I have never been a big fan of kids. They yell and scream and get into things that they should not. They are dirty, talk back, and require too much attention. There has only been once in my life when I contemplated having children and I was blindly in love. I am very happy that God had other plans for me.
I just returned home after a few hours at the Human Rights Center in Carrboro. I am working on an article about the three people who are responsible for running the behind-the-scenes action and wanted to get a better feel for exactly what they do.
I have been involved with the Center on some level for several weeks now since the articles I have written have all involved a person or organization that is somehow involved in the Center, but this was my first day there as a participant or at least more so than I have ever been.
The first day I went to the Center I didn’t know what to expect. It is located in an apartment complex and is one of the two bedroom apartments. I got out of my car and immediately saw and heard kids running around. As I climbed the stairs two little Hispanic children came running to me asking who I was. Immediately my wall went up and I was petrified. I tried to act normal but I kept walking and as I stepped into the apartment I realized it was full of these little loud strangers.
I had learned about the after school program that is held in the Center through an interview with its founder Dr. Judith Blau, but I had not realized it was so popular. It was packed with kids were everywhere and student volunteers were working on homework with some at the dining room table and others on computers.
Nancy came over and asked me if it was my first time and I quickly muttered I was there to interview and found a neutral place to stand.
Because I was there to interview I gathered myself together without anyone noticing my odd behavior, but I was overwhelmed with all the noise and activity.
As I stood back I watched the children, mostly Hispanic talk and play and ask questions. The other large immigrant group are the Burmese. It all was very intriguing to me and as I realized that I wasn’t expected to play I felt more calm.
I have been back a few times since this day and each time my hard exterior has quieted down and I have enjoyed the children a bit more.
This week has been especially hard for me because I have lost a dear friendship. The relationship was a romantic one that had many problems and had finally came to a head this past weekend. I had known him for over a year and we had spent lots of time together.
It has been hard for me to deal with, but I know that ultimately it will be better and have tried to stay positive. I have had lots of homework this week and have been struggling to stay on top of it. My mind has been elsewhere.
Today I woke up feeling a little melancholy. It was raining and I haven’t been sleeping well which always wears on me emotionally. I had a quiz in my Spanish class that I had studied diligently for and was more than ready. It was supposed to be a straight forward vocabulary quiz.
It is anything but. We were handed a story line to fill in the blanks. The story was full of words and verbs we didn’t know. Hand after hand was raised with questions about the words and at first she answered them and then became frustrated and pretty much said to figure it out.
I was becoming more and more angry. I speak good Spanish but I didn’t know these words and my angry played on my ADHD and the significance of the vocab words even became obscure to me. It was horrible. Then we were pushed out of the room by the next class.
As I turned in my quiz I told her that I knew the vocab perfectly, but it would not show.
I walked to my car and just sank lower and lower. Another bad grade. The rain poured over me and I just wanted to cry. It’s frustrating enough to take quizzes and tests for me, but the manner is which it was done was very unfair.
I don’t understand why some teachers don’t realize that learning doesn’t necessarily need to involved overly difficult work. It takes the fun out of it and I already despise the class.
Needless to say I drove directly to the store and found myself a nice bottle of wine. I was breaking. Luckily by the time I got home my frustration subsided and I took a nap.
I had promised to stop by the Center and I decided to bring Mani along with me. We arrived to heavy excitement but I was thrilled that the kids didn’t rush at him too much. He has never been around children and when we pass them at parks, kids get excited, he growls and then I get dirty looks from parents.
I have secretly always loved that he doesn’t like kids. But as they surrounded me I was overcome with a sense of peace. Their smiling faces and excitement overcame me and I became as excited as they were.
I remember being a kid and being so enamored with animals. I always brought them home and thankfully my parents had patience with me and housed them.
One little Hispanic girl came running over and asked who’s dog it was and I said that I was the mother. She immediately laughed and asked my where my big ears were as she tugged on my hair and then asked where my tail was as she poked me in the rear end.
I didn’t know how to respond at first, but in that moment I saw how innocent they are. They have hope and excitement-they are interested in everything and curious about anything. Their excitement is contagious and by the time I returned home my strength had returned.
I didn’t expect to genuinely smile today.
I still don’t want children, I still don’t know how crazy I am about them, but I am really looking forward to going back and learning more about the little lessons and surprises they can teach and show me.
I need to make sure I don’t lose my child-like qualities as I become more of an adult.
That would truly be heart-breaking.