Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The realization has finally hit me – my child is starting kindergarten. The syndrome hits me every year just when school is starting. It’s always the same. At 7:00am, the school bus whizzes to a stop at the end of my driveway. My child waves an uncertain goodbye and climbs aboard. The door whooshes shut and the bus rumbles slowly out of sight.
I go back on the porch for another cup of tea, a peaceful cup at last. I spread the paper open in front of me and start to cry.
I snap the paper to attention and pretend to read. My tears blur the words into a muddy jumble. This is nonsense. I should be glad school is back in session. No more sticky kitchen floor, no more sliding door left open, no more trail of Kool-Aid across the rug.
It’s no use. I want to jump in the car and follow the bus to school. I want to peek around the corner of the building to make sure my baby has found the right classroom, has not gotten knocked over by bullies, has remembered to carry her lunch box off the bus.
But more than that, I want to glimpse into her classroom. I have no need to check the bulletin boards or the lesson plans. I want to look into the teacher’s soul. I want to find some hint of assurance that she is worthy to continue what I have these past years begun.
For, when each of my children turned 5, they were suddenly snatched from me. I had, up till then, been the overwhelming influence on their development. Their values were my values, their world was shaped by what I wanted them to see, hear, experience. All at once a teacher, stranger was taking my place.
And so, I cry on the first day of school. I cry because my child is entering a world into which I cannot, no matter how desperately I long to, intrude. I cry because some stranger is taking over the job, not of teaching my child math or reading, but of nurturing his development of self. And I wonder if she’ll do it with the dedication I demand.
Each September I fight an overwhelming urge to rush to school to remind the teacher what a very special little person my child is; that he is not just one of a roomful of pupils – he is MY CHILD, would she please, please treat him accordingly. Would she be so kind as to try to get to know his/her complex personality, his/her weaknesses. Would she try never to humiliate him or belittle him; would she notice his bad days and on those days treat him ever so gently because he is, after all, not just one of a sea of little bodies – he is special. He’s mine.
But of course I can’t do that, can’t dictate caring to every teacher my children will encounter. I can only hope that each one of them will know that for all the fantastic educational tools a teacher might use and for all her mastery of subject matter and exciting lesson plans, and for all her intelligence, her most basic responsibility will be unfulfilled if the element of caring is missing. And the key to that, in my mind, lies in seeing each pupil as somebody’s precious child.
So I sit on my back porch, drinking a peaceful cup of tea and pretending to read and hope that my children’s teachers see them as unique, complex, fragile, vulnerable beings. I can only hope that the reason they are teachers after all, is to bring each student ever closer to his potential, not just as a mind, but as a heart and soul as well.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
After reminiscing on that memory (that we can laugh about now) we got a real kick out of thinking about something Jack said to us a few weeks ago. He said, "Ya' know, I didn't really like being a baby." We said, "Yeah, Jack, we know, we know."
We love you, Jack. And we're very glad you like being a sweet big boy.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Jack's predilection for Star Wars has gone beyond obsession these days. He plays Star Wars scenarios all day, every day with any toy he can get his hands on. His new light saber of choice is an old wooden-handled spatula. His knights have been Star Wars characters, his beloved Transformers have now become Star Wars characters, and even big Zurg and little Zurg are now Jango and Boba Fett. And he is constantly role-playing Star Wars. Sometimes Jack won't respond unless we call him Yoda. Ella refuses to play most times, so I'm either Padme, Asoka, or Princess Leah...which can be fun when Jonathan gets to be Hans Solo ;-).
When Jonathan called Jack out on this fixation of his, I suppose the response wasn't too surprising.
Jonathan: Jack, you're obsessed!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Jack's holding on tight to a buddy that Noah ran in to his room to get for Jack--so sweet.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Jack: What does it say?
Jonathan: It says 'Love Her'.
Jack: That means love mommy.
I just didn't want to forget my little sweetheart moment.