Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mother's Helper

I spent the better part of this afternoon helping my mother prepare her room for her newest second grade class, starting next week. And man, if you have ever wondered why so many kids today have acute ADD, look no further than their elementary school classrooms. There is shit everywhere. I had trouble focusing; I can't imagine how the eight year-old set processes all the colors! And themes! And decorations! And books! And projects!

Is wonderful though. My mama is in her glory in that room, running around searching frantically for those tee-shirts, Melissa, where are those tee-shirts I made last year? I was sure I put them in this closet! I guess I will just have to make them again. Here, use these scissors to remove these rulers from the packaging, then put them in this basket. Oh, here are the tee-shirts! Now, assemble this box, see, I will put all of my posters in it...

She is high energy, my mama.

I reveled putting labels in the books, and sorting them into easy reads (Dr. Suess) and more challenging (Ramona Quimby!!!) novels. I can't wait to escape to this place again sometime soon to read these kids a story. The last time I visited, the children were so damn adorable. My mom proudly introduced me to them as her eldest child, then asked, "What are some of the differences you see in us?"

"She is tall!" They shouted. "You are short!"

"She has straight hair!" One mentioned. "You have poofy hair!"

"Now," my mother began, "Melissa lives in New York. Do you have any questions for her?"

Little girl raises hand in back.

"You're pretty," she gushed.

Seriously, how can you not love these goddamn kids?

And I am sure all the faculty at the school loved my mother today as - while they dutifully worked to prepare their classrooms - she popped in and introduced me to each and every person she knew.

"Hi Mr. Jennings! This is my daughter!" And on, and on. And each person shook my hand warmly and said, "Nice to meet you; your mother brags about you all the time."

Mom. But what twenty-seven year old doesn't need to hear that once in awhile?

Did I tell you that my mother went to college at the same time I did, while working full time? Did I tell you she finished just a year and a half after I did? Did I tell you that the entire family went to her graduation and screamed and cheered for her? (Brother Mike also sporadically belted "SHE'S A LADY!" Which just killed us every time.) Did I tell you that she was offered the first coveted position she applied for at our local elementary school? Did I tell you she cried in the lobby of the bank when she got the call, because she had, at age 49, finally realized a lifelong dream?

Yes. Am very proud of her too.

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