The blog has kind of gotten away from me this week. I’ve had a few posts planned, but my camera has been held hostage in my parents’ car. If I take some of our homebrew, they say I can have it back. But until I can get around to doing that, I thought I would just write.
Right now, I’m sitting at a coffee shop. My back is to the fire and there is a distinct Autumny feel in the air. It’s colder, there’s a sharp breeze. I can smell wood smoke from fires in the neighborhood.
I’m sharing a long, wooden table with two older women and a sharply dressed boy. They each have a copy of the New York Times crossword puzzle. They are discussing all the answers, and it’s one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever seen.
The boy is probably in middle school, but he acts much older. He has a dark plaid button up shirt, a charcoal vest, and a maroon necktie. He knows the answers for philosopher’s quotations, and other literature questions. He just asked one of the women for the definition of ‘iambic.’
I think a lot about what I can do for my kids that will help them turn out like this boy. There’s something that I do each time I substitute teach. I look at all the girls in the class and decide which ones I want Alma and Harriet to be like. It’s always the girls who are creative, funny, personable. The ones who are helpful and comfortable speaking with a grown-up. Not necessarily the most popular, or the ones with the best hair. One day I wrote down all the things that the good girls are like – they draw, they read, they participate, they volunteer, they have boy friends, but not boyfriends (although, a boyfriend like this crossword puzzle boy would be fine with me).
As Alma and Harriet grow up, I am learning more and more about their personalities. Alma is gregarious; she says hello to everyone and often invites them to come to our house. Harriet is more reserved, and very stubborn; she can throw an epic fit if she doesn’t get what she wants.
Another thing I do when I sub is try to find the girls who most remind me of my girls, and this isn’t always the same girl as the one I described above. For Alma, it’s usually the girl who is most like I was in middle school.
So far, I think that Alma is pretty much just like me – she looks like me, she acts like me. In middle school, I was a weirdo. I had lots of friends, but wasn’t the queen bee or anything. I liked musicals, dance, music, and boys. I danced around the hallways like a goofball. My locker was very ‘cultural’ – I had ticket stubs, postcards of Monet’s paintings – and I was very proud of this fact. I’m pretty sure Alma will be a lot like that.
I’m not as sure about Harriet yet. Granted, she isn’t talking much yet, so it’s a bit hard to guess what her personality will be. I imagine that her fits are a result of her inability to communicate. I also image that her stubborn streak will stay. That’s okay – there’s nothing wrong with a strong woman with strong opinions and convictions. Lean in, Harriet. I just need to make sure to encourage her to use her strength for good and noble causes.
Well, they just finished the puzzle. Them women congratulated the young man for his skillful participation. With that, I will bring this to a close. If you’re still reading, thank you for letting me ramble on. Have a great weekend!