Archive for April, 2010

Three more weeks

Friday, April 30th, 2010

                  Three more weeks of school.  I am relieved that another semester will be complete, as I struggle to complete my remaining assignments.  I am relieved that perhaps when the three weeks are done, that I can focus on my kids more and finally start spring cleaning.  Tomorrow my son takes his SATs, and it dawns on me that my son is almost an adult, he is only two and half years away from being the same age as I was when I had him.  Nineteen years old.  It is a surreal notion. 

                  Today I went shopping for summer clothes for my daughter after noticing that last year’s shorts had “hoochie mama” written all over them.  It was a remarkable visit to the store, she wanted to pick out her own clothes, which I happily gave in to as we were in Children’s Place and there was little to object to.  The other awakening moment was that she had somehow, when I wasn’t looking, grew into a size 10.  My baby is going to be a decade old in a year and a half. 

                I find myself attending college, an endeavor that I “should” have done almost two decades ago.  I have one child almost two decades old and another half that.  This I find surreal as well.  Is it like this for most teenage mothers?  I spent so much of his life wondering how we would survive to eighteen, it’s strange, now I wonder how I will survive eighteen and beyond.  I am not ready to be the back seat driver to a new adult. I will no longer make decisions that are negotiable but concrete, my ultimate outcome, a carefully balanced and thought through decision.  I have begun to practice this inevitable consequence of time, months that turn into years suddenly, as one awakens each day.  I begin to slowly dispense freedom and control to him, nudging the knowledge that he will make mistakes along the way.  I have to learn to trust in ways that I never anticipated. 

                Ultimately, it will occur, whether we are ready or not.  I am grateful that I have a decade for my daughter to be in the same place, but am painfully aware that in reality I have less time with her.  That seventh grade will welcome the infamous years of mother-daughter struggle of the teen years hasn’t escaped my consciousness. 

                In the end the windows, who am I kidding, the dirty dishes and the scattered clothes and toys on the floor, the dust that is breeding on my furniture and the constant pressure to put it all back into place, becomes less important when I begin to think about decades.  In a half a decade I will earn a bachelors degree, my son will do the same, and my daughter will be beginning high school. 

                It is the midst of achieving these milestones, which life happens, in the end becoming the memories that we look back on and smile.  Even while enduring three more weeks of school.

My First Writing Experience

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

                     Recently, in my creative writing course at school I was asked to write a story about my first writing experience.  The exercise invoked feelings that I had long pushed away in order to raise my children.  The dream of writing was such a strong desire when I was little girl.  While other children dreamed of becoming firefighters, baseball players and princesses, I dreamt of becoming a writer.  I wanted to write these wonderful stories where one could experience a different world, life or activity.  A story allowed me to soar away to wonderful places that I knew I may never visit.  In fourth grade my teacher, Mrs. Reese, allowed us to take our spelling words and make a story with them, instead of the boring meaningless sentences we normally had to construct.  We then, I think it was Fridays had to read them in front of the class. I was a nervous child, but I was courageous when I told my stories.     

My Spelling Stories

            Butterflies swarm in my nine-year old belly.  The hard wooden school desk chair beneath me suddenly feels cumbersome.  I smooth down the page in my black marble composition notebook, my words splatter across it in little girl hand.  The pungent smell of cafeteria food assaults the air. Mrs. Reese is about to call on another student, hands fly frantically in the air, “ooh ooh me, me!” echoes through the decorated classroom, bright alphabet letters and fourth grade drawings displayed on the walls.  I pray that the teacher doesn’t call on me.

            “Marc, please come to the front of the classroom and read your story.” she instructs. 

              Then when Marc is done a few children raise their hands, one little pigtailed girl calls out, “Let Jemile read next, we want to hear what happens next.” 

               Mrs. Reese looks over to me, her eyes grazing just above her heavy rimmed glasses; her curly brunette wig is slightly askew today, “Are you ready Jemile?” 

                I whisper, “Yes Mrs. Reese.” 

                This is what occurs every week, we take our spelling words and on Thursday we are told to take them and make a story with them.  My stories are serial, about a bear family, Mama Bear, Papa Bear, brother and sister Bear.  In my stories, my bear family does things my family would never do; they go camping, on vacations, they play games together and go to the beach.  They are also nice to each other and when the kids do something wrong the parents scold instead of hitting.  They are how I wish my family really was, like Laura Ingalls’s family in the Little House on the Prairie books I love to read so much. 

                   I walk up to the front of the cozy yet old classroom in my school, P.S. 176.  This is a new school, I used to go to P.S. 199, and the children still make me nervous although I have made many new friends.  My classmates are fidgeting in their seats, the monotony of the school day already falling upon their spirits.  My hands are shaking; a slight sound emerges from the paper crinkling within my tiny hands.  My shoes make a small squeaking sound as I rub them nervously in small circles on the white linoleum tiled floor.  I remove the strands of hair from my mouth that always seem to bother everyone, kids always asking me, “Why do you chew your hair?  That’s so weird, you’re a freak.”  However, now they want me to read, I can see they are in suspense as they gaze towards me anticipating what will happen next to brother and sister Bear, last week Papa Bear announced that they were going to get a pet and it would be a surprise.  Some of the kids asked me all week, what kind of pet would it be a dog, a cat, or a stupid boring goldfish.  I love writing, I hate speaking in front of the class.  Eyes stare at me, impatient and curious.  I read.