My Own Personal Mini Cheerleader

This past winter an amazing opportunity practically fell out of the sky with a gilded parachute and landed smack in my arms. Pure kismet. It was an opportunity to teach art full time at a wonderful top ranked private school. A few days before the interview I was having a conversation with my 7 year old son, and I can’t remember the topic or how this came about but he says to me out the blue…

“Mommy. You should be an art teacher.”

Really? You think so?

“Yes. You should. Promise you’ll try to be an art teacher?”

Yes, I promise.

After interviews and an offer and accepting the offer, I was so excited to pick him up from school that day.

Guess what!

“WHAT!?”

Remember when you told me to become an art teacher?

“Yeah…”

I GOT A NEW JOB AS AN ART TEACHER!

“YIPPPEEEE!!! That was my idea! I knew it was a good idea!”

Many months later I am fulfilling that promise as I have finished up the first month of teaching. And I think of how proud my son is of me. So here’s the thing. For a long time I put aside what I wanted to do. I wanted to teach. I’ve always wanted to teach. But art teaching opportunities were few and far between, schools cut budgets, I DID NOT want to go back to school to get certified to teach in public schools with no real guarantee of a job, and with a child and a divorce I needed to re-plan. I came up with a Plan X. Plan X was good, I loved Plan X. I would have been totally happy with Plan X. Plan X wasn’t necessarily in the arts. Plan X didn’t involve teaching. Plan X had me going back to school anyway. But Plan X was sustainable and fulfilling and opened up a whole new world of ideas and opportunities.

I think my son was calling bullshit on Plan X. When he was telling me to become an art teacher, he was also saying “Hey. Be an art teacher so I know I never have to settle. Even if you are settling for something that’s really good. But l want to see in you that if Plan A is still in your heart then Plan A is what WE are going for.”

I started to think about the subtle messages we send our children, or at least the messages I realize I am sending to my child. I have a terrible fear of failure. I am sometimes full of anxiety about new experiences and venturing into the unknown. I am constantly telling him “NO” or “GET DOWN FROM THERE” or “YOU’RE GONNA CRACK YOUR HEAD OPEN, STOP THAT.” Risk adverse. I found a quote on Pinterest that reads “If you are not willing to look stupid, nothing great is ever going to happen to you.” I am trying to say “YES” more often.

You gonna climb that steep embankment with all the pointy jagged stabby looking rocks… Ok, be careful, yell if you want me to help you. Dinner at Panera instead of me cooking the nice night-before-the-first-day-of-school meal that I had planned… Sure, why not then we can have more time to hang out just you and me. You’re going off to the rope swing out in the woods just behind those trees… Well put on some bug spray first.

I want my son to know that I think he has wonderful ideas, that he is capable of doing so many things, and that CAN’T or CANNOT should not be in his vocabulary. Be practical, sure, but also be dreamy eyed. Be fulfilled. On the first day of teaching I sent my art students outside to draw and as I saw them sitting under sun dappled trees with sketchbooks and pencils, I felt full. And I thought yeah, this was a great idea. Glad we went for it.

 

Kiddo and I celebrating with smoothies the week before school starts for both of us.

 

 

Fairy Queen Hearts Monkey

My little guy is really enjoying having me read Midsummer Night’s Dream to him! Truly he would tell me to stop reading if he thought it was boring. It kinda helps that I know the play and that I’ve performed Shakespeare, so I am able to be very dramatic about. He likes that. At first when we started reading he wanted me to do different voices for all the characters, then he told me to stop. “You’re not so good with the voices, mom.” Fair enough.

Last night we started ACT II!

This is where we meet the woodland fairyland folks. Titania and Oberon, who are quarreling. And Robin Goodfellow who we learn is a mischievous little puck. Upon reading this for the umpteenth time, it now strikes me that “puck” rhymes with “fuck.” Kinda fitting, eh?Puck and Fairy

He enjoyed the opening of the scene when the Fairy runs into Puck and they are chatting then suddenly she recognizes him.

Either I mistake your shape and making quite,

Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite

Call’d Robin Goodfellow

This part made him laugh so I asked:

ME: What’s so funny? Do you know what shrewd and knavish mean?

KID: I’m not sure, but it doesn’t sound good! Maybe she was calling him a bad name.

ME: (thinking in my head, yep, she’s calling him out as an asshole) Absolutely right! She knows he gets in trouble a lot and is always up to no good.

Later in the scene when Oberon and Titania are arguing over the little boy that Titania has adopted and then Titania snubs him, Oberon hatches his plan to get back at her:

Having once this juice,

I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep,

And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.

The next thing then she waking looks upon,

Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,

On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,

She shall pursue it with the soul of love:

KID: A MONKEY?! HAHAHA! Imagine if she sees a monkey and falls in love with a monkey!

ME: (grabbing the kid and kissing his face) oh I love my monkey!

BOTH OF US: (falling out in a fit of giggles)

Wait, I just realized that monkey didn’t sound right… Anyway. There we ended our reading for the night (past bedtime but eh…). I let him know that the next part of the scene was with Helena chasing Demetrius and trying to get him to love her.

KID: Awww! Can’t we read that part now? Pleeeeease???

There are times he begs me to let him stay up to watch Chima or Power Rangers or some other such crazy kiddie brain crack on Netflix. But now he’s begging to stay up to read Shakespeare. DUDE. Ok, he’s officially absolved from all those notes home about goofing off in art class and ninja stalking down the school hallway.

(Does a little mommy-win dance)

mommy win

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