ella_menno: (life by emmavescence)
My kids aren't back to school until Monday, but the school where I work has been back in session since this past Tuesday. It makes for some confusing conversations.

Last year, I was the assistant in the split 4th/5th grade, in addition to part-time library coordinator and part-time 'tutor,' for lack of a better word. This year, it looks like I'll be spending the majority of my day in the preschool room, where there are 14 kids. (It's supposed to be limited to 4 year olds, but the principal admitted five 3 year olds. It's amazing what a world of difference that one year makes.)

I'm finding it both enjoyable and exhausting. It's easy to forget how *needy* children are at that age - and I don't mean that as a negative, at all; they SHOULD be needy! - but it does take its toll. Add to that a whole bunch of "I've never been away from Mom before" jitters, and you end up with lots of tears and snot.

I want to tell you about one little girl in particular. She's three, and she comes to us on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Let's call her Gigi.

Her first day (she came on Tuesday, as it was the very first day and we had some special stuff going on) went pretty well. She wasn't entirely in love with the idea of Mom leaving, but was interested enough in all the other goings-on that the time was up before she could get too upset about it.

Wednesday, however, was different. She came in crying; Mom finally left with Little Brother (and I'm sorry, I know it's part of the job, but I find it incredibly difficult to encourage a parent to stop comforting his/her child and walk away - it feels like a horribly invasive thing to do), and Gigi sat on Teacher's lap.

Well, after a few minutes, Teacher got up to attend to some of the other kids, and Gigi kind of lagged behind her, when BOOM! Out of nowhere, she made a break for it. She was just gone - out the door and down the hall, running far faster than I thought a bite-sized three year old kid could run.

Gigi made it past all the classrooms, past the main office, past the principal's office, and into the lobby of the church before I caught up with her. When I reached her, I just *grabbed* - getting hands-on with the kids is a sketchy business these days, unfortunately, but she'd easily have gone straight into the parking lot.

Once I had her, I swung her up to hold her next to me. She was really crying - not the angry, wailing type crying, but the "help me for my heart is breaking" sobbing. In her soft little-girl voice, she kept repeating "I want my Mommy. I want my Mommy." Over, and over, and over again.

And yes, my heart was breaking a little bit, too, as I carried her back to class. Yet I kept thinking: what an incredibly brave thing to do. Think about it: you're three years old, and the person who's been the center of your entire life brings you to a mostly-unfamiliar place, and then leaves.

It's so normal and expected for kids to have problems with that at first (and just as normal, though much easier, for kids to separate with no issues!) - but how often do you have a kid that young with the presence of mind to think, okay, there's the door Mommy went out of - if I can get through it and go fast enough, maybe I can catch up to her and we can go home.

Reading over this makes me want to draw comparisons to my own life: how much easier it is to just sit down and cry over things that make me unhappy, when maybe I could get up and run through a (metaphorical) door and at least try to change my situation.

ella_menno: (lament)
I am shaking very hard. It is difficult to type.

I spent a long time - years, really - searching for the "true" religion.

In the 8th grade, I was confirmed in the Lutheran church. During my interview with the pastor, I was asked why it was necessary to attend church services.

My answer? "It isn't."

I then explained that according to the religion as I understood it - as I had been taught by Sunday School teachers since before I entered kindergarten - what mattered was a person's personal relationship with Christ. That, to me, meant that there was no need, no requirement for a Christian (or, at least, one identifying as Lutheran) to attend services.

Given the pastor's reaction to my answer ("Of course you need to attend church! Because....um....."), I thought that perhaps I'd better go looking for a religion that made some sense.

From ninth grade through my junior year of college, I studied churches and religions. Read about them, attended services offered by a variety of denominations. And then I studied some more.

After this time, after reading about the Reformation and the (many) reasons for it, I still came to the conclusion that the Catholic church was, truly, The Church Christ Established. The papacy was founded by Christ and Peter was the first Pope; all the moral laws, guidelines, requirements were in place for a reason. Granted, I personally might not understand the reasons: yet I was okay with that.

Again, to my way of thinking: as a parent, I tell my kids not to play in the street. It's a rule, and one I expect them to follow. When they get old enough, they'll understand why, the reason - but until they do, I simply expect them to obey the rule because I KNOW BETTER.

God is my Father; therefore, I will listen to him, even if I disagree with the rule. Which is overly simplified, but was the way I felt about God's authority.

And as I believe(d) that the Catholic church and its administration - the Pope, the Vatican, the bishops - were the true representatives, the human face of Christ on Earth, I obeyed their teachings. Even if one (or several, or many) of the Church's priests and bishops were wrong, or did wrong, or covered up for their brethren who did wrong, I still felt the institution itself - the Church - was right. That it was the "highest earthly authority in matters of faith, morality and Church governance."

I attended Mass. Matter of fact, I was at Mass on Friday (First Friday devotions, you know.) I work at a Catholic school. I send my three children to Catholic school.

And now there is this: A senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication of the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion in Brazil after being raped [by her stepfather].

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Catholic church's Congregation for Bishops, told the daily La Stampa on Saturday that the twins the girl had been carrying had a right to live.

I can barely express how this makes me feel. Sick, physically sick. Hurt. Embarrassed. Stupid. Wrong. Betrayed. Violated.

Oh, and angry. Very, very angry.

How can I go to work tomorrow? How can I continue to send my babies to a school that is governed by these kinds of people?

How can I call myself Catholic anymore? And why - please, God, tell me why - would I want to?
ella_menno: (life i love)
The scene:

I am sitting on the sofa next to Michael, age 6. We are looking over a list of words containing the vowel sets of {a}, {a_e}, {ai}, and {ay}; Michael is telling me if each word uses a "short A" or a "long A."

ME: *points* What is this word?

MICHAEL: Lllllll...lll...lack....llllaaaaake. Lake! It's lake!

ME: That's right. Is "lake" a short A word or a long A word?

MICHAEL: Long A! 'Cause it sounds like aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

ME: Very good. *points* Now try this word.

MICHAEL: *furrows brow* Rrrrrrrrrrrrr...rrraaaaaaaaaaaaac...raaaaaaaaack...no, that's not right. Rrrrake? Rake?

ME: Yes! That word is 'rake.' Is 'rake' a short A word or a long A word?

MICHAEL: Shhhhh...long. *brightens* Hey! Shhh-long! Schlong!

ME: *giggles*

MICHAEL: Schlong, schlong, schlong, schlong! That's my answer for everything!

ME: *gives up, falls off sofa laughing*
ella_menno: (strange girls)
More of my seemingly endless quest to figure out who I am and what I believe, this time in chunky list form.

I don't feel quite right sending this out into the world without noting that all opinions herein are just that - opinions. Don't be surprised if you find sentences that seem to contradict other sentences. I'm trying to figure all this stuff out myself.


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REETCHICK or, the intersection of fandom, sex, motherhood, marriage, homeschooling, and idiosyncrasies.

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I don’t know who I am. I’m not sure I’ll ever know who I am.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I think I’m starting to know who I want to be.


Follow the link to download “Living Prayer” by Alison Krause and Union Station:


quote in subject line from Richard Bach
ella_menno: (Default)
I've been trying for ever so long to summarize my beliefs on education, and tonight I stumbled across this:

"I did not know how to write; at least not know how to write fiction! So, what I did [was,] I went back to the library. I thought about taking a class in creative writing, but I've been taking enough classes to know that, number one, while a teacher can be wonderful to guide you and to direct you, everybody teaches themselves. You have to learn anything that you learn ...yourself."
(from an interview with Jean Auel, January 7, 1986; emphasis mine.)

Interesting, that.
ella_menno: (nitwitblubber)
1. Bedroom carpet: peed on (thanks, Daisy)
2. Weather: rainy
3. Fan/AC/vent/whatever: still broken
4. Oldest child: sullen about poor performance in math
5. Youngest child: in love with Buzz and Woody
6. Middle child: on-track to juvenile delinquent-hood
7. Hair: uncooperative and frizzy
8. Potential art teacher: hasn't responded to email
9. Lunch: probably leftovers
10. Attitude: better than one would expect, given the circumstances.


ella_menno: (Default)

December 2011

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