Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Drawing on Roots

I've gone now. I've gotten on the plane and set off to get unknown and I'm terrified. I don't know what's going happen. The coming year is looming before me and I'm standing here, shaking like a Chihuahua from excitement and fear. I'm worried about getting along with my roommates - making friends has always been challenging for me and I always feel like there's some secret to the social scene I'm missing out on. I'm worried about figuring out the London transportation system - whenever there's something the internet can't explain, it's a cause for worry. I'm worried about setting up my bank account and managing my money - since forever I've always had a safety net where these things are concerned called Mom and Daddy. I'm worried about my first few days teaching - the "what if" list on this one is perpetual. For example, what if the students don't respect me, don't listen to me? Or what if my teaching style doesn't compute to British expectations?

The one thing I'm not worried about, however, is whether or not I'll be able to tackle this new chapter in my life and find success. I've never worried about that, not once, and there's a very, very good reason for that. Have you met my parents?

My mom is fierce and protective – total Warrior Queen – when it comes to her kids. She’d take on the Roman army in the morning and the Huns in the evening if it meant getting us something we needed and, heck, sometimes just what we wanted. Bullies, teachers, coaches, schools, school boards, ministries of education, fire-breathing dragons – she’s tackled all that and more on our behalf. And she’s kept the house clean, food in the fridges, suppers on the plate and, heck, for a hobby she redesigned her church’s sacrament preparation program. To say nothing of what she went through with our attitudes, be it my sister’s temper, my sarcasm (Oi – don’t go giving me that look; downplaying is a writer’s privilege) or my brother’s crudeness. Plus our medical problems, which were far from few. Plus volunteering at our schools. Plus just hanging out with us in between everything else. If my siblings and I weren’t living proof to the contrary, I’d think she was a machine.

And then there’s the other half of me – my dad. Also known as the guy who works nine hour days as a mechanic at a car dealership and goes into work in the middle of blizzards to do snow removal, all so that his son can have soccer practice, his daughter could have a car and his eldest (that would be me, btw) could, oh, jump a plane to London for a year or two. He also does all the house and car repairs himself, a jack of all trades by necessity – the repairman budget was the first to go. There was never anything we wanted we couldn’t have sooner or later; he always did his damnedest to make sure our childhoods would be just as fun and memorable as our friends.

Now, just imagine tossing all these character traits together in a bottle, shaking it up, and squirting out three kids. You’ve got to figure the result to be pretty stubborn, not to mention determined. Even if she doesn’t quite realize it yet.

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