After a long walking tour yesterday that included a climb up to the castle that my post pandemic body was not prepared for, (note to self—rejoin the gym) we enjoyed a leisurely dinner and then decided to take in some local culture by going to a Fado club.
Fado is the local type of music (think the blues) which I cannot really describe musically because I don’t really know much about music. But, I will just say that years ago my daughter took a class where she learned how to show emotion through song, and all these singers would’ve aced that class.
Anyway, I know about one word in Portuguese, and “Amar” came up a lot, but never, it seemed, in a particularly good way.
We stayed much too late and drank much too much, so today I’m feeling a bit of the blues, myself. Totally worth it.
It is difficult to capture the essence of a place in a photograph. The sounds, the smells, the feel of the air, or the way things actually look in a 360 degree way… a picture can only do so much to preserve that. And it’s not enough. But, still, you try. Because these are memories—they are the sounds, the smells, the sights and they are the feelings—that you so badly want to preserve.
The school bus windows are fogged as the bus pulls up in the parking lot. Students begin streaming off the moment it stops. They spill onto the sidewalk, greet each other, and then rush inside the building. There are hours, mere hours, until this day is over and spring break begins.
I watch them through my classroom window, feeling their excitement, even from my distant vantage point. And maybe I am so keenly aware of it because I am also counting down the minutes. I am also looking forward to the end of this day with much anticipation.
Tomorrow evening I will board a flight that will take me across the ocean. And I will get to see my daughter for the first time since the beginning of January. So, yes, I am looking forward to this day being over.
But, for now, I have feedback to go over, and essay paragraphs to help draft, and vocabulary to discuss. And so I will watch the students through the window, and I will anticipate this day–a day I will spend with them–too.
Maybe years from now, I will look back and remember this time and comfort myself that the right decisions were made, that everything worked out just fine, that there are no regrets.
Honestly, I don’t know why I am so worried. We’ve been down this path before. Exactly three years ago, my older daughter was in the same final heat of the college decision process. And my older daughter’s situation was much more fraught. She’s a performance major, and so her acceptances had to be two-fold. She had to be accepted for both her academic and acting talents. It was an extremely difficult endeavor. And now, three years after my first daughter finally committed to her university (which she did exactly one hour before the deadline) I can see that everything has worked out fine. That she landed in the right place. That all is good.
So, why am I still worried now? I guess it’s just that I thought this time would be easier. And I guess maybe it is easier.
My tiny pencil collection has grown again. What first started as a tiny pencil, and later grew to include an “even tinier” pencil, has now grown to include an “this might or might be a smidgen tinier, but it is definitely sharpened at both ends” pencil.
Because of this new addition, I think I’m going to cancel my call to The Guinness Book of World Records. I don’t think the tininess of these pencils is what really matters anymore. I think it is their unique, individual qualities that make them really special. So, instead of Guinness, I’ll be changing my focus. Instead of size, we will now focus on what makes each one of my pencils special. Therefore, I am changing my description to more closely align with Ripley’s “Believe it or Not.”
I’m sure the reviews for my museum of oddities will start pouring in soon.
Michael couldn’t stop talking when he was supposed to be working. He was very excited about a show he’d been watching, and he wanted to know if any of the other students had ever watched it. He was so enthralled with the show his enthusiasm for discussing it with his classmates matched my own enthusiasm for discussing Mare of Easttown with my fellow teachers last year. So, I kind of understood Michael’s inability to focus on the task at hand–researching for an argumentative essay.
When I reminded him to get to work, Michael asked me, “But, have you ever watched it, Mrs. Mack?”
I had to admit that I had not watched it–that I didn’t even know the name of the show.
“It’s ‘Happy Tree Friends,'” Michael told me. “And it’s so good! You have to watch it!”
So, I agreed that if Michael finished his research, then I would watch “Happy Tree Friends” that night.
“It’s so good, ” Michael told me as he set off to work. “It even got banned on Netflix.”
For the first time –possibly for the first time ever– Michael finished his work. So, I went home, sat down in my comfy chair, and pulled up a “Happy Tree Friends” YouTube video on my phone.
That was a mistake. Have you ever watched “Happy Tree Friends?” If you have, you know what a mistake it was to watch it. If you haven’t, then I suggest NOT watching it.
A quick summary–for those of you who might be interested–is that a bunch of kind of cute animated animals fall victim to deadly, gruesome accidents. Over and over again. The amount of cartoon blood and guts is…. overwhelming.
It was hardly a must watch form me, but I’m not a 12 year old boy. And, in the end, it worked it’s magic. Because Michael got his work done.