Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Very Pleasant Little Break

Through middle school, I always volunteered in the schools the girls were attending, and usually in their classrooms. (Mothers become more of a social liability by middle school, so it was important for me to be less visible then.) When Kearney was in first grade, I arrived as usual one day to discover that she wasn’t in the room. Upon inquiring, I was told that she was at the principal’s office again. This was the first I’d heard of any visits to the principal but the news had been delivered in such a matter-of-fact way that I waited until we had retrieved her after school to pursue the topic. Neither Michael nor I had ever spent time in the principal’s office, and certainly not in grade school, so we were taken aback.

As background, we’d always stressed to our girls that an imperative of going to school was following the directives of adults, even if those were perceived as unfair or unjust. We stressed that they should follow the directions, and if there was a problem, we’d take it up later and go back to the school and advocate for them. These directions were rooted in our experience that our girls were completely capable of full-blown, stubborn defiance when their senses of justice were offended. They come by this trait honestly, but we do know that it’s not as generally appreciated in the world as by us, so we were trying to find balance.

Anyway, when we asked Kearney what she was doing in the principal’s office, she earnestly told us not to worry, that it was all very fair. What was fair, we inquired? Well, she said, “the teacher told me what not to do and what she would do if I did it anyway, and I did it and so did she. It was all very fair.” We were at a loss for words.

Changing tacks, we asked what happened when she went to the principal’s office? Well, she said, she and Mr. Bodine had visited about various matters. How did she feel about that, we asked? Oh, she said airily, “it’s a very pleasant little break in the day.” She quite enjoyed their chats, she said. We changed the rules after that, so that she wasn’t eligible to go play after school at anyone’s house on days she’d had a visit with Mr. Bodine, on the theory that we sent her to school to learn, not to visit. Kearney thought that wasn’t necessary or appropriate, but she never went to the principal’s office during the day again. It was an interesting lesson in childrearing for us, and the saying passed into our family discourse, changing context and meaning along the way. By now, it’s just a thing we say about nice things, unexpectedly so or not.

This Thanksgiving was terrific. Both girls were here, we had our traditional potluck dinner with dear friends of many years’ standing, we did a puzzle, read books, sat by the fire and visited, played Bananagrams, and generally had a very pleasant little break. We hope you did, too.

I’m down to two days a week with no steroids at all, and many of the most irritating constant symptoms are receding, though not the lightheadedness, at least not completely. On the other hand, I’m learning to manage it better, so it’s not nearly as vexing as it was at the beginning. While I didn’t have to exert myself particularly on the days without a dose, I wasn’t a total loss either day, so that’s encouraging.

On a completely different note, there’s a student house across the street from us that has a huge screen TV we can see from our kitchen. The screen, though, from our distance, has a large flicker, like we’re seeing the refresh rate, the way you would in a tv show that was filmed on video. It’s constantly surprising to us how all that we see is the flicker. Does anyone know why we might be seeing that effect from across the street?

Here's to a great upcoming week. For me, it starts at a full run and then gets calmer as the days pass. Whatever yours brings you, I send you good thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. That's a great story! Thanks for sharing it.