Peace, Love, and French Fries

Catholic, children, faith, family, growth, humility, learning, love, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

Peace Be Unto You – a standard getting in the Arab world predominated with members of the Muslim faith and a greeting I used, in its Arabic form, to break cultural and language barriers with a parent this week.

So grateful for that greeting, the father gestured that I sit down before he did, with a genuine smile and a knowing approval that we shared a willingness to dialogue no matter the barriers . We also shared a deep and abiding love for our son.

Happy at his son’s progress report, he offered to buy his son french fries. Not not just any french fries,  but the ones from Ted’s. He gestured about the cost of those, rubbing his fingers together, the international sign of expense, but a with a gleam in his eye and willingness to treat his son.

I shared with him that in my faith, Lent was coming and that we can’t eat meat on Friday and I, too, enjoy Ted’s for fish and fries. A translator helped with the logistics of the conversation, but I knew with the smiles and gestures that he understood.

My love for my son has been put to the test this week by those who wish to do harm unto him. My bond with him, forged in the womb, is a connection primal yet spiritual; with the yearning to protect him from the evils of this cruel world.

Peace be with you and with your spirit, is a standard response in my faith with a handshake or a kiss of peace.

Peace through fear, rage and betrayal is what I knew to give to stabilize his soul and keep his faith along with french fries and a milk shake.

As my Lenten journey soon begins,  I harken back to my early years in the Church, in the  Latin Rite. I close my eyes and knowingly can feel, see and hear the smells, the mysterious language, memorized but understood;  my visceral images of faith, unity and security.

Pax Dómini sit semper vobí- Et cum spíritu tuo. As-Salaam-Alaikum.  Mualaikumsalam.

Two  different languages and experiences; common and familiar.

Love, peace and french fries…

Simple love for our sons.

 

 

 

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Check Your Spelling

children, coaching, disability, faith, family, growth, humility, learning, love, momoffive, motherhood, sportsmanship, teaching, truth

Writing this post this morning, I’m procrastinating from entering my interim grades and getting ready for school. My spelling and retelling of the past month’s events in my life are a necessary and bewitching challenge.

Grateful for being a “highly intelligent woman,” I still am crippled by the stress, grief and exhaustion of being a “first year” teacher in an urban school district, the sole competent member of my family’s bloodline after the sudden death of my only sister, matriarch of an above average sized family (both in size and number) and an entrepreneur trying to rekindle the flames a business that was put on the back burner due to disabling conditions that took away my spark for a few years.

Shall I just take the easy path – notes, rhetoric, tests, lather, rinse, repeat? To me that is a “wonderlandering” downward slide down the wicked path of mediocrity

Or do I Sinatra it – do it my way? Taking myself, yet again, down the challenging, relevant, albeit difficult and thorn filled path; casting a spell of relevance to corrupt the minds of youth?

And in so doing,  in taking them away from the fiery caldron of acceptance of norms created to control, and thereby charting a course towards a brave new world of courage, acceptance of difference and a remonstrance of the common, do I self immolate?

Either way, I’ll be sure to run a spell check…

 

 

 

Teaching, Learning, Life

children, faith, growth, learning, love, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

As the semester comes to a close and along with it, my first full school year back in the classroom; I’m still as excited to be doing this today as I was in September.

I’ve had bumps along the way, tears were shed, self-doubt crept in, mistakes were made (again and again), but the awesome questions that keep coming, the laughter at my corny jokes, and the smiling (and sometimes fearful) faces of those that sit before me thirsting for knowledge inspire me even on my darkest days.

My own children ask me, “Mom, why do you read so much?”

Answers:

1) I enjoy reading.

2) I enjoy learning.

3) I would be a charlatan if I stood up in front of my students every day and expected them to take risks and learn if I wasn’t willing to do the same.

Our library is being cleaned out for renovations and an entire set of history books were up for the taking. I now have 6 boxes of books in the back of the land yacht (Psst don’t tell Papasaurus yet!) and as I excitedly looked through the them, I let out a squeal of delight about books on obscure Civil War battles that made the librarian chuckle. He said, “You are proof that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. I’m glad someone will put them to good use.”

Albert Eistein is credited with a quote, “Once we stop learning, we start dying.”

I have a long life ahead…

 

 

 

 

Bitc%es, $luts, False Accusations and Forgiveness…

children, disability, faith, family, growth, hockey, hockeymom, humility, learning, lettinggo, love, momoffive, motherhood, teaching, truth

I think I’ve calmed myself down enough now so that I am not shooting boogers out of my nose with my sobs to try to write down how humiliated I felt tonight when an obviously overwrought, understaffed and poorly trained Stewart’s employee falsely accused me of not paying for my gas.

See, I had to stop for gas after staying very late after school tonight and before I had to go run around again with the typical night of sports mom practice pickup and drop offs.

Knowing the closest gas station to my job is the Sitterly Road location, I stopped at a pump, took of the gas cap off, put in my SEFCU card, the pump turned on, I selected Regular Unleaded and expected to put $20 in my tank and head home. Of course,  as my cold arthritic hands often do, I missed at $20, so I went to $20.05 and stopped.

Staring at the $0.99 coffee with any gas purchase sign on the gas pump in my hand, and with pangs of hunger racking my body (See I missed lunch today as it’s Regents Week starting tomorrow, and I was running to drop off stuff all through my office period!) I decided to go back into my truck,  get my purse and grab a quick cup of tea and those addicting chicken salad sandwiches on white bread. I left my truck near the pump as it wasn’t busy and walked into the store.

After filling my cup, I grabbed my sandwich, went to the register and took out my receipt after asking if I could get the tea for $0.99 if I didn’t pay cash for my gas. She said, “Did you put $20. on pump 8?” I said, “Yeah here’s my receipt,” to which she said,”It’s not clearing on the computer.” I said, “Well I showed you my receipt it’s OK right?” or something to that effect and she mumbled “Yeah,” so I walked out, holding the door for the woman who had been sparring with me for the creamer as per usual, I  used the last of the half and half and had to throw out the container closest to me.

I put my purse, tea and sandwich in my truck and was about ready to get in when the other employee came running out after me, yelling, ” I need to see the receipt. Your pump is showing you didn’t pay!” She was rude and accusatory and many people outside looked at me as if I was trying to steal gas! I was shocked and said.”Yeah here’s my receipt.” I then showed her my receipt and, never apologizing, she mumbled something about a lot of drive offs, and begrudgingly walked back into the store.

As I got into my truck, it really started to hit me. I was falsely accused! I could feel the anger bubbling up in me like the chili in the pot they were stirring inside the store when I went to the counter to buy my tea and sandwich.

I was feeling all kinds of things, mostly humiliation, embarrassment and anger. Someone at Stewart’s Corporate Offices needs to know about this!  What if I didn’t have my receipt? What would she have done, call the police?

I didn’t know her name, so I was going back into the store and getting it. I was going to show her that I don’t steal and I don’t lie and that she should apologize.

Well things went from bad to worse. I went back in to get her name because she made me feel humiliated and no one treats me like that. She still didn’t apologize and actually started yelling at me saying that she didn’t need to listen to me yelling at her.

All she had to do was apologize to me –  “I’m sorry,”  would have stopped it right there. Yeah I would have been mad but I would have been better, but  she just turned her back on me like I was nothing and walked away further humiliating me.

Then I was got mad. I said stuff like, you don’t treat me like that, who do you think you are, I’m a teacher at the school around the corner.! Why would I buy a sandwich and tea if was going to steal gas!

Then I heard “Why don’t you leave you slut!” It was a man’s voice. I couldn’t look up.

WHAAAAT?

Then I heard her call me a bitch. Then I called her a bitch. Not my proudest moment.

I couldn’t believe it! I’m a slut; a bitch? Just for wanting an apology? For asking the employee her name so I could follow up?

Furious, I stormed out. Tears erupted from my body. I called corporate and left a message for their customer service team. I was sobbing at this point.

Then I thought, “I want to speak to someone now.” I called the number back again, tears streaming down my face barely able to contain my sobs so much so that the woman I spoke kept saying try to calm down, try to take a deep breath.

I told her I had to drive home and that my phone was going to die and that I had to drive my son to practice.

When I got home I received a call from a store manager who immediately apologized. He asked me if I could tell him what happened. Crying, I retold the story. I could hear him gasp. He couldn’t say I’m sorry enough. For the first time an employee actually said something that I believed.

However, he was mistakenly called as it was not his store. He even went on to say that he would call the District Manager whose store it was and explain to him what happened so that I did not have to get myself upset. He apologized over and over again. He also said something about bringing it up at the Corporate Office customer service meeting tomorrow.

Soon after, I received a call from the District Manager and I was feeling my tears turn to anger again. Having to recall this a 4th time and hearing his disdain for my side of it and backing up his employee of 10 years, I was shocked. He said he would pull the tape. He said he had lots of drive offs. Not really what I wanted to hear, my phone died mid conversation and I sobbed all the way to my son’s practice and back.

When I returned home, I had received a call back, not from the District Manager, but from the first manager making sure that I had his phone number and if the district manager didn’t call me to feel free to call him.

After trying unsuccessfully to contact the District Manager again, I called the first manager and wanted to thank him for his call. I left him a message that I my phone had died when talking to the DM and that I  appreciated his compassion and follow through.

As hours have passed, I think of all my friends of color, my students, my friends. If I don’t follow through, these types of situations can continue to happen.

Stewart’s DEFINITELY needs to retrain their employees about accusing people falsely, how to process whether or not someone has potentially forgotten to pay and to just teach their employees HUMILITY!

Do I want her fired? No. Do I want an BIG LOUD apology from the highest levels? YES, YES I do!

I will be teaching my students about this. I will be reminding them to ALWAYS get a receipt, to get a name, to be sure before accusing someone. If they make a mistake, to be humble and apologize.

See this slut and bitch never forgets. but she will eventually forgive. Might as well make it a learning opportunity…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Catholic, faith, family, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

As I sit here, in my warm home with snow gently falling outside, a eerie sense of calm surrounds me.

Yet, I have no tree, I am not even close to being done with my shopping and I have two more days of work this week.

Then a dear old warrior friend posted this: 18 Strings of Trouble – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and I hearken back to the days when I felt like my life was a war zone. Fear, uncertainty and pain, was all I knew.

Reminded of that yesterday with a student in crisis (The similarities to my own personal situation at that age were astounding!), I now realize why I have been placed where I am.

The beauty and wisdom of knowing and recognizing it brings me great comfort and joy.

So enjoy the snow, take you time, crank up the music and ENJOY. Take care of you!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

via Daily Prompt: Calm

In Sickness and In Health

children, disability, learning, love, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

No, I’m not talking about my wedding vows, I am talking about writing and creating the perfect lessons for my substitute teacher to continue the learning process with my vast array of students when I am not there.

The health and well-being of my students is always on my mind. Why is X suspended again? Why is L not going to class on time this week after I finally talked with him and thought he was on track? Why is C such a wizard and what can I do to challenge him so he is not bored? Is M still worried about her grades so much she doesn’t sleep at night?

See I believe that teaching is my calling. I have told my students that I take the whole “In Loco Parentis” part seriously. I am their parents while they are in school, but I’m not really am I?

I can’t ground them for being a jerk and skipping class, buy them ice cream on a day they are sad or give them a hug when their spirits are weary can I?

I try when I am there to be a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board for their concerns and a listening ear, even when they are screaming. I teach business, but in my job as CEO of my classes, I blur the lines between management and employees.

All I can do is make sure my substitute understands that they are MY kids and provide lessons to help to carry on my instruction.

In sickness and in health…