You are So Lucky to Have Summer Off

 

Am I? I would love to work over the summer. The transition of working full-time to being a full-time stay at home mom is an emotional battle. If you think I’m lucky, let me describe a typical summer vacation day.

First, 7:30 AM, my toddler rolls on top of me to tell me to wake up and make her some hot chocolate milk and soup for breakfast. If I don’t comply immediately, I will be tortured with repetitive face grabbing and jumping on my head. So, I finally get up after 10 minutes of trying to fight off the 3-foot chocolate milk monster.

As I walk to the kitchen, the ten-year-old is already at the counter making breakfast. Score…one less kid to worry about. Until I see that there were no clean bowls, so he just filled my largest mixing bowl with an entire box of cereal. Oh well, at least he is actually working on his independence, right?

I think I can outsmart my toddler when it comes to getting her to eat a healthy breakfast, so I just make some scrambled eggs (which she loved last month) and tell her breakfast is ready, but the tyrant is no fool. She starts gagging at the sight of them. I guess she can just have the milk and a couple of vitamins. That’s healthy enough. And bonus, I tell the 15-year-old that I made her breakfast, and give her the eggs that were intended for the toddler.

Now, I have to get the 15-year-old to soccer at 9 and the 10-year-old to basketball camp at 9. Hmmm…maybe the teenager can score a ride considering that the whole soccer team lives in the neighborhood. Nope. No one can take her. Really?  Anyway, we are all set to go, and everyone is loaded in the car (which is a battle in itself) when my son realizes he has no shoes. We look for another pair, but apparently, he has lost all of his shoes.

Deep breaths…life could be worse. Fortunately, my son only hangs out at a couple of places, so we track down the shoes.

On the way to soccer practice, my daughter feels the need to continuously remind me that she is going to be late, while the toddler is making blood curdling shrieks from the back seat. I pull into the school parking lot and do a rolling stop as the teenager jumps out of the car reminding me several times that soccer ends at 11; don’t be late!

Onto the other side of town. Ten minutes in the car and the toddler is on her 20th problem. Right now it is a level 10 glass shattering scream that her back hurts. Now I’m on the verge of tears wondering how I will get her to shut up. We finally pull up to the basketball camp and the ten-year-old sprints out of the car! I’m guessing he is relieved to get away from us. At least I remembered to give him his lunch.

Down to one kid, unfortunately she is the most challenging kid that I have at the moment. She is still crying, so I toss her my phone because it is the only way to get home without losing my mind. I drive home for the remainder of the ten minutes in peace, which is the best part of my day. I walk in the door thinking that I’ll have time to clean up the breakfast mess, but then I realize it is almost 11:00, and I can’t be late, and we are back in the car.

I love my kids with everything, but I am counting down the days until summer is over.

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Impact

I don’t even know why I am so compelled to write my thoughts at this moment. I went to bed praying, woke up crying, and started praying again. What is happening in our country right now? Mass murder, cop killings, riots, looting, terrorism, hate, propaganda…

The last person I thought about before falling asleep was Martin Luther King Jr, and how saddened he would be by all of this. I am a wife, mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a teacher. I keep thinking about my role as an educator where I have spent over a decade in the classroom teaching the words of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank, and so many more people who impacted the world.  I have done so because it has played such a significant role in America’s history and allows an amazing opportunity for kids to analyze, interpret, and discuss the issues of the different time periods. But right now, I wonder, “Do any of my students remember this?”

As they are watching the world around them fall apart, do they remember what I taught them about the violence during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s? Do they remember MLK’s words of peace? “And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring form every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when ALL of god’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants, and Catholics, will we be able to joining hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God, Almighty, we are free at last!”

My students have spent countless hours researching the assassination of John F. Kennedy. They learned about how our history is connected to our present. And it moves me to think about how much all of history is connected and resonates with me today. John F. Kennedy once said, “I look forward to a great future for America; a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.” My heart aches knowing that this is not the America we live in today.

Do they remember Elie Wiesel’s words about silence? “For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living. He has no right to deprive the future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would not only be dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

Do they remember Anne Frank, “In spite of everything, I still believe people are still good at heart.” I have these words memorized from all of the years of trying to teach my students to be the good in the world.

I also think about the messages that I try to instill in my students. I teach them through history and literature not to judge others so harshly because we do not know his/her story. Sometimes I teach lessons in my classroom that would be considered risky.  But it’s because I want my students to understand the past, so they can be a voice for the future and make the world a better place.  My final project in college was a unit about social action. It made such an impression, that ten years later I am still pushing for kids to do their part. I want them to see that they can make the world better or that they can rise above their circumstances not make it an excuse for their shortcomings. Right now, I frantically wonder if they remember any of the discussions about love, peace, acceptance, voice, etc. that resonate right now with all that is going on in the world. For the most part, we teachers don’t know if what we do has a long lasting impact, but today, I just hope the young men and women who have sat in my classroom make a choice to do better and be better. Teaching is the only way I know how to make a difference in times like these.

americanrhetoric.com

Night, Elie Wiesel