Sunday, April 8, 2012

What's your story?

My friend Vonelle and I host an ESL book club at our local library. We may be small in numbers, but we are mighty in our discussions. We have learners from all over the world~China, Mexico, Switzerland, Ukraine and others who come and go. From our various backgrounds we work on finding similarities in our lives. This past month we read "Three Weeks with my Brother" by Nicholas and Micah Sparks, and boy did we discuss our upbringing, our parents and our parenting styles. It was a great night, and we asked our learners to write down one of their stories growing up.

I am excited to see what they wrote about. They were scared to write, seeing as how they are just learning English, but I told them that would be the beauty of it all, that their "voice" would be heard in their writing, and that it would be a good thing to look back upon, and see how much they have improved. They also felt like they had nothing exciting to tell, but from the short discussions we had, I know that not to be true. The deal also included that Vonelle and I both had to write a story from our childhood~and I don't know where to start. Which one do I write about? Which one would be of worth leaving on paper, or are they all the same in importance? Do I write something that brings me memories of happiness, or memories of sadness, memories of learning experiences, memories of laughter...not too sure which one to start with...

How about two? Let's call this "On Roosters and Hair Styles"

I don't know how old I was when this story takes place, but when we were growing up, I lived on a farm/lumber mill. I know, an odd mix, but that is what we were, farmers,lumber millers, gardeners, school children.

My mom was an avid gardener. I am sure that her vegetable garden is still about as big as my whole yard, and she is the only one who lives there now, but she loved fresh fruits, vegetables. As well as the bountiful harvests we had, (there is another story to share at a later date) we also had various animals on the farm. We had horses, and cows, pigs, chickens, geese and ducks. We also had cats and dogs. We all had our chores to do concerning the animals. My sister was usually the one who did morning chores, feeding, and watering the animals, I had afternoon responsibilities.

One year, we had chickens, and one MEAN rooster. I mean, he was so mean you could not turn your back on him or he would attack! Even if you looked straight at him, he would still come a chargin' at you, cawing away, all fluffed up, and half way flying at you if he got close enough. He was mean and nasty and looked the part. I had to collect eggs each day in the stinky, dark hen house. No, it was not my favorite chore, made even more difficult by this nasty rooster that attacked whenever he saw you coming! I more than hated it. Sometimes you were lucky, and only had to deal with the chickens who were still on the nests, but most times you had to deal with that nasty rooster.

One day, my dad, who had more than enough of my whining and complaining, went out to show me how it was done, and that I was just making things up. Well, we didn't even make it into the coop when that darn rooster came running from behind the pen, flying up at my dad. As fast as you could see, my dad kicked at that dang bird with his big, heavy winter work boots on. Next thing I know, the bird is high tailing it out of there, squawking away. My dad had hit the bird in such a way, that the back talon of the bird had stuck in the toe of his boot. Dad pulled it out, and said while walking away "I don't think you will have any more problems with that bird". And I didn't because it didn't take a day or two, but he ended up in our pot, making chicken soup. I don't know who took care of that bird, it certainly was not my father, he could not kill anything, but I do know that someone disposed of it, and we enjoyed the dinner. Thank you to that cocky rooster, you were delicious!

Another memory, brought on by my daughter who is forever having issues with her hair:

Due to family circumstances, my cousins came to live with us. That meant that there were 5 kids trying to get ready in the mornings, using only 1 bathroom. 4 teenage girls, and my younger brother~we all had to be out the door by 7:50 am, so that we could take the bus to school. We had our scheduled routine, 10mins in the bathroom~exactly~and if you weren't done, you were booted out of the bathroom to finish getting ready elsewhere in the house. We set a timer to keep track.

Well, all 4 of us girls had to curl our hair to be beautiful for school, so I had my curling iron station set up upstairs in a corner of the kitchen. This was just outside my parents bedroom door. I being about 14 yrs old, was getting extremely frustrated with my hair. It just looked terrible. I couldn't get it to curl the way I wanted it to, so I was rather loud, cursing my hair. Big surprise on that one, seeing as my hair is very straight, and still won't hold a curl. But, I had to be fashionable, so I tried to curl, curl and curl some more. Well, out of the blue came this loud, deep German, gravelly voice shouting "THEN CUT IT OFF!" My poor dad had had enough complaining first thing in the morning and had shouted his advice from out of the bedroom. I knew I had gone too far, and walked away. I never shouted at my hair again, at least not when he was around! I think I might have been a little scared, that my dad might actually make me cut off my hair. Drama over!

However, I feel like I am living the same thing in my house today, as my daughter is having her own hair drama! We have an appointment for her tomorrow after school with her favorite hair dresser. Hopefully this will help her with her frustrations!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

On Mothers...

Mothers are powerful!

There is no one else on the planet that has greater influence on a child~for good or for bad. Children follow closely in their mother's footsteps. They learn their moral compass. They learn etiquette, politeness, work ethic, house keeping skills, parenting skills, cooking skills, communications skills, driving skills, and everything else that I am not thinking of at the moment.

May we all use our powers as moms to do good in this world. To build, create and grow.