Living in Memphis…

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My oldest son is a home owner… what?!?!? Now don’t get your hopes up about it being a grand place that you can go spend the night in just yet. As of right now, it has no bathroom, kitchen or even an attached front door. But what it does have is tons of potential and a pretty fantastic owner.

Will has essentially settled in Memphis Tennessee where he will be teaching the fourth grade in an inner city school starting this August. While I don’t love that he is going to be living nine hours away, I do love that he knows what he wants to do and is not afraid to do it. So now that he has his dream job, he decided the next item on his list was to buy a house. (Obviously, making a list of life goals is a first-born thing… being a youngest child myself, I never made a list of life goals, heck I don’t think I’ve ever made a list of anything other than groceries!!) But my Will is a quintessential oldest child. He makes lists and actually does the things on them… I know! How crazy is that?!?!?! So this amazing child who graduated from Georgia Tech in only four years (even though he changed his major and managed to be on the Dean’s list his last five semesters), got his master’s degree in one year (and somehow got not only the schooling paid for but also got a stipend to live on) now has a fabulous home right near his new school. Y’all, I could not be more proud of this guy. He was truly a joy to raise and even though he was our practice child for all intent and purposes, he turned out AMAZING and I only wish I had two more just like him (I kid, I kid! I’d take three more just like him….)

It came as no surprise to me when I was on the phone with him recently and I was teasing him about not getting to see him more often when his Wendy side came out. He quickly said “I’m just doing what you raised me to do MOM!!” Ahhhh…. How I love that boy!

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Toddlers, Ice Storms, and Sewing… OH MY!!

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So I headed up to see my Ansley this past weekend for what can only be called a sewing marathon. She wanted to learn to sew, I’ve been sewing for years and I’m always up for a trip to Nashville. We accomplished a lot- one set of curtains, one smocked top dress and one adorable polka dot jumper. What? You don’t think that’s a lot? Well did I mention that her three year old daughter and eighteen month old son were there but her hubby was not? So we were also tending to the needs of two toddlers one of whom had a stomach bug and the other who was teething. Yeah, now we’re looking like rock stars aren’t we?!?!

Our biggest problem was not the kids, in spite of how the felt, they were great! No the biggest problem we faced is the fact that I am absolutely the WORST teacher in the world. I sometimes had to train people back when I worked and they can attest that my mind does not go step by step. I see where we are, where we want to go and my mind just gets there… I can’t explain for the life of me how I got there… I just did. Yes, my math teachers loved this; the answer was always right but they wanted to know how I got it. For some reason, it always took them a while to realize that my mind truly went from the problem to the solution without needing the in between steps. Ooops! Anyway, that is how my mind works and it’s not great when trying to teach anyone anything. Poor Ans!!

Somehow we stumbled along just fine and by Monday when the ice storm tried to trap me in Nashville FOREVER we realized not only had we accomplished a ton but Ans learned to sew! I’d like to think it was my ability to transfer knowledge effortlessly but to be honest, it’s not really hard to sew when you have a pattern and can follow directions. Luckily Ans, being a first born, is an ace at following directions. Now don’t tell her but for the next few days I’m going to just sit in my house, enjoy the peace, relish the quiet and bask in the fact that my baby is nineteen.

Mrs. B Where Are You Now?

Mrs. B was my senior AP English teacher back in the last century. She was known far and wide (well, at least around Central High School) as not only a difficult teacher but one without any sense of humor. People please! Who doesn’t have a sense of humor?!?!?! Sarcasm has always been my love language, so I knew early on it was going to be a long year. My ace in the hole was my best friend Lynne who was a killer writer and I knew she’d do what she’d always done- rescue me!

Way back in the dark ages, you spent 90% of AP English writing essays and term papers. Now, I’ve always been a reader but back then no one would confuse me for a writer. I tried really hard to do what I was asked, spending hours writing paper after paper editing them over and over and over. It never failed to elicit a “C”… EVERY SINGLE TIME. I’m not trying to brag but some of those papers were pretty good. Way better than a “C”. So I came up with what I surmised was a GENIUS plan. I would write my paper, Lynne would write hers then we’d exchange papers, recopy them and turn them in. (I know, brilliant right?!?) Well it worked out just like we thought. Lynne received her normal “A+” and I received my normal “C”. But there arose a problem… we couldn’t tell Mrs. B what we’d done because then “F’s” would be had by all!! So my brilliance hit a snag and I realized that I would have to (GULP) talk with Mrs. B in order to find out why in her mind I was nothing more than a “C” student.

There are a lot of things in life I don’t like (mayo, tomatoes, poorly written books) but nothing more than confrontation. However, I knew I deserved better and wanting to get into a good college knew I had to do everything I could to raise my English average as high as possible. So I put on my big girl pants and asked her if we could talk. I’d love to tell you that she saw the light. That after I poured out my heart and soul she declared me to be the next Margaret Mitchell but alas it was not to be. She simply felt I had no talent as a writer and there was nothing I could do to improve.

WHAT??? What kind of teacher tells a student that not only do they have no talent, but no way to get better?? Mrs. B that’s who. But I’ll tell you this, I decided right then and there to prove her wrong. And you know what? As an adult, I think that was her plan all along. She knew me well enough to know that I loved a challenge and I would be determined to prove her wrong. She knew if she suddenly changed her mind and made me a “B” student I’d be content to never get any better, never try any harder and never be anything more than a mediocre writer at best. I’m sure some of you may think of me as less than stellar as a writer but I know that not only have I gotten better, I gained the confidence to find my God given love for writing.

So, Mrs. B, wherever you are now I hope you read this and think to yourself, that you were successful. Successful in helping me find my voice, successful in showing me that confrontation may not always be easy but is often necessary, successful in teaching a young girl that believing in herself is the greatest gift she can receive.

And for that I say, Thank you Mrs. B!!