Burnt Marshmallows and Sticky Finger Pointing


jet-puffed      adj. quick to  +  pride     (alternativedefinitionsbymermaid.dictionary.com)

I sometimes bring treats to share with my students at snack time. One day this generosity turned blunder. I made a meandering from row to row to row in sharing with the seated quiet ones. This met with great enthusiasm from one tiny snake charmer in the back row who will not stay seated most days, and likely needs a Swiss ball alternative to seating. Ha ha…I confiscated a small super bouncy ball from him that morning.

In this serpentine, I wrongfully accused two students of lieing about getting a snack. Sometimes nine year olds, especially boys, do this jokingly in an attempt to get more of the sweet. Common occurrence. This was not what was happening though.

This day it was mini marshmallows, a favorite of most of my children, if you don’t count the time I overdosed them in math by tasking with jet puff counters. That day, they ate more than they counted and many of the children wanted to vomit from the sickly sweetness in knee-jerk running out to recess. Actually, this was the one and only time they did not run madly down the hall toward release! Hah! Perhaps I am on to the discovery of a full and certain respectful recovery for a few favorite boy derelicts in over dosing them mini-marshmallows more regularly. Keeper? No. A new and different Respect Campaign, unlike my Texan Profe’s anti-racism one. Valuable, just as well.

So with this sad day behind me, I moved on to another new sad one of becoming the accused. I paused to see the consequence of my own thoughtless, premature, hurtful words. A weakness. I moved toward recompense even if I was debtor to nine year olds. I am not greater than these.

On this day of accusation, on which I sentenced dishonesty no less than two times before I realized that one of my dear boy’s eyes were pinking up to brimming with tears, and dry throat with sudden frequent swallowing. I know the feeling. I instantly knew I was wrong and so I was compelled to apologize immediately and repeatedly for the erred assumption. Simple mistake. You would think. Nope. The complicated truth is I had forgotten to give them any snack at all….probably because they were not seated. And the reason why they were not seated….they were doing some kindness for me. Not even sure what this was. I was stupid. I am frequently this thing, mingled with promised genius.

It did not take long to realize that this wrong was doubley wrong in their state of actual goodness, and I was reduced to worm entrails and droppings fit for a Sage lesson of Soil Science. Yet another cycle. Yet another test.

I am sure regret showed on my face and resounded in my voice. Their acceptance of this remorse gave little reassurance that the worm work was good for my soul soil in the long run. I felt the pain of the damned as this feeling became ten times magnified. I desperately needed aeration amid a down pour flooding. Still, on the side walk in my vulnerable wriggly worm state, they dismissed the wrong and forgave me quickly as I poured out a generous amount of forsake, forget, and fix… in the form of an extra large portion of mallows into their 4th grade cupped hands.  Wish other mistakes could be fixed as simply.

But it was too late. Damage done to them and to me. I was burnt in burning these boys. This was hard to swallow and left me feeling as sticky as the mini marshmallows in a hot car. Sigh. Eventually let it go. They let go too- more quickly than I did.

So yesterday when I heard my name called by one in authority, I was more prepared for the unquestionable other shoe to drop….again in already having been pre-humbled by my students and in seeing into the fishbowl. Yes, for the reasons mentioned already, but for other more recent special wrongs done that mostly remain unnamed and unqualified. Another unwelcome trip to the office by me. And again, in hind sight, the visit made me better able to empathize with the accused and want to help them in better modeling respect.

Respect absolutely necessary in relationships, classrooms, schools.  Disrespect a great sin, again, and again, so it seems.

This time I was reeled into what soon materialized as “finger pointing” by phantom accusers. I was quite miffed as I had not heard of the majority of the disrespectful accusations against one of the marshmallowers, and a couple others…which in time felt like a shoe fitting fit for me as well in being tied to the thing. I wondered why in frustration, the accuser had not come to me. Fear. Insecurity? Cop out to complaints to the boss. I think I would have gone to the source…maybe.

I questioned to no avail….the who, the what, but mostly the “how” to near the “why” as I do. And even though the subject of the discussion was students, in reality, I soon became the subject and the accused. This felt wrong in me becoming more ambushed by sticky finger pointing and by a stressed out specialist. In my mind I reached for “What did I do?” I was confused.

In what way was I disrespectful? Why was my management in question? I don’t think I was participant to this thing. Was I? In the end I felt more like the one in question than the boys. This was wrong, I think. Why wasn’t the classroom management of the accuser being taken to task? What had I done so wrong in being made out the persecuting extension of my students? I had not idea. Vague. But true….I do struggle with promptness.

And so, I tried to see things another way. I showed stregth in becoming the weak thing. I turned toward…..okay, what CAN I do to help students and other instructors. Of course, from another perspective, this was likely the only course of action to take. Disrespect is not something to trifle with, any more than authority, regardless of a clear or cloudy head. And so I resigned to humbling and being dosed problem solving, and maybe even muscle flexing from one I respect most and care for.

Looking back this all makes me both ill and aware of the weakness of all, myself included. Weakness of some of my students, and I suppose weakness of myself… in the end toward commitment to change and new found value in renewing respect. Even value in typed directives of sort. Lightning Zing. Message received. Zapped.

A blog friend, who reads incessantly, recently told me of a protagonist in D. H. Lawrences’s Rainbow. This woman looked for freedom “outside of humanity.” She didn’t really like people. She thought she was better than everyone and shouldn’t have to do mundane things. So the beauty in nature was her key to her freedom. Or so she thought. Could humanity be a symbol of a system of rules?

I have to wonder if this character is me. However, I don’t dislike people. Actually, I want to love all people. They disappoint me though and few ever love me.   I wonder why they dislike me.  To love in spite of this, and because of this even is the higher road. Maybe. Silence? What road is the silent one  and where does it go? Is it silent in few taking it? Pehaps they just tread more lightly than I do.

Do I think myself better than everyone and that the rules do not apply? This is the perception of me by others, I fear. Rules in terms of letter of the law or the spirit of the law, I ask? I am mostly not a letterer…mostly a spirit er when I am not being mostly unintentionally callous in dry, to cracking, cutting wit in joking and writing.  More recently leaning toward whining. Hm.

I am a rule breaker, but I mean no harm in this.  Still I incur damage.

This same book character sought freedom outside of well established rules….rules largely understood by mostly everyone but herself. Sounds like me alright.

Again, I wonder if I am in a way this protagonist that Lawrence uncovers. I don’t know without reading more of this work. I do know that on sunny days, I go running with a weak ankle and love it! I embark on back roads with my dogs, and mountain adventures looking for answers and even God in nature to sooth my damned soul…..and much of this damnation likely dosed by my own restless mind. Nature is the closest thing I find to a forgiving loving God and Jesus….the closest thing to humanity too.

This novel woman looked upon rainbows. I sing and look “Over the Rainbow” toward dreams for answers and relief. Perhaps this is not real enough, but I do love the way Jewel sings it as a lullaby. I relaxes me to the feel of a Downy soft fuzzy sweater and new skin….soft words. Where do I turn for peace? Humanity? Try. Fail. God? Try. Fail. God? Try. succeed. God? What’s left? Science? Reality? Sleep? Must take more naps. Best motives toward Christlike service. Yes. Gratitude. Yes. L O V E!

From the inner workings of my mind and heart….there is little escaping the accountability I am given by authority and by the judge in my own head. I shuffle through a deck of Don Miguel Ruiz Fifth Agreement Affirmation Cards for answers between Parent Teacher Appointments. I breath and drink cool water. I read and write seeking wisdom from within and without, but it mostly doesn’t stick. I hope toward audience from wiser ones than myself. Mostly turned away….not alwuz. Does it matter…..if I can but be authentically me?

Most mornings I pray tearfully in my Pearl in my parking space in the pink of an early sunrise, and through the revvings and exhaust of parked, unloading school buses. Trying not to throw myself under one, and kicking a stray bouncy ball, I stagger under the burden of heavy loaded satchel, purse, lunch, and other items meant for students and weekly prize drawings. Still, mustering hope and smiles as I step into happy hallways and into “Hellos,” the arms of hugs from children, warm greetings and warm copies at the Xerox machine. At the end of the day collapse and try to debrief toward positivity before counting sheep.

The little lambs at school are the blood and body of Christ. Pure hearts and charitable reminders of my purpose to serve and to Come Unto Him. Just say Jesus, another morning of trying to do good in instruction, in loving appropriately, in behalf of children (the true motive and reason for my existence here) and hopefully toward fruits better fit than the day before.

All of this from an inward place of Brave damned nation that I perpetuate. Some days….this is quite depressing. Others, I put on my best swag and smile in order to survive the consequences I have incurred. Not sure how this makes things better, but I want to be and do better. Underneath… still sad, but trying toward happier and more smiles….the smiles I once knew, and long for. How to make it all better is what I seek. This is lonely.

I sometimes try too hard into more failing. Or go home to late nights of pointless, endless blogging therapy…..that only seem to make things worse in expressing my pain and truth, occassional rare celebrations. All in all this seems to put off or bore readers. In the end blogging results in making a vacuum…one of those bag-less, air tunnels that need changing, and get your hands all dirty. Orek, or “Yuck!” Until, I think the answer may simply be found in silence…..

Silence. This threatens an almost sure extinction of self though….and is untrue to my truest self. It is a vicious cycle really….and undermines physical health in the obsession, as much as the writing does. With few internal or external good samaritans stepping forward, and God and Jesus mostly staying inside a voice box in my Dear Pearl car, or in a styrofoam take-out box from a local Chinese Full House in the musical memory of my mind. Sometimes abdominal cramping from rich food, finds form in a food allergy, or HMGs, and in fortune-less fortune cookies that cause paper cuts and squabbling daughters.

And so I turn to thinking more on mini-marshmellows and sticky finger pointing that could make a pretty neat Wingers T-shirt. And if not this shirt then another. From a distance of ten miles from home, at the closest Starbucks, I sometimes buy salted caramel hot chocolate for my health code observing girls. For myself, I increasingly, more openly, buy the occasional small blonde, pour over, three pump mocha chocolate misto coffee with extra whipping cream. Goes down nicely…..and then makes my mentally more quick towards shaky. Caffeine twitchy.

Smile to a fellow coffee mate who is waiting in a bright yellow ski coat, with squinting crows feet smile. The stranger offers me a foldable cardboard insulator ring. This could be a consumable My Math page, or simply designed to take the heat off the blessed cup of coffee for carry-out. In turn, he volunteers a small, green plastic push-pin of sorts.

Stopper?” he aks.

I say “Thank you,” and add

I am unstoppable.” 

He smiles kindly and replies, “Have a good night.”

I leave the establishment for the cold night air.

Perseverance. I am learning to be word wise. Or maybe not wise. Perhaps more common in learning a core belief. Or just learning the word in my world like Word Girl. A cartoon super hero like the Mermaid I would love to be in Cos Play at Commic Con. 🙂

I hear and feel a dumb phone somewhere in my purse innards vibrating. I don’t bother to answer though, because the touch screen does not track any longer and will not allow my answering half the time. It is out of sync and would do just as well being dropped in a sink of soapy suds. We are good purse partners.

I think I want to upgrade to a Smart phone. My little seester, who has a chicken wire chicken coop storage unit in an ungodly basement dirty crawl space calls me rom this creep-ville. More often on the home phone now, asks

What kind of smart phone are you getting?

What?” To which I reply, “What I really need is a Wise Phone.”

She laughs. I am as Serius as my waiting Pearl in an icy parking lot, and the satellite programming she promises in songs of salvation and the Message.

“’Unstoppable,’ what mean you by this word, grasshopper?” Yoda asks.

This is a lot like asking, “Green, what color it is?” and this of a blind person who has never seen color. I am at times difficult to follow. Yes. It is likely incomprehensible, just what I mean.

And so I answer, “It means I don’t quit.”

Not sure I am good quiting. Not sure I am good at not quiting. Everything = pain. It sure would be nice to take a rest though, I think. How do I do this? Maybe there is one who would take my yolk and love me anyway. Maybe there is more than one, if I would but open my blind eyes, and lick my sticky marshmellow fingers to clean thoughts and and cleaner actions, and see people a bit more kinder and gentler a species.

Maybe….if I could see others motives more toward kind, and less the sticky finger pointing. Maybe. Maybe…..I don’t take polishers well but I am learning in the practice. Take and give sparkly stars better. This more a strength of mine. But how to earn these coveted clip-it rewards that students flock to me for and love to cash in at last recess in asking for a well deserved fifteen star reward. Increasingly they ask for sticky men to toss to the ceiling cemetery, or a soda pop, to crack off the tab to cool fresh release.

I think I need to crack a smile, or joke toward laughter, or lighten up like the new self help read suggests in mapping out inner strengths and weaknesses. I imagine a handful of mini-marshmellows, these joys and sugary bite size babies from a bloated store-bought Kroger bag. I imagine tossing one or two up into the starry, icy parking lot sky, and with closed eyes, catching them in my mouth the first time I attempt this. Cheer!

I imagine a class of nine year olds erupting in celebratory cheers for this feat, and maybe for this engaged enthusiastic learning outcome. I imagine this eliciting a kind look from the back of a welcoming classroom. Eye contact from clear, blue eyes, slight head cock, playful shoulder shrug, and smile from someone who takes notice of my trying. My imagining is enough, and sometimes my only relief.

Reserved, real or not, I think this somehow appropriate. In both my humbling and in my sometimes joyful not-quitting. I am persevering.


About hrobertson2013

“Each man ( and mermaid) will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land”. Isa 32:2 NIV Warning: The author of this blog is not an ordinary individual. Even Mermaids need a rest from all that's real and grown up. Welcome to the wonder of blog. Come be audience to all that's wet and wild in her stories, poems and thoughts. Instructor by day, super hero by night, and mystical mermaid by summer. Whenever she has the fortune of diving into a pond, reservoir, or mountain waterfall, you'll find her there swimming, and singing songs of life.
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