Thursday, August 14, 2008

being present

This weekend it's my mom who has the kids. She picked them up this morning. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the house without them here - is that when they're gone, I'm much nicer to the cat.

It's almost school time again, and I'm kind of obsessed with the thought. This is a picture of Drew his first year of school. See how his hands are behind his back, and his lips puckered as if he's blowing bubbles? That's his Tiger tail and bubbles position they use to help the kids be orderly in the hallways.

My friend Lori drug me to a PTC meeting this week. I say "drug" because I know she reads this. I was actually thrilled that I went, and I plan to go the rest of the year as well. (PTC - Parent Teacher Club). I read a terrible story yesterday about one of the worst cases of neglect ever uncovered in this country. Millions of emotional, logical miles from any of our own lives. And yet, I can't help thinking about some of the tiny ways I neglect my kids sometimes. When I think about school this year, my obsession is in how little a parent actually has to do and still at the end of the year find that their child has learned. I graduated from an intimate, private school. My children go to public. And with both systems, I have seen that you can be barely present in your child's school world, and they still get educated. The school system I send my children to is especially diligent with reading. I can't believe the way my kids have taken off with it. And they're boys. I've always heard it's harder to get them to enjoy reading. But my middle son read two chapters of Joshua in the bible the other night without breaking a sweat. It's exciting to me. And as school starts this year, I keep thinking, I want to be more present this year. I don't want to get to the end of the year and realize they grew by leaps and bounds despite me. I think it started at the beginning of the summer actually. At the library the other day, my sons had videos picked out, and I told them they had to get two books each. A young friend asked my son why they had to do that, and (in front of his principal who happened to be standing there), John said, "Because my mom wants us to read this summer." That was awesome. It made me feel very present.  (And, yea, I totally owe him for making me look good).

So I keep thinking about these things. How I want a better system for the five thousand papers they each come home with every week. How I want to be at more of their parties, stay late on the morning they get to say the pledge in the intercom system - stuff like that. It's my current obsession.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go tuck in the cat.


Bonnelle Pagel said...

You are a really great mom!

Adam Gonnerman said...

My kids are going to public school this year. Only my daughter ever experience public school before, and it was a bad year. I have reservations, but the school district where we live now has a very good reputation, so I have hope. You are right, though. It seems to take very little effort to get kids through the school year.

Oddly enough, it's my son who loves to read (he's six) and my daughter who has to be forced to do it.

Anonymous said...

I can really relate to this Seren. Countless times I've had thoughts of, thank you teacher, for teaching Derek that math trick. Or thank you teacher, for teaching him how to build an excel spreadsheet (um and can you now teach ME that). I didnt have to do anything. He came home, knowing this new thing. I'm very grateful for that.

Valerie said...

You should definitely bake John some cookies or something. And I had some of the same convictions for this year. I want to read more books together, do the room mom thing more, and make sure we never forget show and tell. Are those goals too lofty?