About Me

Thanks for being here! I am a mom of three (two girls, 15 and 13, and one boy, 9) and a teacher of many (thousands during my more than 17 years teaching high school English and Spanish in Philadelphia). Forever a student, I love learning - whether through talking to others, reading, watching movies and documentaries, or traveling. I also love running (slowly), hiking, and practicing yoga!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth everyone! As I was neatening up the house tonight, trying unsuccessfully to find a home for all the stuffed animals, toys, and little trinkets, I thought of the graduation speech Masterman's valedictorian made this year. A brilliant student who is headed to Harvard in the fall, he shared a bit of his personal story in the speech. He and his mother came to this country from China when he was only five years old. They joined his father, who was already here, and lived in a basement apartment in New York City. Both his parents worked long hours, so much so that he rarely saw his father. He saw his mother, who worked in a factory, only at night. A babysitter dropped him off and picked him up from daycare. Eventually, the family moved to Philadelphia and opened a Chinese restaurant, where they all spent long hours fighting to succeed.

What touched me most about the speech is that Yun-Teng recalled each of the gifts his parents had been able to give him over the years. There weren't many, but they were treasured. He spoke in great detail of a miniature basketball game (the ball now lost) that he taped to his bedroom wall and played over and over again. And this is what I thought of as I attempted to clean up my children's many, many things. We have too much stuff.

Like everyone I know, I love my children beyond measure and want the best for them in life, and I delight in seeing them happy (as do their grandparents and many aunts and uncles), but it's this desire that has lead to all the stuff. I'm not quite sure what to do about that. I feel blessed to have the problem.

This Fourth of July, I am so grateful to live in a country where I am able to provide for my children everything they could possibly need (though often this turns into more than they need!), and I am also grateful, and proud, to live in a country where stories like Yun-Teng's are possible.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I saw the movie Brave tonight with Grace and Genevieve, so I was thinking about destiny as I put them to bed, and thinking about destiny got me to thinking of how Anthony and I got together (we were neighbors), and how we probably never would have had my grandmother not driven by our house when I was just nine years old and seen the "For Sale" sign. As I pictured that old Woodland Avenue house and thought about the first time I saw little ten year old Anthony riding his bike down the driveway (didn't like him), what I next saw was what I first fell in love with on Woodland Avenue: the milk door. You know, one of those old metal doors leading into the kitchen (one door on the inside, one on the out) where the milkman used to leave the cold glass bottles each morning. Of course by the time we bought the house the milk door had long been out of use, and a few years later it was taken out when my parents renovated the kitchen, but nonetheless when I think of my destiny, and of that house, I think of that tiny metal door.  I used to crawl through it to get into the kitchen, though there was a perfectly good screen door just steps away. Sometimes when I had friends over we would pass secret messages through the door, and other times I would store my own secret things there, as by this time in life my older sister had outgrown the need for such silly childhood games. The tiny space between those two metal doors was mine and mine alone.

I used to be so nostalgic that I could hardly move forward I was clinging to the past so tightly, but I have gotten better about that as I have gotten older. Still, I think tomorrow morning, the sun rising on a whole new day, I will sit down at my dining room table and drink a cold, lovely glass of milk to honor for a moment that little metal door I fell in love with so long ago.