Saturday, September 29, 2012

Maria's First Day

On rainy days recess was on the black top. For those of you who didn't go to my school, that meant the teacher parking lot.

This was fine with me. Part of it was painted with hopscotch squares and four squares. I had as much fun on the black top as I did on the playground.

But, I was sad for Maria. On her first day she couldn't play on the playground, and she didn't care to organize games of four square or hopscotch. She depended on me to do those things.

While I was worrying about her good time, I was surprised when the Kindergarten class filed outside. Maria was in line, wearing her favorite twirly dress. It was brown with tiny maroon flowers. And it twirled like a West Texas dust devil.

I immediately dropped the ball and ran to her, eager to bring her into my circle and show her the ropes of the black top.

But my plan was interrupted by a shrill whistle. I look up as the second grade teachers are ordering us to line up. Anxious and still determined, I run up to my teacher.

"I need to stay here and play with my sister," I announce.

She said no.

Everything inside me deflated as I turn to face my sister. She starts to cry as I am ordered to line up.

I can still see her face. The memory is sharp and still wrenches at my gut. I can see her, standing in the hopscotch squares, in her pretty twirly dress, as tears stream down her cheeks.

Walking away from her was the most torturous thing I had ever had to do.

She was fine, of course. I agonized over it for the rest of the day, but when we got home she was as happy as all get-out.

It comforted me, but did not release me from the horrific feeling of walking away from my sister when she needed me.

I was determined it would never happen again. Sometimes I set my goals way too high....

Monday, September 17, 2012

If You Can't Beat 'Em

Time goes by too fast. Too many moments zip by us, never to be experienced again. If we aren't aware, we may not realize how important certain events are.

Like lying in the grass, watching the lightening bugs twinkle and flit above you. Or rolling down the hill at Miller Outdoor Theater. Or running through the sprinklers. Or having a full team for kickball.

Those dusky summer evenings when adults sat in lawn chairs, and we ran around with water guns.

I can't get those back. They are gone...forever. Swallowed up into the gaping mouth that was Fall.

Just the word....Fall. It makes me nauseous.

Your hopes are falling. Your fun is falling. Your life is tumbling into an abyss of pencil, paper, "quiet water, still water", and math.

I think my mom forgot to tell me school was starting until she walked me to the bus stop. Maria was with us.

"Maria is starting Kindergarten today," Mom announces proudly and excitedly.

Maria is smiling, and I am looking at her like she has drunk the koolaid.

"And Kara is starting second grade."

WHAT?!!??!! Whoa, there. Slow down, boy! "What are you sayin', Mom?" I almost scream at her.

She raises a brow as if to say, "Deal with it. You'll be fine."

Oh, my Lord. It's starting again! Does it never end?

As a voice above me whispers, "No.", I realize there was nothing I could do about this hamster wheel I was on. They'd beaten me. I was a student, and I was going to school. No manner of wishin', hopin', or prayin' would change it. So, I might as well bear it.

I look down at my sister and see that hopeful gleam in her eye. She gazes up at me, unafraid because I am beside her.

Standing a little straighter, I decide I could handle anything for the sake of my sister. Even school.