of the day using my nearly abusive sounding Mr. Witt voice. Things had finally calmed down enough to teach a little (what shock). Anyway, I knew the fourth grader was pacing behind me, but I knew he was fine. However, while I’m teaching my sixth grader, the little one decides he needed a hug (he often goes there after one of his tantrums, even when the result is one or both of us bleeding or getting bit). Without me realizing what he is doing, he wraps his arms around my head and face from behind and squeezes, which startled me. I turned to him, rather astounded, and asked incredulously, “What are you doing?” He looked a little flustered and rejected. “I was just trying to give you a hug.” It was then that my socially clueless sixth grader mutters in his lisping sing-song cadence, “Awkward.” Which came out: awwkwooord. I lost it. I think I laughed for five minutes straight. It was one of those rare, movie perfect moments that can’t ever be truly repeated, and timed just perfectly to remind you why you do what you do when all you really wanna do is throw you hands up and declare there is no hope for humanity of any kind.

If nothing else, I can hold on to this: I am blessed in both my work life and my personal life that I get to experience every emotion life has to offer: the heartache, the rejection, the deepest pain, the loneliness, the confusion, as well as knowing that I have and have known true love, known deep friendship, pure joy, pure peace, and pure laughter.

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