Friday, May 18, 2012

We Are Nothing If Not Practical.

I think I've told this story here before, but when I was about 5 or 6 years old, I was IN LOVE with one of my brother's friends.  I mean, ALL CAPS-hearts and flowers-wanted to marry in love.  My mother tried to convince me that I was too young, but I wasn't having it.

Finally, she took me into the kitchen and stood me next to the stove.  I barely cleared the top of the range.  "Look," she said.  "When you're married, you have to cook for your husband.  You can't even reach the stove."

Huh.  Well.  Apparently, that satisfied me and I no longer wanted to rush down the aisle.

Recently, out of the blue, Punkin announced that she wasn't going to college.

"Really?" I asked.  "You don't HAVE to you know.  But it makes it a lot easier to get a job."

"Oh, I'm not going to get a job either," she blithely replied.

That's what you think, sister, I thought to myself. 

"What about that convertible you said you wanted," I reminded her.  "The black one with pink and purple flames?" (I can't WAIT to have that parked in my yard!) 

"How are you going to pay for gas to drive it?  You have to have money to buy gas to make your car run."

"Okay, I'll get a job."

Practicality, like stubbornness apparently, runs in the family I guess.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tales of a Third Grade Bubba

There is a lot I could write about Punkin here today.  A lot more about friendships and how to be a friend and girls and mean girls and what a wonderful thing it is to have a truly good friend, but it feels like too much and there's too much to say and right now it's all too jumbled in my head, so instead, I'm going to give y'all an update on Bubba.

Oh, Bubba.  My sweet, uncomplicated boy.

Many of y'all know we moved last year and Bubba started a new school.  He was a little nervous but I wasn't really because Bubba has never met a stranger and has always made friends easily.  He was placed in a class with all of the other Challenge students (i.e., the Gifted and Talented program.  Hey, I"m his mom.  I can brag) and boy has he thrived.  He's found his crew -- boys who like the same kinds of things he likes, read the same kinds of books he reads, boys who like to form the same types of clubs he does.  And these are good boys, too.  The girls are nice girls too, though Bubba will never admit to liking any of them.  I think we teased him a little too unmercifully the one time he admitted liking a girl and now I despair that he'll ever tell us the truth again (though I suspect that there might be one girl that he likes.  Just a little.)

Bubba started playing the drums this year.  He takes from a local guy who plays in a band (or a couple of bands, really) and he tells me that Bubba is actually pretty talented.  Bubba played a short piece for our church's talent show and he wasn't nervous a bit and loved all the attention.  He's even written his own music -- his teacher was blown away and said that he'd never had a student do that, especially not one Bubba's age.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook have already seen this video, but here's Bubba rockin' out.  Oh, I must tell you that he begged me to upload this to You Tube and vehemently objected to my titling this video "My Little Drummer Boy."  Only 9 years old and already managing his image.

Last year we could barely get Bubba to participate in his school's Accelerated Reader program.  This year  his reading has taken off.  I let him read the Harry Potter series (though I really wanted him to wait until he was just a bit older) and that sort of lit the fire.  His AR goal for the year was 32 points.  Guess how many AR points he has?  Go on, guess.  648.  Six.Hundred.Forty.Eight.  The Librarian told him it was a school record.  She estimates that he's read 4 million words this school year. 

Lest you think that all he does is read, he's also become an avid video gamer.  He got a Kindle Fire for Christmas and his favorite hobby is watching stupid silly Annoying Orange YouTube videos and downloading apps.  He's sold his PS2 and all his games and is saving up for a PS3 because it has "better graphics."  Uh, ok. 

Now it hasn't been all smooth sailing.  Bubba is 9 now and is starting to test the boundaries just a little.  He's had a few friendship issues that he's had to navigate, but all in all, Bubba's doing just fine.

And thank God, too.  Mama needs one uncomplicated child. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Take a Moment

The other day as I was leaving work, some crows in a tree above my head were going crazy.  There must have been at least 4 of them and they were hopping up and down on the branches and cawing like crazy.  I looked a little closer and there, nestled among the branches, was a hawk.  A BIG hawk.

The crows must have finally gotten to him (her?) because all of a sudden, the hawk took off.  It wasn't very high up in a tree to start with and when it took flight, it felt like it swooped right over my head.  I might have even ducked.  I was near the bus stop on campus, which was crowded with students.  Do you know that not one single person looked up to watch the drama that was being played out above our heads?

Since then I've seen the hawk three times.  I don't think he's necessarily my spirit guide, like Sarah's (though I *love* the idea of this).  I mean, nothing super awesome has happened after I've seen him.  I just love the fact that this hawk, this beautiful animal, has made his home on North Campus.  I love this little bit of nature in the middle of town.  Hawks are probably tied with owls as my favorite bird and I'm thrilled every time I see him.

This morning it was the crows that again tipped me off to his presence.  Again, I was the only one who saw him.  I wanted to stop and yell out "Look everybody!  Look at that beautiful bird.  Look at this beautiful world we live in."

In the words of Ferris Bueller, life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Friendship: It's harder than it looks

Recently I was talking to a friend about Punkin and her seeming lack of social skills and her self-reported lack of friends at school.  "I just don't think she knows how to be friends" I said.  I've watched her interact with kids in our neighborhood and she just seems...lost.

And I realized over the weekend that the apple truly doesn't fall far from the tree.  I don't know how to be friends either.   I mean, I DO, but I don't feel like I'm good at it.

There have been some times when my feelings have been hurt when I wasn't included in something.  I was talking to Mr. Daddy about it and he said "Well, you haven't really been making any effort.  YOU don't reach out to THEM."  And I realized he was right.

I think some of it goes back to some events in elementary and middle school when a group of girls was mean to me.  That was one of the most painful periods of my life and I think has led to a continued distrust of most females.  It's very difficult for me to let my guard down and be friendly.  I always wonder in the back of my mind, "Do they really like me?"  You'd think after 20+ years I'd be able to let that stuff go.  Not so much, as it turns out.

But I was also never one to talk on the phone as a teenager.  I never asked for a phone in my room.  If my friends called, I'd chat for a moment and then say "I gotta go."  I was always comfortable spending time alone (except for that brief period in college to which we will not refer at this time.  ahem.)

I don't know what it is.  I just get home from work and sort of cocoon into my family.  I think this has been made worse recently by the fact that I'm tired and overwhelmed with work and all of my responsibilities.  I've been working on learning to say no  and some of the pressure feels like it's lessening.

This is not to say that I don't have friends.  I do.  But as I texted back to a friend the other day, I just feel like I haven't been a very good one.   And to all those people who are my friends, this time that old cliché is true.  It's not you.  It's me.