Sunday, March 28, 2010

Parting is such sorrowful sorrow

It was hard to leave Mom.

I mean, in the last chemo treatment, Mom mentioned that she was hit hard the day after and then the third day after, but this time, the day after, she seemed hardly affected at all, so I was just pleased as punch, thinking that two days later when I would fly out, things would be peachy keen.

They weren't, not for Mom, that day. The chemo hit her hard on the third day, and she put up a brave front, but she pretty much had to go back to bed, because that's what she did do. She asked if Sissy, her cousin, could take me to the airport instead of Mom going with us, and I countered that I was going to suggest that to her. This eased her worry a bit, but I hurt, leaving her in this state, and I think she hurt, having me leave.

Then the American Airlines debacle consumed the rest of the day.

It wasn't a pleasant travel experience for me, going home, and I gave a blow-by-blow on my tweets (late flight from Lake Charles AP (that had free internet? Wow!), two gate changes and a terminal change at Dallas/Ft Worth AP, at the last minute, and back to the terminal from whence I deplaned? So I spent the whole layover at a sub par terminal only to have to race to the terminal where I started?) but what I didn't cover in my tweets was that I was the lucky one: there were three American Airline gates of long lines of angry customers whose flights had been canceled for one reason or another. Looking at Mommies with strollers trying to get another flight? Ick. But then, on the other side of the counter? Remind me not to apply to be a flight attendant or ticketing/gate attendant. They took all this heat and anger from (justifiably) irate customers, customer after customer, with sympathy and a smile, where it wasn't even their fault. Our airline stewardess, Tricia, a lady of a certain age, had a very sweet smile that I complimented, and she admitted that it had been a very long day, for when I deplaned from that flight, there was a long line of people waiting to get on the plane, again, for we had landed late, again, so we were running to get off the plane as others were rushing to get on.

We say: "Say thanks to our service men and women," and, indeed, we should, but there's whole sectors of service people we take too much for granted, like Rachael, my waitress at TGI Fridays at Dallas AP trying to get the meals out to many, many people gulping down their meals before skyhopping, and I mentioned Tricia and the gate attendants getting all that heat.

But then there's a whole 'nother category that Mom and I talked about at length at McDo's as I ate my single (not double) fish fillet.

School teachers.

I mean, we homeschool, so you would think I have nothing to say on the matter, nor possibly nothing good, and perhaps, reading my following screed, well ...

Well, we get our school supplies from somewhere(s), and several of the 'somewheres' is that Diane has more than three close friends who are public and parochial school teachers, and I, myself, once looked at becoming a parochial school teachers, and I have to say the following.


I mean, do you know how much we pay our school teachers? I do, and it's a simple thing for you to look up and find out. But do you know this? 'Underpaid school teachers' is only one problem of the more than few problems that face educating our children today. But even that: what does it mean? It means, we, the people, pay our teachers so little because that is the value we place on education ... on our children's education ... on our children.

But the problem is endemic.

For not only are our teachers paid a pittance, but then, in the DC area, and I hear, too, in California, there's not enough in the budget to procure essential school supplies for our teachers to teach with (hand outs, posters, chalk/dry erase pens, erasers) or for our children to learn with (pencils, pens, crayons, paper, notebooks, ... books ... books as required by the curriculum). So what do teachers do? In Diane's friends' case, and I hear elsewhere, they take money from their salary, and go buy the supplies themselves.

And so Diane's friends own a lot of school supplies, including text books, which they have bought from their own lack.

And here's the thing, they, these school teachers and principals, are so generous. So, for example, Diane and I get more than a bit of our home schooling materials from teachers and principals that Diane has as friends, including text books, all for free and primarily due to the generosity of spirit that these teachers have (recall, that we, as homeschoolers, can very easily be viewed as 'the enemy' by traditional educators).

But it doesn't stop there. Be a foreigner here. Like from the Philippines. Try imparting your culture and its values to your children here. What happens? It gets drowned out by the message that every interaction here has, playing with playmates, (not) watching the TV, etc, etc, etc. So somebody decided to set of a school to do just that, taught on Sundays (if you are thinking 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' you are right on the money).

Who teaches these classes?


The public/parochial school teachers. On Sunday. After a very full work week doing exactly that.

And who creates these classes, right down to the pedagogy?

Yes, again. The school teachers, spending hours each week to impart their culture in novel and interesting ways.

And who buys the supplies, paper, pencils, handouts, and snacks like juice brix, cookies, and chips, nutribran bars? Every week?

But what do these teachers get in parent-teacher conferences? A hug? A 'good job'? A 'thank you'?

Maybe they should? If you know a school teacher ... and if you have kids, I think you may ... maybe you can do that? Go to school and set up a parent-teacher conference just to say 'thank you'? Where 'parent-teacher conference' is the real deal, or taking them out to lunch/supper, or something?

I do try to say please and thank you to the people who provide me service, and this day of travel yesterday, seeing these people put up with all this pressure, but keeping their cool?

Thank God! and ... thank them for doing jobs I'd really rather not do myself.

So, yes, I made it home, with my baggage, even through a rather difficult and trying travel day, and it's thanks to people who helped me to get where I was going.

And, so now I am home, and I could complain, I guess, how my entire Sunday was just shot with not even playing catch-up, but playing 'unpack'-church-hospital run, but I won't.

Nobody likes a complainer, not even the person complaining.

Besides, I got to give and to receive lovely hugs with my cara spoza and my darling daughers.

... AND I gave Diane back rubs that helped her relax into sleep (sorry, I just had to put that in there)

And I got to spend a little time with Dad and Jan and try to make him coffee and watch him play with the girls.

And I got to visit Mike and Malou and my just born god-son Michael David Wuerthele.

And I got to breathe, and to compose a summary of my day, that is I had the breath in me, and the cognitive and physical capacity to do these things, and the material available that allowed me to, and in that regard, I am so very blessed. And that is the case in many areas in my life: I am so very blessed.

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