It’s not always easy to go home. My parents have been as welcoming as anyone could be to a mother of four who’s in between cities. I’ve enjoyed the Bell’s local brews, worked a couple days at the Water Street coffee house, played at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum (possibly one of the best childrens museums east of the Mississippi putting all boroughs’ children’s museums to shame, in my humble opinion), sipped ice tea on the patio, scratched a dozen mosquito bites after a night run with my dad, dashed through sprinklers, weeded the garden, staked the tomatoes, slept to the crickets, slurped palazzolo’s sorbetto, run around in the dry fountain at Bronson park, checked out library books…and still I’m ready to push on and push out. There’s something about coming home that’s welcoming and slightly suffocating no matter how old you are or how cool your parents might be.
Here it is, as promised: me my first year of teaching. These kids are 27 or so now, so I’m guessing no one would recognize them. I don’t even recognize myself! But I remember my pride standing there beside them in our auditorium that smelled like the cafeteria because it was both. It was a year full of make-it-work moments with no texts to start and ex-adult vocational education facilities. At least the table saw from the shop room wasn’t in my room. I should have sung more with them. But we did listen to cal tjader play the vibraphone a lot. And I realized that I needed to learn Spanish if I was going to commune with families and caregivers. This year was the beginning of many things. I hope to carry that curiosity and make it work past into my new academic year.