Wednesday, November 9, 2011

hop, hop, hop

last night, a truly amazing thing happened.
i picked up my kiddos and headed to the house after work. that's the normal everyday stuff. keep reading. the girl had some homework, and since daddy was cooking, we decided to go ahead and tackle it before we all got sleepy. this was her first REAL homework assignment.

but i guess you need the back story to fully appreciate this amazing-ness. here goes...
a few weeks ago, i had a parent/teacher conference with the fabulous Ms. W, my girl's kindergarten teacher. it was a general meeting in which the kindergarten teachers would meet with each student's parent to discuss their child's report card and their child's progress or lack there of to date. the same day this was to occur, the little man had surgery. so this mama was tired and emotional, to say the least. i walked in the door, terribly early for once in my life so i had to sit in the office until my appointment time. now i'm feeling like a kid in trouble and i began to wonder:
 am i old enough to be doing this?
 am i mature enough to accept the outcome of this meeting?
 what if all this time, all this time, i've been convinced my child was 'gifted' and more  intelligent than any other child her age and it was simply a mother's deluded vision of her child?
 will i get the wind knocked out of me if there's an observation made by the teacher i didn't plan on hearing?
 am i ready for this?

these questions continue to swirl around in my mind as i head to the gym. i'm surprising my girl and picking her up this day. she's excited to see me but confused, nonetheless. she asked why i was there and i remind her it's parent/teacher conference day. i get her settled in the hallway with the help of Ms. W's puzzle and shut the door to the room. my palms are sweating now and my knees are shaking a bit. i take a seat across the table from the teacher. it's time to begin.

we discuss Norie's report card, she asks if i have any questions. she shows me some 'characters' N had written the first day of school and then follows up with what the 'characters' should have been: the alphabet. my head starts spinning again. she continues to show me things from the beginning of the year but now, she's showing me the exact same exercises from a week before. my girl's progress was inspiring.
my girl, she was four when she started kindergarten. now my head is tingling, hairs standing on awe of my child. a few more items are brought up for discussion and the teacher informs books will be going out in the next few weeks for guided reading to be done at home. i'm all for it, anything i can do to help.

Ms. W says there's one more thing she'd like to share with me before continuing. she turns around, grabs a small book, looks squarely into my eyes and i see hers are twinkling. i seriously don't know what is going on at this point. she lays the book in between us with the words facing me. she explains that earlier this week, N, read this very book i was looking at in the very chair i was sitting in at this very moment. i felt as if rays of light were coming out of Ms. W at this point and missed a few words that came out of her mouth. but, what i heard next was even more delicious. my girl headed back to her table to sit with her tablemates after getting praise and exclaimed with joy "Y'all I just read a book. I've been waiting my WHOLE LIFE to read!"

shut the front door.
my heard be still.
oh my ghandi.
is this for real?

i cried. sitting right there in that very chair at that very table my girl had experienced such magical joy and i cried some more. Ms. W, she got teary eyed, too, all because of my girl.
all of those questions i had before, doubts, anxiety-gone.
i shouldn't have even gone there.
i should have known better.

now, that very first book she read was only a few pages long. but it doesn't matter one bit. SHE READ A BOOK PEOPLE! the only sadness i felt was that i didn't experience it in the moment my girl did.

back to last night.
the guided reading book was her homework; it was ten pages long. the book's title was 'hop, hop, hop'
and you know what? she nailed it. every single word, no help, no prompts, no nothing.
SHE READ THE WHOLE BOOK! i squealed with excitement, squeezed her, kissed her, high-fived her face (i was going for her hand, but i missed!), squealed some more, did the happy dance and kissed her sweet cheeks until she begged for mercy.
i was there. i saw this happen. i watched that beautiful grin burst throughout her entire body.

we were up almost an hour after bedtime last night.
me and my girl.
reading books, together.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


i've been quite nostalgic lately.
well, more so than usual.
tomorrow, my precious sister, Kris, will celebrate her birthday.
it also would have been my great-grandmother's birthday; better known as Mamaw.

Mamaw was a wonder of a human being.
she was smart, she was funny, she was kind.
she 'got her hair done' at the beauty shop; once a week if i remember correctly.
i can't remember her ever driving without the passengers being scared for their lives.
she used the dishwasher for storage. you know, cause bread and other dry goods keep so much better in a dishwasher.
there was always a crystal candy dish with my favorite orange slices on the table in between her and Grandaddy's recliners in the tv room.
she let me explore, wander, plunder, make things, cut things, climb trees, make forts...her house was like a secret passageway into kid heaven.
the first memory i have of cooking is with her. homemade dumplings. i cannot even explain with words how luxurious those dumplings were.
she even let me eat the uncooked ones. but only if i was really good.
there was always shredded coconut in the fridge and i had to sneak it out a pinch at a time or she would fuss.
her front porch was screened in and full of plants.
she loved begonias.
i get white and pink ones every year just because of her.

i loved her smile, her funny voice, her southern drawl, her love for my Grandaddy.
she had these arms that were so magical to me when i was little cause the underside of them felt like velvet.
and she never got mad when i kept trying to trace them with my tiny fingers.

Grandaddy was waited on hand and foot when she was around.
heck, all of us really. and if you offered to help, she'd pretend to let you when really she was doing it all.
she made sure Grandaddy had coffee and cake everyday. as it was his most favorite past time, coffee and cake.
i learned the art of playing 'wheel of fortune' in her lap; but only if i didn't block the tv.

its been a while now since she's been gone.
i wish with every ounce of my being she could have been at our graduations, weddings and birth of her great great grandchildren.
i love her still so very deeply.
i see her sometimes in my dreams.
i hope, one day, i'll live to see the day when my children's children have babies.
so they can call me Mamaw.
and i can love them as fiercely as she loved us.
Happy Birthday in Heaven, Mamaw.
we love you everyday.