Remember my big New Year's resolution: forgive? And then I tried hard to remember all the people I still needed to forgive and had trouble coming up with any, since I'd already done the work I needed to do? Well, for whatever reason, three totally different past conflicts flooded my brain this week, possibly triggered by the issue I'm having with Control Teacher.
— And let me say quickly, in case it wasn't clear yesterday: I don't blame Control Teacher for wanting things the way she wants them in her classroom. If my group is disturbing her, then I need to know that and to conduct the group differently. I fully support her on this. I just don't love the way she's going about it. She has made me feel very self-conscious and uncomfortable when I'm in her room, which is not conducive to doing good work. I'm also there on two other days, same kids, same table, and (one presumes) the same group dynamics, but a different teacher, and Teacher 2 couldn't be friendlier. She also has a more chill style in the classroom. Anyway: I'm not a teacher basher; I'm just struggling with how to make this work for both of us, and I wish I felt like we were partners in this endeavor. That's all! —
Here are the three incidents that floated up this week, and one of them is so absurd I can't believe my subconscious even bothered to bury and store it:
- 2009: Li'l Martini is playing basketball at the local Boys and Girls Club. Anyone who wants to play can play, but they do drills and such for the first two sessions so the coach can get a sense of skill levels and assign balanced teams. Every single time Martini runs to shoot a basket (or whatever), the gang of jock boys from his elementary school make fun of him behind his back, mimicking what he's doing. (Martini, bless him, is not a natural athlete, but he is a good sport and a good teammate, and he tries hard.) Their oblivious mothers chat and gossip in the stands, ignoring the little shits down on the court.
- 2010: We attended our yearly church retreat at Ferry Beach in Saco, Maine. There's a common room where people tend to congregate at night, playing games, drinking wine or cocoa or coffee, eating snacks. People bring food and drink and leave it on the counters, and you help yourself to what looks good to you. I live in fear of being caught without a corkscrew, so I carry them everywhere; there's one in my glove compartment and one in each suitcase that I might use for traveling. Don't judge me! The reason I have so many corkscrews is that I've been caught without one so many times, thus having to buy a new one. And the extra corkscrews have come in handy more times than I really want to tell you. OK, this story has gone off the rails; let's refocus. SO: I brought a corkscrew and, in fact, there didn't seem to be another one, so I left it on the counter throughout the weekend. On our last evening there, it had gotten late (say, 9:45) and I wanted to be sure that I wouldn't forget my corkscrew in the morning, so I brought it over to the table where the kids and I were playing Tripoly. Some time later, a man (someone I don't particularly like; he's unsmiling and negative, though his wife and daughters are sweethearts) came over and said, rather belligerently, "Do you have the corkscrew?" I said, "I have my corkscrew; is that what you mean?" He said, "Do you have the corkscrew that's been here all weekend?" I repeated, "I brought my own corkscrew, and I let people use it this weekend; is that what you mean?" He stared at me for a minute and then said, "Can I take the corkscrew?" I said, "You may borrow my corkscrew, if that's what you're asking." We looked at each other for a long moment. Finally, finally, he said, through gritted teeth, "May I borrow your corkscrew?" "Sure," I said, with a sweet, false smile, "but please bring it back because I'm afraid I might forget to pack it, and it's really good to have an extra corkscrew on hand, 'cause you just never know."
- 2011: I attended a weekend training session for OWL teachers (my church's sex ed curriculum), and one of the trainers took a weird dislike to me; either my air of sunny confidence was deeply threatening to him, or I look exactly like the girl who turned him down for the prom, who knows. When we did our final presentations, he said, in front of the whole group, "Lady C, I gotta say, you seemed really full of yourself." Such a constructive comment, it really helped me grow as a person and a teacher. Ha! Not. (Later, the other co-trainer called me at home to personally apologize and talk it all through with me, which was very nice. But still, I think it's fair to say that I'm harboring some feelings about the man who said it.)
- I forgive the jock boys. I have no idea what kind of pressure they're under — from their parents, from their peers, or from their own selves — to perform, to excel, to fulfill some idea they have of what it means to be a man. And when you're young in particular, a surefire way to feel a little higher on the success ladder (albeit, temporarily) is to put someone else down. I get this, and I forgive them.
- I also forgive their mothers. I hope my first guess was right, that they really aren't aware of what their sons are doing. But I also know how little control a parent really has regarding what their children do and say to other children. These are all nice women. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and forgive them.
- I definitely forgive the man at my church. I think he is a deeply unhappy person. I don't know why — he has such a lovely family. I hope he finds the peace he desperately needs.
- And I forgive my OWL trainer. I have lots of guesses about why he said what he said to me, and I'll likely never know for sure, but none of them come from a happy or confident place. I believe that his comment had more to do with him than with me. I'm letting go of it. I forgive him.
Two more things of note have happened today (and it's not even 10 a.m.!):
- I have often described my heart-throb Mr. Bates (of Downton Abbey) as the world's unlikeliest sex symbol — he is a doughy middle-aged white man. I said this to Husband this morning, who retorted, "Hey! Don't knock the doughy middle-aged white men!" Hee. If you'd asked me, I would've guessed that the actor is a few years older than I am — more Husband's age. (Yes, I am a trophy wife. We have a near ten-year age gap. Okay, eight, I'm rounding up.) But I just learned in TV Guide that actor Brendan Coyle is a full year younger than I am. Oy.
- Husband just read me a quote from Business Week that I am completely in love with: "Pain is temporary. Suck is forever." You may quote me quoting him quoting it.
—Lady C, hoping that three acts of forgiveness will make her three pounds lighter . . .