Mr. Gus took me into his office and all along the way I asked “whose parent is it?” but he wouldn’t answer me directly or kept saying that “he didn’t know.” I could hear a loud and angry voice on the other end of the line, but could only hear one side of the conversation, and what I could hear didn’t make any sense. When he finally let me have the phone, I asked “Who is this?”
I asked him to keep in touch. I gave him a few blank cards with self-addressed, stamped envelopes, and he already knew my e-mail. Unsurprisingly, I never heard from him, but I thought of him from time to time, particularly when seeing recruiting advertisements.
So today, when he knocked on the door (a respectful, mature knock – not the frantic, overly loud, knocking of hurried, entitled, discourteous students) and I opened the door to see him standing in the hall in his full Army Combat Uniform, my eyes teared up.
I exclaimed, “Look at you!” as if I were a grandmother seeing a long distance child relative for the first time in years, and as I asked his permission I opened my arms to give him a hug which he happily accepted and returned in kind.
“You look taller – it’s your posture.”
He blushes and smiles the same wide, genuine smile that he’s always possessed, “Everyone keeps telling me that.”
“I heard that you are going to be stationed in Korea. Are you excited?”
“Aw man, who told you?”
“A____ told me – he came by on Friday. He’s in town before going back to base in Missouri; I’m sorry that he stepped on your good news to share.”
He shrugs, “It’s okay. And yes, I’m excited. I’m getting out of the country for a while, and at a good time, if you know what I mean.”
I nod.We continue this way for several minutes, my asking him questions to allow him to share about himself in a way that makes him feel like he’s answering questions and not bragging, but it’s clear that my class is no longer engaged in their activity and are intently eavesdropping.”I’ve got to get back to my students, but I am so very glad that you came to see me today. Will you forward me your address once you’re settled so that I can send you goodies from home?”
“Sure, Miss, I still have your e-mail.”
I give him another hug, and as I turn to go he calls my attention again.
As I look back, he snaps me a proper hand salute, executes an about face, and walks toward the office.
Reentering my room, my tears will not be withheld any longer, and I go to my desk to grab some tissues.
In its heyday, I was extremely active in keeping an unfiltered and uncensored LiveJournal. (I was young and headstrong, so emphasis on the uncensored part…) There, I catalogued my personal ups and downs and mainly used it as a safe space for therapeutic journalling. For professional reasons, I removed it from the public sphere once I began my journey to becoming a teacher and as other social media websites gained popularity I abandoned my LJ entirely.
After that, Facebook became my writing outlet, mostly in the form of short posts, and when the mood struck, longer notes, but it was never well-organized or purposeful in terms of presenting an ongoing narrative or memoir. And once again, over time, I began limiting my audience and removing myself from the public eye in order to maintain a professional appearance for the sake of my occupation and the scrutiny that comes with such a public responsibility.
The one constant among all of my online rantings, ravings, and musings is the encouragement from family and friends to make it more public, to share it with more people who might find it amusing or helpful in some way. (And, if I’m being honest, I’m far more likely to write when I know that I’m being read and when I feel like I’m being heard.) It’s time to come out of my cave and present my stone tablets for others to read and discuss.
So who am I? Why should you read my blog and why should you come back?
I’m an educator working at a Charter high school in Detroit. My day-to-day in the classroom is a combination of every made-for-television special about urban schools with suburban teachers and National Geographic’s Wild Kingdom, crossed with the love child of The Office and Parks and Rec. No, I’m not exaggerating.
I’m a working mom trying to balance the insane emotional, mental, and physical requirements of both my teaching life and my parental life while simultaneously finding time for my partner and our marriage. It’s a lot like juggling raw eggs – when I’m in a rhythm it seems effortless and everything flows together, but if I stumble even a little bit, it’s a stinky mess.
I’m a Jewish convert still learning about what being Jewish means to me and trying to raise two children with love and respect for all faiths while instilling in them a strong foundation of Jewish ideals and spiritual rituals. The most important to me being the concept of tikkun olam, which loosely translates from Hebrew to English as “repair the world” and is rooted in the concepts of social justice and human compassion and kindness.
I’m a woman possessed with making her mark in a positive and lasting way and I can’t do that without reaching out to more people and in more ways. I need you to help fulfill my mission.
So there it is: a beginning. I’m looking forward to responding to comments and meeting new people through this blog, and I hope that you enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them.