Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Climbing the ladder slippery rungs

Things could have been different. I could have not picked up the Gazette and seen the brick house with all the windows. I could have believed that because the deal fell through twice we were not supposed to move. I could have not been at the picnic after we moved where a neighbor asked why my son was not in school at Wilson, a school I had driven by and seen, an arts integrated school with  drama and music  and wished he could go to but thought was not in my district, and caused me to fret over where he would end up...

But thats not what happened.

He did get to go to Wilson, and because its a arts integrated school he got to take strings from a teacher who was fabulous and recognized a natural so she placed him with a Cello which was fine with me because I was terrified of screechy violin practice at my house. And because his Dad and I are music lovers
we were very excited for him to get to play. That summer I had him in private lessons.  Not cheap and he never wanted to go. But he did and we managed and he got caught up with the other kids he played with.

And the next year he discovered Drama thanks to a teacher who is on fire for his kids and he gave him extra time  and we made sure he got to go to workshops and camps with our friend Toby who also is The Wizard of Drama ( all her kids are in art and music and drama and doing fine) and loved seeing him bloom.  He gets that creative side from me. That dreamy off in Lala Land, I saw a butterfly and the butterfly was me .... and what was that assignment again?

So he struggled with the real life stuff. The English and math. (Never the reading because he gets that from us too. he's been reading since he could look at pictures. He still loves stories only he reads to us now...)
Ms Sarah and Conor
We struggled too trying to understand how to help him. Parent teacher conferences, parent principal conferences, parent parent meetings, kid parent meetings it was crazy. He had a teacher who just didn't like him or us. So those rungs on that school  ladder they felt a little greasy.

But God is good and sent us a fabulous math tutor and private Cello teacher. He sees them every week and they hold their hands out and pull him along steadily making the way up...

Casady Strings Camp
 His 5th grade year was also the year he toured Classen School of Advanced Studies and tested to see if he could get in academically. He auditioned for the Orchestra. It was nerve wracking. We waited and waited and after everyone else had got their letters we still didn't have ours. I called the school and they had the wrong address but told me he got in so I made a fake envelope and letter and sealed it up and gave it to him after school so he'd be surprised. First he whooped and hollered and jumped up and down and then I saw the relief on his face. He told me later after he told his classmates he got in  his teacher had said "I don't know how YOU managed to get into Classen." So she had to give him a little shove just to keep him off balance but he hung on anyway.

We thought that the summer would be his little oasis before moving up to Jr. High. He got to go to Casady Strings Camp. Of course he didn't want to go and complained the entire weekend before and when I dropped him off then when I picked him up he was so excited he couldn't stop talking about it and how they would be doing a concert at the end of the week.  A beautiful concert where he played with other kids from 11 to 15 and they played Lady Gaga, and Coldplay and Movie theme music while a beautiful breeze blew in over the lake all these kids on a summer evening playing their hearts out it was magic.

I found out he had what felt like a years worth of work for the summer before he even went to school. Books and poems to read, math, science, at least an hour or so every day...I ordered 6 books from Amazon he had to read that summer and downloaded speeches and history and all kinds of things I got a little taste of what home schooling must be like. I had no idea this was just a taste of what his school year would be like.

He went to Drama camp to do "The Sound of Music" and sang "You are 16" like a songbird to a girl who towered over him and never lost his composure even tho the Auditorium was about 100 degrees esp. with all those people and lights. He was so happy and Toby and all the people at camp put their hands around him and helped him back up the ladder a little further.

Making memories 
His first day of school he looked like a Sherpa carrying his lunch/backpack and guitar and Cello two or three days a week and a big backpack the other days. I'm sure he has felt like a Sherpa. School is hard. Not the classes he loves those naturally come easy to him. He's a rock star in those. But his others its hard. We have to work with him on everything. Its like he has to do his homework twice, once with us and once by himself. That ladder starts to rock some.

Its been hard for us all. I feel like a cross between an UN ambassador and a attorney trying to follow protocol and document to make sure we follow the ever changing rules with one of his teachers. After a meeting I understood why he got confused I got confused and I'm a 51 year old woman. All I can say is my next stop may be Crazy Town trying to help him through this class.

The rest of the time I'm like a Roman yelling "Papers papers " at him every morning and afternoon to try and make sure he turns in his homework, lurking on the public school website to check his grades, making him get up at O dark thirty every day so he's not late, writing so many emails to his teachers they probably cringe when they get on the computer.  But most of his teachers are right there at the ladder hands out helping him to go steady glad to be there....

BUT he's a rock star. He had his first private Christmas concert with his Cello teacher and was so excited and happy and of course I was very proud of him playing the classical music and a little Christmas thrown in. He's pretty loose and easy you can tell he's having fun He has his own style as you can see and he throws a little stray cat strut in at the end of his playing.

At his schools Christmas concert it was standing room only. His Orchestra teacher obviously dotes on his" kids" and my Lord does he have a lot of them. They did a  Christmas medley really jazzy and fun , a little ditty called pepperoni, he brags about being able to just walk away and let the kids play without him they are so good at it.

All in all this trip up the ladder? Its pretty exciting. Kind of like a Charlie Chaplin movie. And I thank God everyday for the hands that steady the ladder, that pull him past the bad spots, that help him when he's tired, and cheer when he gets past a rough spot. Thank thank thank you all of you. you know who you are...


  1. The way you love that boy of yours inspires me to be a better mother. Thank you, Suze.

  2. Oh Marla you are an amazing Mom! Thank you it's nice to get props from an expert:)