I open my eyes to darkness. I'm up before the sun. I somehow get out of bed and look somewhat presentable in somewhat business casual (whatever that means), and also make a lunch (maybe). I back out of the driveway...or attempt to. I reposition the car so i don't hit the house or the fence. Time for traffic. In Chicago it's not a matter of IF there's traffic...there will be. I zone out. I'm in San Diego on the beach. I'm at shoreclub with Simone and Shayla. Hot sand, salty water, tan skin. I'm back home with my mom and Addy drinking wine. I'm laughing with my aunt Betty in Oregon. HONK. I'm slowly drifiting in more than one way.
I get off the freeway, eventually, and park. Someone got shot a block from here last week. It's normal. I hear the beep telling me I've succesfully locked the car. It's chilly outside, and I remember everyone telling me that I don't know what cold is...yikes. Winter is coming.
Ms. Doty and I talk about the kids and their ridiculous shenanigans. How one of them is aggressive, another is on another planet, one is our favorite, and the other we could seriously all do without. At 7:50 she walks out the door while off-handedly saying, "Alright, I'm going to get the munchkins".
I have three minutes to prepare myself for the thirty first graders coming my way. I look around the room and take in the precious and peaceful serenity of silence...I will not experience this sound, or the absence of it, until five o'clock.
Although my bosses have asked me to write this blog about my experience thus far...I think about it everyday in those three minutes in that tiny kid chair( which my Kilroy backside refuses to be fit in), at that tiny kid desk which has become my official perch.
I'll be honest: Everyday is a struggle. My greatest challenge of being an Augustinian Volunteer is those three minutes. My amazing roommates ask me everyday how my day went, and I cannot put into words how much I yell and reprimand all day long. Even typing this out, I cannot begin to tell you the multitude of seemingly dramatic events that unfold throughout the day. Someone is bothering someone else. Someone hit someone else. Someone has to go to the bathroom. Someone went to the bathroom...on themselves. Someone went to the circus. Someone is crying. Someone is crying because someone else is crying. Someone literally ate a button. AND their pencil. Someone continues to say "finna" and "axe". Someone has just pushed me past my limit and I am somehow keeping my cool. The lights go off - put your head down - timeouts throughout the day.
Throughout the day I am constantly barking at kids. SIT DOWN. STAND UP. DO YOUR WORK. BE QUIET.
In those three minutes before the little munchkins/hellions enter the room, I think about what the heck I've gotten myself into.
And do you want to know the most ridiculous part?
Between the barking and yelling, I smile. These thirty little munchkins are apart of my life, and I'm apart of theirs....which to me, is coincidentally amazing. These munchkins are six or seven years old, and have already gone through too much. One kid gets too aggressive, and then cries for his mom who is dead. Another kid opens his lunch to eat a snack, and its jumbo marshmallows (I don't know why, but that struck a chrord with me). Many of them mirror the actions of their older siblings, not knowing it's completely innapropriate. I tell them to do their homework with their parents, then flush with embarrasement knowing that some of them don't have parents, and live with their grandparents. We go out to the playground and it's disgusting, but they play their little hearts out. Some of these children get dropped off at 6:30am and get picked up at 6:30pm. I drive through their neighborhoods on the way home, and I am scared for them...I am scared of the statistics. I am scared of who they will become ONLY because of their demographics.
Each one of my little munchkins makes me so angry every day, yet they somehow simultaneously are also melting my heart. I correct their sentences, and they correct my outlook on life.
Every day is a challenge. My very wise and amazing mother told me that this is a growing process, and although growing hurts, it is necessary. I thank God everyday I am so blessed to have two amazing people that I can call Mom and Dad, because some of my little ones don't even have that.
I'm supposed to just answer one question...but this is my answer to two: My greatest challenge is my greatest joy this year. These kids drive me totally insane, but just thinking about them now, I hold each and every one of them so close to my heart that it brings tears to my eyes.
Three minutes. I snapchat my sister and my best friends. I miss my ocean. I miss my friends. The first of the munchkins walks in. I put down my phone...it's not about me anymore. In those three minutes I remind myself why I'm here.
I do it for the munchkins.