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9.27.2006

Growing Into Her Own Winter


When she misses me, my 5 yr. old cries in school.
Still unsure of the whole 'school is part of life' idea, she continues to resist.
This is payback, coming from the other side of this war.
Didn't I suggest: "act confident" to the parents of my reluctant pre-school students?
Didn't I urge parents to be Oscar-worthy actors
(look cheerful! be upbeat!) as they pried free from their pre-schooler?
Didn't I reassure parents that their precious child will be alright?
How could I have known that this is easier said than done?

Well, I have a new found respect for all parents that have done the
'chin-up,walk away' move despite their weeping child.
One such mother comes to mind.
Her son would routinely go into a convulsive wailing mode.
With variations on his techniques for resisting school
--neck clinging, full body wrap-around-the-knees, door jamb clutching, window clawing--he tugged at the heart strings.
Everyday for two weeks, his mother would gently but firmly say her goodbyes.
It wasn't like she was an old hand at this either, for Noah was (and still is) her only son.
It also didn't help that this air-saxophone playing, highly creative, and happy little boy was the center of her and her husband's universe.
No, that didn't help at all.
He finally did accept school.
Although he moved away a year later, the memory of his last day, all of us holding hands and singing his favorite song,
'(Everything I Do) I Do It for You' by Bryan Adams
( which incidentally became mine and steve's theme song...but that's another post)
is forever seared into my brain.

Today, as I 'Meryl Streep' my way through my daughter's tears and protests,
I reassure myself that she will be alright.
I tell myself that painful as this is, it is not going to hurt her.
As a way to gain strength, I decide to look up that little boy, Noah.
I am curious to see what sort of a person he has become.
I suppose I want to see if there is any apparent scarring from the traumatic beginning of his education.
I find Noah.
He is now a thoughtful, self-possessed and motivated college student in Florida.
Obviously intelligent, I find an essay he had written that won him a national award.
His own mother,a poet, writes: about my son growing into his winter.
I am somehow comforted by this knowledge.
I too, can only hope that one day, my daughter will grow into her own winter.

Kara Derthick,Julienne Demetilio,Noah Debonis,Daniel Hoffman,Monette Grajo and the exskindiver,
ICMC Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC),Morong, Bataan.1991

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Hi Teacher Chesca! (i think i'm still in the position to call you 'teacher,' i will always be your student :D)

    I found your blog when i "friendster-ed" my name, a random picture of me popped out. It sorta made me feel old :P

    How are you? seems like everything's fine :)

    See, i just got inspired to blog again hehe...

    take care

    monette grajo
    (monetgrajo@yahoo.com)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my goodness. My best friend is Kara Derthick. I just happened to google her name. Great memories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3:13 PM

    Hello teacher Chesca! I'll never be able to call you anything else... even though I'm now 20 years old and an army officer!

    Can't believe I found you! How are you these days? Kara, Noah, and I are all in contact through Facebook, maybe find us there?
    And maybe someday have a class reunion? :)

    Take care
    --Daniel Hoffman
    cactus.dh@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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