I teach students with multiple disabilities. Some are more complex than other. Today I was working with a 6th grader I’ll call Jessie. He’s a cool kid who uses a wheelchair to move about the building. Jessie has a lot to say but has difficulty actually saying it the same way you and I do. You see, even though he is very vocal, his actual voice doesn’t work the same as yours or mine.
He’s been a beast to get to sleep lately.
Back in my younger days, I spent Parade Day…yes, capitalized like a holiday…running around the Southside wearing my Irish sweater and probably some sort of shamrock beads. I would be with a group of friends drinking…and throwing up…green beer. Using disgusting port-o-potties was a luxury because you usually copped-a-squat wherever you could. Meandering up and down Western Ave was a right of passage.
Did you ever just have a day? When everything that could test your limits just blew right past them?
That was today.
Little man has been waking up at 4:00 AM all week. My alarm goes off at 5:15 so I’m pretty much running on empty by the time I wander into the house at 9:00 PM or so. Classes have been extra stressful the last couple of weeks and I need to pass another certification test next month on top of it.
My mom loved going out to eat. It was not unusual to find us shopping followed by a trip to Cheesecake Factory or Baker’s Square. Pie. That’s where it was at. We would have a salad…because isn’t that healthy…followed by a slice of pie to take home.
I read a SOL yesterday from a fellow slicer, Imagine the Possibilities. She described a writing exercise where you choose a penny and look at the date. Then you write about a memory from the year on the coin. This is so super cool. I love this idea and couldn’t wait to try it today…maybe I’ll even do it with my students when testing season winds down. We started IAR and ISA today. DLM also began. Glitches in the systems caused this special educator slash technology teacher slash IT fire putter-outer slash test proctor to be extremely busy.
Taking the time at the end of the day to put into practice what ItP preaches is actually a little therapeutic. I dig into my Mary Poppins type purse. I find a baggie of baby wipes, a bottle of water, the power supply to my computer, a package of goldfish, some partially used gift cards, a pile of receipts, a newspaper article from a month ago, several emergency diapers, and a random handful of coins…among many other things.
I shuffle through and pull out the first penny that isn’t super shiny. It’s from 1983.
That is the year my youngest brothers were born…twins who are very different from each other. SWM would golf 7 days a week, weather and bank account permitting. MPM prefers working in the yard or on projects around the house.
Back in 1983, ultrasound wasn’t the typical standard of care. My mom didn’t know she was having twins until about 6 weeks before she delivered. I have a vivid memory of her telling my Grandma while sitting in the burnt orange Lazyboy recliner near the picture window of the Kedzie house. She held up two fingers cried and a little while Grandma squealed with delight.
We’ll just get double of everything. Grandmas are wise in that way.
As a stay at home mom, probably overwhelmed with the 4 little ones she already had, I’m certain the thought of adding two more to the brood sent her nearly over the edge.
In December, when her water broke, my dad had just pulled out of the driveway for work. My mom was standing by the harvest gold refrigerator shouting for towels and for someone to call my dad and her brother. She clearly needed a ride to the hospital. This was before the time of cell phones but right when beepers were becoming popular. Someone left the dad call home message repeated three times while others grabbed towels.
Uncle Mike arrived in what I recall as a very small car. A Datsun maybe? I’m pretty sure it was a two door hatchback.
My mom had already been having difficulty getting in and out of our giant station wagon so this should be interesting.
And then they were gone. I remember nothing else until those two screaming babies came home. They were lovable troublemakers from the start. They wore us all out with their non-stop-middle-of-the-night-cries. It was a small three bedroom house at the time. I’m not even sure the basement was finished yet. We were on top each other. There was no escaping the wrath of the twins. They took over our lives and our hearts.
Sure. They terrorized the neighborhood and their big brother. They gave my parents pre-mature gray hair. It was said more than once that if they had been born first, the rest of us would never existed. But they end-capped our family–evening out the sexes so the girls didn’t outnumber the boys 4 to 2. They brought laughter and tears and ER visits and a couple 911 calls. But I cannot imagine what our lives would be like without that day in 1983.
I am writing for the 2019 March Slice of Life Challenge