Thursday, April 29, 2010

a breakthrough

Thank you Dawn and Amanda for being brave and responding to my last post! I had to get it out of my system..and I didn't even get it all out because a lot of it I'm actually embarrassed and ashamed. I have been doing a lot of soul searching and a bit of letter writing the last few days. I forget how cathartic writing a letter can be. I need to remind myself to keep with my mail pile so I'm not keeping things inside. It was in the last letter that I had written to a fellow raveler and teacher that I realized why I really truly became a teacher.
Over the last couple of days I have been thinking about my childhood.  I didn't really have much of one with my sister being born when I was 8 years old and then my brother when I was 11.  I became their primary caregiver afterschool so from the time I was about 9 or 10 all the way until I left for college, I was stuck taking care of the kids; kids who weren't even mine. Both of my parents worked. My mom worked a regular 8-4 job while the pyscho worked varying shifts. I think when my brother and sister were really young he worked the graveyard shift so he'd be home with them during the daytime. Then when we all got older, he switched to swing shift so I'd have to go pick them up from the babysitter's house and then we'd all walk home after I got out of school. Of course I couldn't do any activities because I had to go straight home to take care of the kids.
It has dawned on me that my parents didn't really 'raise' me. I had to grow up quickly since part of the responsibility of taking care of my brother and sister fell into my lap-not by choice but out of obligation. I was polite, had impeccable manners (who knows where they came from), and did really well in school. While my friends would tell me that they got $20 (or something like that) for a good report card, I didn't have any boasting to do. I didn't ever get anything for a good report card and I always had good report cards. I wasn't ever praised either. I also never received any kind of encouragement. So for me, it was like getting straight A's was expected. The psycho would only ever comment when he had something negative to share. In the 5th grade, I won the district-wide spelling bee. Did I even get a congratulations or a we're so proud of you? No.  In fact, I don't think they said anything to me at all about winning. They were more annoyed about having to take me here or there.  The following year when I ended up losing (but made it to the final round), the only thing to come out of that psycho's mouth was, "Why didn't you win?"
When I was a kid, school was my escape. I loved going to school. I loved my teachers and my friends. I loved learning! My teachers were always praising me when credit was due and they knew what a great student I was. I excelled in both reading and math.  Oh, I failed to mention in the paragraph above that my parents never attended an Open House or a parent conference. Work was always more important. It was like they didn't care what was going on in the one place where I actually thrived. Aside from the lack of praise and encouragement, there were also no hugs or kisses or mentions of how loved I was (if I ever was). I just existed. I was there to take care of the kids.
So it dawned on me, (while I was writing the aforementioned letter because I had been talking about my childhood in that letter) that this was the real reason I went into teaching. It wasn't just that working with kids came easy to me. It was because I wanted to be like the teachers I had in school that were encouraging, offered praise, and were there for those students who weren't getting those things at home.  I guess it is also why I strive instill independence and a strong self-esteem in my students. I want them to be able to get past a childhood like the one I had and go on to succeed in life.
On a lighter note, I had a knitting breakthrough too.
I finally made it to the lace portion of for my dame damson. 72 rows of garter stitch nearly killed me. I still despise straight garter stitch with a passion. In fact, my strong dislike for it may have increased after having to endure 72 repetitive rows of it.  Purple haze is coming along nicely. I'm about 2.5 pattern repeats from completion. I have also settled on starting a clothilde once I get around completing dame damson, purple haze, and possibly that cozy cardi as well! At least the yarn is already wound. :) Still working on a mental list of things that make me happy!  Oh and today, I received two early birthday gifts. Macy's sent me a gift certificate and Robyn sent me a package that I can't wait to open!

6 comments:

  1. You know I'm hear to talk to anytime...:) It's a wonderful way to let things out, to let things go you can't change. I always had my patients journal, its a fantastic tool to use!

    Are your parents first generation here? Not to make excuses but that could be part of their ways to really focus on making a living...but at least you have learned how to give praise, love...and I'm sure your siblings are extremely greatful for having you in their lives. Think of what a great mom you're going to make!

    Your Damson is sooo pretty! That's another thing I have the pattern for, the yarn for and everything in the bag!:)

    Put your right arm on your left shoulder, your left arm on your right shoulder...squeeze... thats a hug from me!

    love ya

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  2. The fact that you've come through the other side of a much less than ideal childhood and become such an amazing and loving adult is a testament to your strength. Kids need someone like you in schools to support them and to advocate for them. I've been thinking of you and your hubs since your last few posts and am sending many hugs and good vibes your way.

    and ps, Your damson is looking fantastic. I can't seem to push myself through all that boring garter stitch quite yet.

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  3. I can completely understand where your coming from and will chat to you about it in orur mail. I cannot believe how strong and determined you are. I admire you so much! Much love and Hugs xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  4. That is a FANTASTIC reason to become a teacher, however at the same time it's unfortunate that you had to go through that.

    I don't want to talk too much online about my childhood, but when you message me back I'll tell how you similar mine was to yours.

    Oooh!!! Your birthday gift from me arrived!!!! Can't wait to hear what you think about it!!

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  5. In the words of the platitude I came to hate during my bout with cancer... "That which does not kill you, makes you stronger." Great post, even if a difficult subject.

    ...and love the progress on your Damson, I have frogged two of them already, le sigh.

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Hey everyone,
Just wanted to thank you for taking the time out to leave me a comment. Happy reading!