Monday, April 19, 2010

On Rendering Me Speechless (Or, I must have done something good)

Happy Monday to you all! Before I start today's scheduled entry, I must first give thanks and toot my own horn (which is really what today's post was about anyway)...

First thanks: To Lola at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword for giving me the Butterfly Award.

Despite the grammatical error in the award's description (no fault of Lola's, I'm sure), it is an honor. I know we're supposed to pass these awards on, but since this one is not specific (like awards for commenting, or creativity, or humor, etc.), I choose not to single anyone out as being the coolest blog on my blogroll. I chose to follow you ALL for a reason.

Now for tooting (my horn, silly): I'VE HIT 50 FOLLOWERS! Strangely enough, I never had the goal of having a bunch of followers because I feel obligated to follow everyone back, and I'm not that good of a multi-tasker. Still, I'm thrilled. And in true going-against-the-grain spirit, I will not hold a contest. (Mostly because I have nothing good to give away right now.)

Instead I will ask those who comment on this post to include a made-up definition of the word verification "word" that appears when you respond. I will include these in my next post as part of the New Blogger Dictionary, co-authored by Wendy Ramer and her followers. Sound like fun? I hope so.

OK, time for a here we go. 

Last Thursday was a remarkable day. I'm only posting about it now because I had already prepared a post for that day. So here's my story.

It all started when my nine-year-old daughter came down the stairs, presumably to have breakfast and get ready for school. Instead, the first words out of her mouth were a series of questions fired off one after the other:

"Why do all living things have to die?
Why can't they live forever?
Why do some people live longer than others?
Why do some medicines work on some people but not on others?"

Oy! Now I know why my mother always drank coffee first thing in the she could deal with the myriad of out-of-left-field questions I must have thrown at her. Since my daughter is very much like me, I suddenly realize the steamroller effect I must have had on my mother.

Anyway, I was speechless. So before tackling my daughter's questions, I asked her a much simpler one: "What's on your mind, sweetie?"

Turns out she was thinking about our cat, Pluto, who died about a year ago at the tender age of four.
Diabetes had suddenly attacked his system, and within one month - despite immediate vetinerary care and insulin - his organs shut down completely. Since my daughter doesn't believe in God (see past post: On Coexisting), all her questions were thrown at me. And despite my bumbling answers, my daughter seemed content and a bit more relaxed. I felt I handled the whole thing rather well...for not being God, that is.

I went to work feeling quite proud of myself. I had no idea that my ego had much more inflating to go through until one of my students answered the following question (to practice Unreal Conditionals in Grammar class): If you could have another person's brain, whose brain would you want?

The first student chose Abraham Lincoln and followed up with her valid reasons. Then came the guy I will now affectionately refer to as Golden Boy, who said, "If I could have another person's brain, I would choose yours, Professor."

Oh me, oh my! I was momentarily rendered speechless for the second time in the same day, and I'm sure I also blushed. Finally, I composed myself and asked why.

The answer? (Keep in mind this is a class of second language learners - ESL - so their priorities may surprise the average student.) "Because you are intelligent, funny, and you speak very well."

But you forgot beautiful and a remarkably talented writer. Still, I was touched. And once again speechless.

To finish it all off, when I picked my daughter up from school, she hugged me (unsolicited!) and told me I was a good mommy. If you understood how infrequently I receive such praise from said daughter, you would appreciate how I found myself speechless for the fourth (and, thank God, final) time that day.

I'm not sure what I've done lately to deserve such accolades, but in the words of Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music, Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.


  1. Congratulations on the award - sounds like you had a very fulfilling day!

  2. That "Golden boy" is certainly a charmer.

    As to children, mine frequently leave me speechless. Either, by asking multiple in depth questions, or by never shutting up so I simply can't get a word in.


    Publish or Perish

  3. Al~I feel your pain. I was the same way. In fact, I'm waiting for my mother to comment on this post and note that I am NEVER speechless.

  4. Don't you love days like this? As for the butterfly award, my son spent 2 years in Japan, and kept sending us samples of how they would write English copy. It was always so charming, yet odd. This reminds me of it.

  5. I'm trying to comment again - this time I'll save before Blogger eats it!

    Word verification is impol, or it was when I previewed!

    Impol:1) Textspeak for impolite 2) The Instant Messenger Secret Police 3) Anything scuzzy

    I'm glad you had so many nice compliments today!

  6. Congrats on your award. It's very cool. And I wanted to let you know I'm here following you from Jackee's blog. :)

  7. Awww, it sounds like you deserve some horn-tooting time! :-)

  8. Hello! Found you via Winded Words. :)

    That is a lovely photo of Pluto to remember him by. And it is great you dealt with the questions in a manner that reassured your daughter, such a hard thing to explain.

    Hm. My word verification was coitted. Let's see (turns to alien langauge dictionary)

    Coitted. vb. To coit. This is the real description for when you go to cut paper with scissors but your scissors just glide through, so you don't cut the page, you coit it.

  9. Nice post! I think you handled that barrage of questions very well.

    Found you through Lola's blog and I'm so glad she posted about you! You've got a new follower in me - I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    My word was "comake", which obviously means to collaborate on making something ("Hey, wanna comake these cupcakes with me?"). :D

  10. Welcome to SarahJayne, Jayne, and B. Miller!

    And thanks to Fairyhedgehog, Jayne, and B. Miller for playing Alien Dictionary! Hopefully a few more will play along and I can "comake" this dictionary and publish here at On 'n On 'n On.

  11. Oh wow, kids have a way of really cutting to the chase, don't they? I have a 4 year old, and I'm often surprised by his questions and comments. It's almost as if they spend their nights thinking up ways to stymie us with amazing things. I'm totally stealing your answer "What's on your mind, sweetie?" for the next time my kid gets me.

  12. Congrats on your award! Lola is a gem, isn't she?

    Sorry about your cat. I still miss the family dog we had and she's been gone now over 10 years. I do, however, believe we reunite with our pets in heaven, some day. :)

  13. Congrats on the award!

    I love sometimes how children don't know the concept of filter. It is refreshing, astonishing and wonderful to sometimes see only truth in life.

    great post!

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  14. It's so nice to hear about your uplifted day! Your daughter sounds like a sweetie!

    We adopted a kitten knowing he was feline leukemia positive. In talking it over with the kids, they had lots of questions about his certain and impeding death. I think having pets is one of the best ways to open a dialog with children about life, and how it ends. We were all sad when we lost little James, but the kids really learned a lot from the experience.

    I can't wait to buy your books, Wendy! :)

  15. Moments like those make life worthwhile. I just thought of that lyric from The Sound Of Music the other day. You have an award at my blog.:)

  16. Oh yes, and Blogger was acting up when I commented before, making me forget my word verification definition. Hang on, my word is....

    ...Neddis: An insult directed at annoying people named Ned.


  17. Nicole~ I'm impressed that you would knowingly adopt such a sick kitty. Wow. But you're right that pets serve to teach the life/death lesson, hopefully before kids have to experience it with people. And please let me know when you get my books. I'd love to hear your feedback...really.

    Roxy~ Aw, shucks!

  18. Wendy, I commented on this post a couple days ago...apparently it was gobbled by the blogger-goblin. Sorry. *pout*

    I don't remember precisely what I said, but here's the gist:

    Nah, I didn't create that award, thus I have no fault in its grammatically erroneous nature. But, you being the grammar teacher, I thought you might find it amusing. And, it's pretty.
    You deserve pretty awards, and link love. :o)

    I'm glad you had a day of Julie Andrews-ness. I hope there was twirling and singing on grassy knolls involved.

    Kids. You gotta love 'em.

  19. Lola~ I knew the award had been passed onto you by someone else, so no finger-pointing going on here. As for my Julie Andrews grassy knolls - just that warm von Trapp feeling.

  20. As one lurker to another...that was a beautiful story. You have to ride those emotional waves when you can...because the tide will roll out again before you know it!! :)

    PS. Thanks for the comment!