Wednesday, January 7

You Work Today?

When we decided to put the kids in Two Way Bilingual Immersion (Spanish), we knew things would be different in some ways for our kids in Kindergarten. Most parents I respect in the neighborhood opposed the program at our school -- it made me sad to challenge them with my own beliefs on my children receiving a bilingual education. I listened to every argument from my wise, experienced friends, and, in the end, still supported the program.

I knew, for example, that it was very likely that my children would not be taught to read English until 3rd Grade (Thing 1 is reading now in English on a 2nd grade level and reading Spanish 1 books); we knew that our kids would be put in class with the less fortunate kids; we knew our test scores wouldn't help the school any. Hard decision, to say the least. We went for it.

What we were not expecting were lessons that have taught not just Thing 1 and Thing 2, but have taught me and LaGringa some lessons in humility and grace that everyone could use a shot of every now and again.

Every day when I drop the kids off, one mom asks me, "You Work Today?" and every day, I say, "No," (slightly embarrassed). Every day she says, "Maee-bee-tomorrow," encouraging me. I don't have the nerve to tell her I don't work by choice, that we can afford for me to not work, that I am occasionally "consulting" -- WTF is consulting to her?

Every day I reply, "Are you working today?" And every day she tells me about her night. She cleans office buildings in the middle of the night while her child sleeps with a neighbor. She returns home in time to see him wake, make him breakfast, take him to school. After she drops him, she sleeps for 3 1/2 hours. Then she is there, at the gate waiting for him to get out of school. She walks. No car.

Today I peeled into the school parking lot to drop the Things a bit late. She saw my car and said, "You are working now! You have a CAR?!" Her sincerity brought me to tears. She had believed that because I walk the kids to school that I didn't have a car and, she thought, like her, it was hard to get work with no car. She was thrilled for me.

I watched my girlfriends leave the lot in the Volvos, Lexus SUVs and the beloved Honda Odysseys, en route to the grocery store, gym, yoga, coffee with a girlfriend. This woman looked at me so kindly as she walked back toward home and said, "Now maybe you work today!"

I will work today. I will work on remembering how blessed I am.

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Grandma Judy said...

Great blog today. Everyone should read it and then think about how lucky most of us still are even with the economic situation.