Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Big Chill

There was talk on the news yesterday that the "big chill" was finally going to make an appearance. I always have to laugh at the idea of snow here, where we go for years with neither snow nor ice. As a matter of fact, the last time we had real snow in San Antonio was 1985, and the big reason I remember when it was is because Rachel was born in October of 1984, and the snow hit right before her sister, Alana's second birthday in January. We had great fun building a snow "person" in the front yard- Alana had ziplock bags over her shoes to keep her dry.
But I digress...the "big chill" makes people crazy here. The kids get excited because of the possibility they might get a day off from school. They don't sleep because every 10 minutes, they go to the window to check out the snow that is surely falling by now. In the morning, they leap out of bed to check one more time, praying that while they dozed off for that final 10 minutes, a miracle happened and the meteorologist was actually right. The forecast last night was for sleet with a strong possibility of ice by mid-morning. Even the teachers were beginning to imagine a day off by the end of the day yesterday because it was really getting cold outside. I woke up this morning, and I have to admit, I peeked out of the window, halfway hoping to see that blanket of snow. (I always figure if it has to be cold, it could at least snow so that we can play in it!) I couldn't tell from upstairs if there was anything on the ground; I went downstairs and opened the door to see a completely clear sky and no sign of any precipitation of any kind. OH Maaaaaan. How is it that we get fooled over and over again? Then there's the number of accidents that happen when the roads are icy because nobody in this part of Texas knows how to drive in it. We recognize the Northerners by the chains on their car tires, but none of us would know how to get those chains to stay on ours. We secretly laugh at them as we go barreling down the road, pretending we know what we're doing until CRASH, BAM, BOOM, we run into a utility pole and total our cars as that New Yorker rolls by shaking her head. So, in the end, it's probably a good thing we only have snow and ice once every 25 years. We'd just have to make up the school day we miss sometime in June anyway, when the sun is out to stay, and who wants to be stuck inside when the beaches and parks are beckoning? Oh, that is so much better than building snow people and wrecking our cars...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Be the Change

Can you feel the electricity in the air? The hope? I feel so fortunate to be a part of it. What an amazing time! During my conference period today, my phone rang. I usually turn it off when I get to school, but I had forgotten, so I answered it. Kristinn was on the other end, telling me that 3 year old Sofia had something to say. Sofia got on the phone and said, "Hi Bubbe, I am watching President Barack Obama!" I heard 5 year old Gabriel in the background saying, "We're watching the inauguration!" We (teachers) were able to see the swearing in and President Obama's speech before we had to get back to class. In San Antonio yesterday, our MLK March was once again one of the (if not the) largest in the US. It was very moving to see the joy on everyone's faces- to know that a dream few expected to ever happen has come true with this inauguration. People of all ethnicities and religious backgrounds marched arm in arm, and it truly felt like a new dawn is here- a new age of more than just tolerance but acceptance and even (dare I say it?) love. Only a few times in my life have I known I was witnessing a historic event, but today is a day I will never forget. Let's keep the dream alive until we are all truly equal.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mom's 78th birthday. She's a pretty amazing woman, I must say. Soon after she married my father back in the early 50's, she found herself far away from her NJ home-overseas, in France, due to Dad's Air Force career. She raised two daughters and two sons, while Dad worked, often leaving his family for weeks or months at a time on TDY (Temporary Duty) assignments to places like Turkey and Cameron Bay. We traveled from New Jersey to Louisiana, to Georgia and Germany, back to NJ and on to Texas, and it was Mom who kept it all together. She raised us to be self sufficient with strong work ethics, and though she had not gone to college herself at the time, we all did- and so did she after Dad died. She raised a MSW, a Master Degreed teacher, an RN, and a businessman/owner, eventually earning her own Master's degree in Social Work. Mom began her career at a time when her peers were thinking about retirement and then worked for many years, developing and running the HOPE Program for widows and widowers in and around Camden County, NJ. She's retired now, but keeps up her busy lifestyle visiting her children in Alaska, Texas, and Wyoming and helping care for her grandchildren in NJ. Her friends know she's there for them and so do all of us. Happy birthday, Mom. May this be the best year yet! I love you.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My son has a girlfriend...

My youngest son has his first "real" girlfriend. They're both 14, and with as many times as I've been through this, you'd think I'd be used to it AND have all the answers, right? Not's sort of like giving birth- you forget about the pain as soon as it's over. Don't get me wrong- his girlfriend is a sweet girl, and so far things are going smoothly. BUT being the mom that I am, how can I not worry about the first big fight or OMG, her breaking his heart? For Hanukkah, she framed two pictures she painted and gave them to him- very nice. He burned her some CD's with "their" music on them for Christmas. He goes over to her house, and she comes over here. They go out to the movies, and she's even gone with him to his traveling bowling league-now that's real love. Bowling alleys are still some of the most interesting and often bizarre places you'll ever go. Last week, we had to stop at Crispy Creme because my son overheard his girl say she had a craving (NO, not that kind!) for a doughnut. He bought a dozen and went to her house. Sunday, he decided he should bring breakfast tacos for her family. Really, what 14 year old thinks of doing things like that? When I dropped him off, a little boy (her brother) ran out and wrapped his arms around E's legs- and E. didn't kick him off- I actually saw him SMILE. Her parents LOVE him and were even thinking about having him spend the night on New Years. We said no to that, and it ended up not working out anyway, so all was good. Of course, first we had to listen to him talk to us about trust...interesting conversation I must say. This whole thing has brought back somewhat vague (ha) memories of my first "true love." His name was Bobby - and we were 14, too. Bobby never brought me doughnuts or tacos- he just wanted to make out. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised when after 3 months, I caught him making out with my supposed best friend. He broke my heart- that kind of pain you don't forget- even when you're a 53 year old grandmother- that kind of pain you want to protect your kids from but know you can't. You also know that somehow they'll survive and probably live to break a few hearts of their own, but it doesn't make it any less painful for them or their moms when it happens.
What about y'all - what memories do you have of first love, and what did you learn from it?