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Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

...just so you know...

...I really am alive. I know that I've managed to post on a few of y'alls blogs over the last month and a half, but that's about all I was able to swing. I have had a lot to do with family, school (teaching and being taught), and life. I suppose we all do, but in my case, I decided that blogging took the backseat.

What's happened since the last time I posted? Let's see...first of all, immigration has had more twists and turns than I even care to discuss. Let's just say that it appears Alex will get a work permit at the end of March, and no sooner, and there's not much to be done about that one. However, at least he's still here legally meanwhile, and that gives me hope.

Secondly, Firepaw Mercutio still remains my kitty, but he has fully adapted to all other members of the family. Gosh, he's so long! I see him curl up with my elder cat, Chian, a lot these days (cold weather inspires love). They adore hogging the bed. This morning, Jared woke up and crawled into our bed, lying atop me. Firepaw was at my feet. Alex was at the other side of me. And then Chian was on my side. Every last male in the house (save for the fish) was all happily snuggled into that bed, warm and content. Firepaw wouldn't have liked that scenario a few months back--he really prefers women. But he's adjusted to the house.

Thirdly, I had a great Thanksgiving with my brother and his family. We're really looking forward to heading up there this week for Christmas, where my folks will join us as well.

Occasionally I have depressed thoughts about the financial situation and immigration issues, but otherwise I seem ok. I often wonder how I manage to be so damned happy, but there you go. I often stare at my husband sleeping and smile....or grin at the bright sun creeping into my car, warming me on a cold day...or even--gasp--feel a chuckle when my daughter has an occasional flash of preteen years wash across her face in pouts and tears. Sure, life would be easier if we had a Sims money tree, and surely life would be easier if Alex already had his green card, but really, I AM enjoying life. It's quite the contrast from when my marriage fell apart and I used to wake up in the morning crying because I was still alive. Right now, I can get blows and they aren't crippling. I like that.

This semester, I had a student who totally inspired me. She came in and talked to me a lot during the semester, and quickly when I assertained her situation, I encouraged her to leave her abusive husband for her sake and her daughter's sake. This was one hell of a smart woman who loved her child, and after a short period of time crying woe is me (plus also, 'oh god, my parents will say I told you so!'), she recovered and did what she needed to do. She went to the psychological services at school, got help from an abuse specialist, dumped on me weekly so she had a release (plus several other of her friends), and moved out! She kept up on all her schoolwork, participating in discussion in my class to the point wherein one of the other students thought she must be my TA since she knew so much. She did awesomely in all of her own classes despite her husband throwing her into a sliding glass door, punching at her, screaming at her, buying a gun and waving it at her, etc. She cried, she got out, she moved in with her parents...and kept up on all of her schoolwork, getting a 4.0 by the end of the term.

I dare any of you to do the same.

I just love this kid. She's actually Alex's age, so she's not my typical 20 yr old lit student. She's seen life, and she knows the value of this education she strives to get. She knows it's her ticket out of poverty. She knows it's the source of her daughter's hope for the future. She's brilliant, and she kept her sense of humor all the way through the horror. I ran into her at downtown Clemson, and she ran over with her friend to hug me and Alex, introducing me as her most fantastic teacher ever...bubbling over me and Alex (who came to class with me a few times this term to add to the discussion!), her new life, and the world as a whole. Wow. She sure did bounce back quickly!

I look at her, at Brenda, at Student Z, at so many of the remarkable flickers of flame that danced before me as students over the years...and realize I just LOVE this profession. I was meant for it. I am facinated by those who face difficulty, who reach out, who recover, who soar in the sky after it all. And I just feel honored to be a part of that process.

It's not like I don't get the occasional shithead. This term, I had a student who actually inspired flashes of hatred in me from time to time. That has never happened before--not even with Stephen, who was a holy terror to Amanda at Tech and then, after failing her class, arrived cheerily in my door (it's hard to smile at a student you know physically threatened another teacher in front of a room full of students who tried to interfere for fear of their teacher's wellbeing). This guy took the case. He cheated on a quiz and was caught, never listened to what I said, inserted only stupid commentary into discussion, left class frequently to go take a 10 min piss, and ACTUALLY HIT ON ME IN FRONT OF MY HUSBAND. No really, he was that stupid. He didn't realize that the guy in my office was not my officemate but Alex, and he started talking about my gorgeous eyes until Alex turned around to get a better look at the asskisser who was saying it all. At that point, this guy sputtered and shut up before switching the subject. Alex thought it was funny, but it just added to the annoyance for me. So, it's not like none of them ever drive me up the wall.

But seriously? This has got to be the best profession in the universe. Ok, so the pay sucks. I will grant you that instantly. But the vacation time is great if you're a mom, and the rewards are tremendous. After exams this term, I had more than TEN students come to me and tell me they never liked an English class before mine, and that they'd be recommending my classes to all their friends, plus take more with me if they could. Warm fuzzies everywhere! I know I don't reach them all, but when I see the ones I DO reach, I feel like I'm making a difference.

Ariana turned ten and Jared turned seven this month. Argh! That was the only other thing I can think of that is monumental. It's interesting to me, but since Ariana is so much like me, when she has fits that leave Jared and Alex perplexed (pre-teen moments...which get worse as teen moments, of course), I handle it like a pro. I know what to say! I know what to do! It still drives me nuts, but I feel like a total success here. I'll leave Jared to Alex since those two are very similar temperment wise too. It will be scary to have a third baby (if we manage to do so). Who will he or she resemble? Will we be able to figure out his or her needs? So far, luck has been on our side. Do we dare risk it?

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?

Isn't that always the question to ask?

Merry Christmas, folks!