Tag Archives: family

Sappy Cat Blogging – 7/12/2013

Here’s Little Trouble sitting on a stack of books:

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Big Trouble on my lap:

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Happy Anniversary!

Happy 72nd (that is NOT a typo) anniversary to my wonderful grandparents!

P.S. They don’t read my blog, so I’m telling them in person this weekend.

 

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Dear Mom,

Today’s WordPress prompt is to write a letter to your mother and tell her something you’ve always wanted but haven’t been able to.

Dear Mom:

Happy upcoming 66th birthday (my Mom’s birthday is three days before Christmas). If we were Chinese, I’d buy you a chicken and cut it up 66 times in order to ward off trouble in the coming year. (Source: http://chineseculture.about.com/od/chinesefestivals/a/Celebrating-Chinese-Birthdays.htm) If I could protect you from difficulties in some way, I would. But you don’t need protection.

At my age, you were raising Renaissance Guy (my brother) and me, working nights at a demanding job, taking care of a house, nurturing a strong marriage with Dad, and still making time to be a second mother to our cousins and the neighbor kids. You had it way more together than I do.

You still have it together. I watch how you do everything that needs done for my grandparents, and I know some day I’ll be taking care of you and Dad. I hope I’m up to the task. I see you with Medium Fry (nephew) and Small Fry (niece), and I learn there is more than one way to be a mother. I watch how you and Dad are best friends and true partners, and I pray I find someone with whom I can have that kind of relationship.

I envy you sometimes. I respect you always. Most of all, I love you, and I hope someday I’m half the woman you are.

Love, Renaissance Girl

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That’s Not My Name

My blogger friend The Surly Spinster wrote a thought-provoking post on spinster names versus married names, and that was part of the inspiration for this post.

During the course of my day, I use several different names. When I’m substitute teaching, I’m Ms. [MyLastName]. When I tutor and while I was babysitting this summer, I’m Ms. [MyFirstName]. To the seniors I care for, I’m [FirstName]. One client is fond of nicknaming her aides and has christened me “The Schoolteacher” because of my day job.

My last name, though ethnic and multisyllabic, is fairly simple to pronounce. Nonetheless, I frequently hear my last name being badly butchered. In those circumstances, I explain that I will answer to Ms. [MyLastInitial]. One student, a freshman in high school and therefore old enough to know better, mispronounced my name in a particularly egregious way and asked if it was OK to call me that. I replied, “No, because it’s not my name.” For him and the rest of the class, I became Ms. [MyLastInitial].

I’ve had this name for 30-something years and have become rather fond of it, and I am not sure I want to change it if I ever get married. If I change it, I start anew as Mrs. [NewLastName] and possibly end up subjected to more butcherings. If I hyphenate, I could create a real mouthful for students to pronounce. There’s also the issue of my first name. I’m all in favor of diversity and marrying the person you love regardless of ethnicity, but I’m also a great lover of words. My first name sounds good with my last name. It might not with a new last name.

One man – I’ll call him Love of My Life So Far – made me consider changing my name. His name was also multisyllabic and hyphenated to boot. My first name would have sounded great with his last name. Alas, it was not to be for us, but that’s another story for another time.

For now, I simply write my name on the board with the explanation that it sounds like it looks (it does) and the corollary that Ms. [MyLastInitial] is acceptable.

It’s better than “Hey, you.” (One home care client actually called me that, but in her defense, she was suffering from dementia and not happy about having caregivers outside the family.)

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End of an Era

Yesterday was my last day babysitting for a family I’ve grown very fond of. I got the job online in January, during a dark period in my personal life. The work entailed waking up two young girls, ages 7 and 10 (I’ll call them Big Sister and Little One) and helping them get ready for school. I cooked breakfast, prepared lunches, made sure the girls had everything they needed, walked them to the bus stop, and occasionally drove them to school. I also did some light housekeeping: folding laundry, food preparation, vacuuming, and other light cleaning.

During spring break and summer vacation, I watched them all day, from 6:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Because of my teaching experience, at the mother’s request, the girls did an hour or so of academic work every day – worksheets related to what they learned during the previous year or would learn during the coming year, plus 30 minutes of silent reading. We also went to the zoo and to the animal shelter where I volunteer. We visited my cousins’ farm, where we fed chickens, took home a big basket of vegetables, and stopped for homemade ice cream on the way back. We went to movies, played at the park, and had treasure hunts and scavenger hunts. We made spaghetti tacos and a mashed potato bar. We visited a toy store where I worked last Christmas. We went swimming and had squirt gun fights. We watched the Disney Channel, and I laughed at “Good Luck Charlie” and “A.N.T. Farm” almost as much as they did.

I didn’t make a lot of money, but I did have a lot of fun, and I hope Big Sister and Little One did, too. I learned about Indian culture and the Hindu faith. Most importantly, this job saved my sanity and cleared my head about several things. I needed a reason to get up in the morning, and the girls provided that. I needed to discern how I felt about having children; at my age, it’s not a decision on which I can procrastinate. I learned that I want children in my life in some way, but they don’t have to be my biological children. I can be happy adopting, fostering, or being a stepmother. I can also be happy in my role as aunt and cousin, and I can “adopt” the children whose classrooms I teach in and the teenagers I tutor.

I was and am very blessed to cross this family’s path. I plan to stay in touch with the mother and help out if she needs me on days when the girls are off school.

Little One and Big Sister, you changed my life. I feel privileged to have watched you grow up, and I hope some day I meet you as the amazing young women I know you’re going to become. Thank you.

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My first Sappy Cat Blogging entry

Little Trouble and Big Trouble

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