Woo! My weekend simply flew by, because that is what happens when you have an active social schedule the way that I do. It’s not easy being a socialite, but somehow I manage it.
Come to think of it, I suspect this weekend was a year’s worth of weekend excitement, owing to the fact that most of the time I consider it a busy weekend if I get up off the couch long enough to look for more snacks.
Anyway, I bid farewell to my usual level of sloth these last few days and was VERY BUSY and as a result, I now need a weekend to recover from my weekend. Um. Hmmm. Seems like this could be a problem, what with it being Monday and all. Oops.
I shall bravely soldier on, stopping only to nibble on leftovers in the fridge! Because I am a trooper that way!
On Friday afternoon, Otto and I volunteered in Chickadee’s class for their holiday project. Otto took pictures of the kids and printed them out, and I helped them make ornaments to put the pictures on. Except, um, mostly the teacher helped them and I herded children in and out of the classroom to have their photos done, and withstood a million questions.
I have mentioned before that this school has a lot of impoverished students, and while my heart is generally black and unyielding and made of stone, by the time we finished up on Friday I wanted to take Chickadee’s class home with me and feed them all. It was… I really don’t have the words. It was heartbreaking. Some of these kids were just ASTOUNDED to see not one, but TWO parents in the classroom. Xtina (remember her? the little girl who tormented Chickie so, at the beginning of the year?) saw me sneak over and give Chickadee a hug and a kiss, and she commenced following me around like a little puppy. Any time I stood still, she sidled up to me and put her arms around my waist. I hugged her back and smoothed her hair and had vivid flashes of fantasies involving punching her mother in the face.
(Yes, truly I am filled with the love of Christ.)
Another girl who had been made to write an apology letter to Chickadee after an incident came up and asked me if I had read her letter. (In it, she had asked Chickadee to please tell me that she wouldn’t do it again.) I smiled, called her by name, and complimented her on such a wonderful letter that she’d clearly spent so much time on. She BEAMED and spent the rest of the class time following me around. She wanted to know what color I like to paint my nails (they’re not painted), how long Otto and I have been married (7 months), and if I’m really a writer (yep).
One boy got frustrated with his work and put his head down on his desk… I walked over and got down on my knees by his chair to have a look. I told him not to worry, here was a couple of ways he could still do what he was trying to do… and OH MY look at that handsome picture, well, it hardly mattered what he did with his ornament at this point, because everyone was only going to have eyes for that picture, my my my. He perked up and even smiled a little.
A gaggle of children crowded around the photo printer, and two kids appointed themselves as Otto’s helpers, running printed pictures back into the classroom to their classmates.
It was exhausting, but good. I think. I hope it was.
After that, it was on to a weekend of no redeeming social value whatsoever. Or something.
Friday night I went on another “knitting” night, although I am still staunchly refusing to knit. It was a bigger group this time and cake was involved. (My kind of gathering.) I am slowly starting to feel like yes, okay, I have some friends here. I have people who will invite me into their homes, let their dogs slobber all over me, and hand me a glass of wine.
I have priorities, you know.
Saturday we finished up with the Christmas decorations and cleaned the house, because Saturday night we hosted a little party for some of Otto’s students. That evening can be summed up thusly: They are young, and we are old. I had forgotten the lure of FREE FOOD when you’re a college student, frankly. Plus I had forgotten that when you are in college, a couple of children eager to show off in your presence are entertaining yet utterly alien, and your reaction to them will be a mix of bemusement and terror.
Also I enjoyed watching the students crack on Otto about how different his life must be now.
(But the best part was watching Monkey greet the first student to arrive, who happened to be a young man with a ponytail halfway down his back. “OH!” cried Monkey immediately, “I AM GROWING MY HAIR OUT, TOO!” Said student gave a big smile and a thumbs-up, and Monkey was walking on air for the rest of the evening.)
Sunday meant spending most of the day at church to sing the cantata (twice!) and attend the luncheon we had afterwards, and then Monkey and I went out to do a little Christmas shopping for his sister. I would’ve preferred taking a nap to discussing the various relative merits of different Littlest Pet Shop animals, but we can’t always get what we want.
It’s a very exciting life I lead. I am hoping to get that nap, later.
That sounds pretty nice. I’m envious.
Our weekend was a hell of hissing spats, failed communication and sick, grumpy children. Doesn’t that sound awesome?
“(Yes, truly I am filled with the love of Christ.)” I about spit out my drink. LOL. I enjoy reading your blog it gets me going in the morning. Glad to hear at least someone had an eventful weekend. We spent yesterday staring at the TV waiting for the cable to come back. ;)
I volunteered at my son’s school last week. They PTO had set up a Santa’s Workshop so the kids could buy gifts for parents, siblings, etc. I was helping a 1st grader. She had her money so I asked who she would be buying for. She told me Mamaw, Aunt D, and an uncle. I asked if she needed something for Mommy. She replied “My Mommy is dead”. I almost had to leave the room. Then I wanted to wrap he up & bring her home with me. She did purchase a picture frame to put her picture in to take to Mommy’s grave.
These kids break my heart. And make me want to slap the parents.
When I went to Bubba’s holiday luncheon there was a little girl who followed me around much like Xtina did to you. I just wanted to put her in my pocket and take her home with me.
And what is it with kids and strangers that make them want to show off so ridiculously? I was afraid Bubba and Punkin were going to scare off our last sitter before WE could get out the door!
I’m picturing you as the Pied Piper with a line of little kids following you around everywhere you go. You’re such a good little nap-deprived Mom.
My weekend was also long and activity filled. However, at the end of it, I got crawfish, and it was all worth it.
Volunteering with low-income, high-risk kids is so rewarding, yet so emotionally draining. I used to do it regularly, and I would always leave so sad but happy that I was able to give them some of the attention that they so desperately needed. It’s such a conflicted feeling.
Also, I love that you continue to attend the knitting group without knitting. You could try it…it’s fun, I swear!
Oh drat. Now I’m sniffing at my desk and telling myself it’s not possible to save the world for every single wanting child who doesn’t get enough love. Poor babies – poor small, utterly defenseless babies.
Oh… I know just what you mean. When I lived in Boston, I participated in a lunch program that involved going to elementary schools and reading with kids. They had very strict rules about what we could and couldn’t give the kids (we were allowed to bring them a book at Christmas, but nothing else) and that was the only thing that prevented me from bringing bags of groceries and clothes every time I went.
I experienced the same dream (of hitting a child’s mother in the face) on Friday at my son’s “Candles and Carols” lunch at school. Said mother had sent in money for her lunch ticket but never showed. Didn’t call either to make an excuse (lame or otherwise) either. This child is a nice boy but he has some issues. And it was all I could do not to scoop his sobbing self up and take him home with me. I realize his mom is probably overwhelmed by many things but I couldn’t keep my anger at her from overriding my sympathy. Glad you were able to share your heart with some needy kids.
Hold out as long as possible, Mir. The knitting is a an insidious thing. You think you don’t have time now? Just wait until there is a half finished project interfering with your TV/snack time.
“Plus I had forgotten that when you are in college, a couple of children eager to show off in your presence are entertaining yet utterly alien, and your reaction to them will be a mix of bemusement and terror.”
HA! I am not in college anymore, and I still react that way. The joys of non-reproduction do have their drawbacks when others insist on spawning. I think I have now gotten to the point where I don’t actually recoil in terror, though. Probably due to the fact that I read so my blogs that talk about the children, and I’ve realized they may have some redeeming features!
The low-income neighborhoods are not the only ones. I regularly get similar reactions when I go to both boys classrooms. It kills me. Bless you and Otto for showing the kids that parents can be married and cool and happy.
Someone Mir to a yarn shop stat! As soon as she fondles some alpaca/silk/cashmere blend, she’ll be done for.
It’s lovely to hear how you and Otto helped Chickadee’s class, I’m sure she and the students will remember that a long time.
What you described with Chickadee’s classroom? Is why I so wanted to get that job. I want to be able to do that again, every day, and watch the kids blossom over the course of the year. It’s not about the paycheque, or the benefits, or the stable work schedule; it’s about being that person again–a teacher.
Aren’t the students cute when they come over? They always look around our place like they have never before seen a kitchen table. They’re all “Oh my god! You have a REFRIGERATOR!!! We have a refrigerator at our place, too!!”
And I am all, “Yeah, but yours probably has beer in it you little twerp. Hush up and eat your potato chips.”
I like baking and I give the treats to the neighbour down the street who works with “starving grad students.” Whatever I make is GONE within 15 minutes – no announcement made, no email sent, it’s like they sniff it out. Think the record was a gingerbread house – she put it down, hung up her coat, got some coffee, passed back and there was an empty tray. She swears it was less than five minutes …
There is a long list of people [why some of them are right here in the comments] who would love to offer you a glass of wine, with chocolate! or bacon! and finish it all with cake! just to spend an evening with you. Unfortunately, 3,000 miles makes it a tough visit.
And thank you for the tears (about your time in C’s class) as I’m getting ready for my weekly flagellation in couple’s therapy. Because a 50 minute hour of guilt isn’t enough. . .
I think Jesus WOULD punch certain parents. And if Jesus would do it, it’s not a sin. So I can do it too, right?
Stop looking at me like that!
I used to be that mom, and I miss it sometimes. Now my kids are at a hoity-toity school (why yes, I work there!) and the over-attentiveness of the parents just kills me. One room parent is never enough – there are 2 or 3 or 4 in nearly every class. Field trips? They have to LIMIT the number of parents who go with them – even on expensive trips – don’t get me started on how many entire families went on the boys’ soccer trip to Cancun. Now I get to be that inattentive parent once in a while, but the kids at our school just don’t appreciate the attention, they expect it.
And as another Mir-reading knitter (or is it Knitting Mir-reader?) – We’ll get you, my pretty!
I think I really want to go to Chickadee’s classroom and hug all the kids!
Great job encouraging those other kids in the class! It is always hard to picture those poor kiddos’ home life! We go to family swim at the Y every once in a while and the children just flock to the hubs…like it’s so novel to have a male figure around… So sad.
You made some little kids’ day!
Awesome karma points for you both!
I know what you mean. Oh, yes, I know of which you speak! It’s so hard for me to back off on buying for our adopt-a-family project when I know the child for whom I’m buying is the one sitting in row 3 struggling to make his pencils last a little longer. He has good family — they are just really down on their luck in this economy.
I think I got my degree in education because of classroom experiences with kids like that. Maybe I should have worked with child welfare instead. Now that my kids are all in school, I volunteer at the elementary school once a week and all the little girls hold my hand, ask questions, find reasons to wander by and say hi. It’s my dream job – no classroom discipline or lesson planning. Only helping the teacher and hanging out with kids who need a little extra attention. Okay, so I don’t get paid.
It’s so great that you are going and working in the classroom. I know the teachers appreciate it as well as the kiddos.
It’s just nice to visit back once in a while when I have a chance and see you just as happy as a clam.
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