If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Week As A Western Movie

The Good

I'm teaching a practicum class with both graduate and undergraduate students in my field. As a class we've been planning a large event in the community. Students had to secure space, funds, contributions, and volunteers as well as handle food and decorations. They also had to advertise and recruit participants. As a group we coordinated the entire event through class meetings and Blackboard.

The event occurred today and it went off like a charm. My students, 11 amazing young women, were awesome. The participants enjoyed themselves, learned a few things, met new people, felt pampered and appreciated, and were extremely appreciative of the all the hard work that went into the event. My students felt like they did a good job, worked well as a team, got professional experience, and made a really great day for some women who don't often get special treatment.

I felt proud.

The Bad

A few nights ago one of my colleagues, an avid bike rider and crusader for bike safety, was hit by a car while riding home from the office. The young woman who hit him was text messaging while driving. He is in the hospital with multiple broken bones, including 5 vertabrae. He is definitely improving but it will be a long recovery process. He lives alone and his family lives in another part of the country. On top of all this, it seems his elderly mother has been in and out of the hospital for most of the week, which means his sisters cannot come and take care of him.

[A small piece of good from this event is seeing how much the entire community (department, school, university) are rallying around him and helping him through this tough time. It's feels good to belong to such a supportive group.]

The Ugly

My mother was visiting this entire week. She is never an easy woman and has some serious emotional issues. I noticed when she arrived that she was in one of her "funks," not depression but rather not taking care of herself and drinking more than normal. Towards the end of her visit she manipulated b into a full-scale blow-out fight. She is known for this type of behavior, often with her sons-in-law, but b doesn't really fight with anyone and they certainly have never fought before.

The fight was, of course, over something stupid and if you followed it, which I had no choice but to do, it didn't make much sense. It escalated quickly and got really really bad. In the nine years that I've known him I have never seen b so angry. At one point I couldn't take it any longer and I just lost it. I yelled at them to stop and started crying. (I'm not someone who cries very easily or frequently.) b stopped immediately and came over to comfort me. Boy, who was also witness to this ugliness, acted like the man he has become and firmly but gently told his inebriated grandmother to stop (because she wouldn't) and then took her outside to walk around the block. Afterwards I learned he made idle conversation to divert her attention and when she wanted to continue talking about the fight he told her she could do that the next day, when she was sober.

Afterwards we all went to bed but the house was tense for the rest of her visit. She apologized in the morning but everything she said made it obvious that she just doesn't get what she did. I know she doesn't realize the damage that she has caused to her relationship with all three of us. I've seen her do things like this my entire life but it was the first time b and Boy have really experienced it up close and personal.

[The small bit of good in this was seeing how my sweet, caring, anxious little boy has grown into a mature, sensitive, and tactful man. I often wonder where he came from and how I got lucky enough to be his mom. His behavior with her and his gallantry towards me that night were really quite impressive.]

b just called from work and asked me out on a date to our favorite date restaurant. I'm happy to put this week to bed and that it is ending on such a happy note.


Hilaire said...

What a week! Congratulations on the work event!! That's wonderful.
I'm so sorry to hear about your colleague - and incensed about the person who hit him. I am am avid cyclist-commuter, and these stories make me so upset.

That sounds like a horrible family fight - what a nightmare. I'm so sorry you have to contend with the aftermath of such unpleasantness. But your son does sound like a gem.

life_of_a_fool said...

I am really touched by Boy's response! He sounds amazing. It sounds like an awful incident for all of you, but it screams great things about your immediate family!

I'm also touched that everyone is rallying around your colleague in need. Again - an awful incident, but it's nice that people are stepping up to help.

And (going through each in reverse order): kudos to you all on the event!

Enjoy your date night!

Amanda said...

It sounds like your event was lovely. I'm so proud of your students, too.

I'm sorry to hear about your colleague (however, am impressed by your department). I'm a burgeoning commuter cyclist and those kind of stories terrify me.

That evening with your mother sounds terrible. It saddens me that your mother doesn't even realize the damage she has done. But Boy does sound like he's grown up to be an outstanding man (and I'm sure his mom had something to do with it).