Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tribute to My "Rock"

Rock is the fictitious name I've given to #2 child. He plays in an alternative rock band (hence the name "Rock"). His big brother, Hero, successfully trained Rock in the busy way For example, he he couldn't sit, or do anything that didn't involve running or thrashing both arms all over as he ran. He managed a few scuffs along the way, and has the scars to show for them. I once had a pediatrician hold up his 100 page medical file and say "S'up with this?" After I fantasized about shoving my fist down his throat, I said sweetly, "I bring him to the doctor when he's sick or broken! He's just a little accident-prone and gets a few ear infections!"

Rock spoke Klingon when he was two years old. Only Hero could translate. After a while, I could understand through hand motions and using 50,000 suggestions as to what it was he wanted to say. We had his hearing tested, which resulted in good news, but when the doctor had him do a few tongue "gestures" he was unable to pass the test. The diagnosis was an under-developed tongue muscle that was completely normal after a year of speech therapy. Once he was speaking English, he wouldn't shut up!

He went to a preschool that had classes surrounding an open atrium. Once, while we were walking to his class, he was smacking the leaves of atrium plants along the way. He was walking directly behind me and forgot about the eyes in the back of my head. I said calmly, "Rock please stop smacking those plants." He replied in his ever-so-nanny-nanny voice, "Can't see me!" I laughed so hard I almost wet myself!

He's always loved sports and outdoor games. The preschool had little two-wheel bikes with wheels that were at least six inches wide. He mastered the two wheeler at school and then blew his dad away when he hopped on a "real" bicycle and took off. Dad was prepared to run up and down the street for a few hours until Rock felt confident enough to ride alone. Dad was beside himself with relief to have dodged this one!

Hero, Rock's big brother, crashed and burned on a bicycle when he was about five years old. He wouldn't get back on a bike to save his life. When the boys were a little older, Rock had to teach a skill to someone for a scout badge. He was able to get his big brother back on a bicycle and loved it! Whew! I was glad he was working on that badge! Have you ever tried to get a kid to take cough syrup once they've tasted the worst kind?

They both enjoyed playing soccer and baseball....until they were hit by wild pitches! I don't know what it is with getting hit by a fast moving ball, but neither one ever played it again. Rock tried gymnastics, volleyball and football. He fell in love with the latter two sports, and was very successful at them. He would bring on the "bad boy mean" when it was needed, but he normally was a bit more reserved. He has, however, more heart in his little finger than do many entire teams of athletes!

He has accomplished much in his young life, and he has done his momma proud! He's more than half-way through his college education and actually has an idea of what he'd like to be when he grows up. I didn't know what I wanted to be until I was 50, and I'm still changing my mind to this day!

So, here's to you Rock! Because you could sing the entire soundtrack of Disney's "Little Mermaid" when you were three; because you wouldn't let the doctors hurt your big brother when they tried to stitch up his eye; because you busted your butt to finish your Eagle project within 24 hours of turning 18; and because you never hesitate to say you love me in public, I am so incredibly proud of you and grateful that God gave you to me!

I love you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Age of Aquarius

Remember this Fifth Dimension song? "When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars..." Everything is perfect! Have you ever had a day, a week, a year, or a job that was everything you needed to be completely satisfied? I'd like to tell you about a time in my life where I felt that I was aligned with something very special.

Prior to my thrilling job as a school secretary, I worked at a church pre-school as a Teacher's Aid. I had been coerced to apply for this job by a friend. It helped a little that my girls had been students at the school, so I was familiar with how it was run and I knew some of the teachers. I really love the kids at this age. They are still so very innocent and loving. Every new experience is an exciting adventure for them.

My day began by assisting the teachers prepare for the day. The other Aids and I would help set up paints and easels, fill up water pitchers, set out supplies for the day's activities and anything else that the teachers needed. Once the children began arriving, we would go through their tote bags to pull out notes, lunch bags or returned items from the prior class time. Throughout the morning, we would help with activities, art projects, snack time, potty breaks, outside time and clean up. Occasionally, I would substitute for one of the teachers. This really did wonders for my ego, because the little tykes always loved the teacher!

One of the the best things about this job, (in addition to the children) was the fact that I loved every single woman with whom I worked. I loved the director, the teachers and the other aids. We all seemed to blend well together. All of us were moms, so we had that in common. The fact that we were all Christian women was another common thread. I think that we all had a decent sense of humor, which on some days, was the only way we survived! After working for a few months, I became comfortable with my work and my relationship with my co-workers. Everyone was called "Miss" Susan, "Miss" Betty, etc. I would get a chuckle when I would hear, "Miss Liz, will you please wipe my butt?" coming from the bathroom!

In November, we drew names for a Secret Santa event. We would begin leaving gifts for our secret person once a week starting with December 1st. We would get together at a restaurant after the school finished classes for winter break. It would be at this luncheon that our Secret Santa would be revealed. It was always so much fun to sneak around with our little secret stuff and bring a smile to someones face. Of course, I would absolutely love receiving my surprises, too!

One year, to add a little something different, we all took names of a famous actress. There was Anna Nicole Smith, Amy Irving, Mae West, Susan Hayward, Melanie Griffith, Carol Lombard and I was Elizabeth Taylor. It was a lot of fun pretending to be a famous person, and it often kept us laughing throughout the day. To this day, we still email each other with our "Movie Star" names.

The boys and girls were always cracking us up with the funniest stories and their explanations for whatever was happening on any given day. We had a tablet in one of the classrooms where we would write down the funny sayings. At the end of the school year, the director would make a little booklet with these precious articulations, as well as, samples of their master artworks throughout the year. I still have these booklets.

This dream job lasted for two to three years. I will always remember the fun, laughter and comradery I experienced when the planets were guided by peace and love steered the stars.