because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Letter to My 12th Grade Son, 3 Months Before He Graduates High School

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Dear TechSupport:

You used to shout at your friends before playing Capture The Flag.

“No burying the flag.”

“No jailbreaks.”

“My house. My rules.”

My son, you love rules.

But over the last few years, you’ve had to accept that man-made laws are not perfect.

Because people are imperfect.

Each night, you watch the news and shake your head.

Now you understand people create laws that can lead to atrocities of human suffering.

Know the question to ask yourself is always: “Would I want this to happen to me or someone I love?” Know also that the answer to this question connects you to the deepest place in your heart as well as all of humanity.

I remember you, slim and long, holding a saber in your hand. Moving with a sense of purpose, you lunged and parried and reposted. This sport – a maddening game of mental chess — requires patience, athleticism, chivalry and grace.

Know that you possess all of these qualities.

That you are able-bodied and strong.

Even if you never fence again.

Know the question to ask yourself is always: “How can I use my strength to help others?”

I’ve always known you’re wicked smart. I’m not bragging. I’m just quoting from the comments that your teachers have made over the years.

Student is a critical thinker.

Student asks important questions.

Student is a leader.

Though I’m forever encouraging you to go with your gut, you’re a scientist, analyzing situations from every viewpoint and trying to make the best, most rational decision you can.

Dude, I don’t understand how you got 100% on the Integrated Algebra Regents.

I mean, I know that you did it.

But you know how I feel about numbers.

To me, numbers are the enemy of words.

But you see magic in numbers.

You love the number 8 because it’s even.

Because it is divisible by 2 and 4, both of which are even numbers.

Because the number is made of two circles. And circles have no sides.

And infinite sides.

If you tip over the number 8, it becomes a pair of glasses.

And the symbol for infinity.

You love how infinity goes on forever.

Like Pi.

Believe me, I’m over the moon that you’ve made friends with numbers.

Please, just don’t become obsessed with 100.

Know that greatness is not about always having the right answer or pleasing others. That greatness is about asking important questions and doing what is right and good, even if you have to stand alone.

{That said, it’s okay to let other people hide the flag in a non-obvious location during Capture the Flag. Seriously, Bubba. It’s a game. Not the time to take a stand. Pick your battles.}

At the end of this academic year, you’ll be heading off to summer camp.

And then to college.

I’m already grieving losing you.

I’ve hardly had time to make sense of it.

I think it started the day I realized you are taller than I am.

Of course, I’m here for you.

But you’ve gotten quieter, less interested in sharing your words with me.

You hand me a Rubik’s cube and tell me to mess it up.

Your fingers touch mine for a nanosecond before you pull away.

I get it.

You’re expending your energy elsewhere these days.

These days you’re probably thinking about that girl and how she uses a green headband to keep her hair off her neck.

Stuff like that.

How did we get here?

Wasn’t I just cleaning up spilled Goldfish crackers and taking care of ouchies.

Explain to me how we got here, my number loving son.

And tell me that I did a good enough job.

That all the formulas worked.

You’ve been on this earth for 6430 days.

I’m paying close attention because I get it now.

This time won’t last forever.

I want you to know that you, my son, have been my greatest teacher.

But can I tell you just one thing?

People don’t ring the doorbell asking you to hang out because they want to see me. They don’t cheer your name when you walk into a room because they like the shirt you’re wearing. They do these things because you are that guy: the one who builds people up and makes them feel accepted and loved. You make weird card games fun.

You win with humility and lose with grace.

Except when it comes to Capture The Flag.

Dude, that game is your undoing. Cut people some slack. Seriously.

I know that’s more than one thing.

Do me a favor and cut me some slack, too.

Love,

Mom

Change Is A Comin’!

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Still no word from Temple, Texas on the status of my hard-drive.

Maybe it might be deemed undead by Halloween?

But I’m not holding my breath.

In fact, I’m moving forward in the wake of my heinous computer crash.

As promised, change is a comin’.

First Things First.

You regulars may have noticed that I have changed the name of my blog.

I know, some of you are yawning.

Like big whoop.

But I had to make that decision before I could make other decisions.

When I was still deciding if I should keep the name Teachers & Twits, I asked TechSupport for his opinion.

Tech said:

“Mom, everyone knows you by Teachers & Twits. It’s your brand. You can’t change it now.”

(I swear, he said it just like that. He actually said “brand,” leading me to believe he has been reading Kristen Lamb’s blog?)

I understand what he means.

I’m definitely a firm believer that anyone can be a teacher (or a twit) on any given day.

I mean that was the premise of this blog in the first place.

But other folks suggested I blog under my own ridiculously long name.

Many bloggers do that: authors & writers I respect.

I’m trying to grow my freelance career.

Eventually, I will have a book.

(It is scheduled to be released moments before Hell freezes over. But still.)

No, seriously.

I want people to recognize my ridiculously long name.

So I hope you like the changes you are starting to see.

And writing under my own name doesn’t mean I can’t have a cool tagline.

Because life doesn’t fit in a file folder fits.

Now I can write about anything, which feels liberating.

Hopefully, you will continue to think of me as that hot girl with the sparkly glasses.

And the hair.

Who uses all those words.

Wait, you don’t think I’m hot?

Did you not see THIS?

Listen, I won’t always be in the classroom.

So it makes sense to drop the teacher part of things.

And while I may do some goofy things and enjoy a little naughty wordplay, I’m not a twit.

I never was.

Get psyched to be part of the changes.

A new header is a comin’.

Get ready to exercise your right to vote.

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