Monday, March 31, 2014

Brett's birthday is coming!

In a few days, I'll have an official TEENAGER in the house! He keeps insisting he's a teen, but I keep telling him it isn't official. Since I've already shared how forever Brett's birthday is linked to the NCAA championship for me, and the games on TV are making me think of it, thought I'd share another memory from my pregnancy with him.

I was probably about six months pregnant or so when I ventured to services at our then local church.  Scott was either at work, or maybe he'd just gotten home from work, in any event, I was by myself. We were still with the Catholics then, so much sitting, standing, kneeling was going on. It was the first time I'd experienced that feeling when kneeling that I might pass out, which is fairly common later in pregnancies, but it freaked me out.  I knelt there thinking, "just let me make it to communion, and I'll slink out." No such luck. The dizzy feeling got worse, and I slipped out to the room where the bathrooms led into. 

As I sat there with my head between my knees, thinking about how it was a real shame I'd left my cell phone in the car, at least three men walked past me to go into the men's washroom. It wasn't until a mom with a small infant came in that things got amped up. She immediately asked what was wrong, and I said I was six months pregnant.  She asked if I'd eaten, and I said yes. She went off in search of a cup for water.

When she returned, she was not alone.  Service had ended, and she'd grabbed the priest--Father Pat--out of the "hi, how are ya" line, who had, in turn, grabbed a parishioner who happened to be an EMT. He looked concerned, because I was stark white apparently, and he called an ambulance. Father Pat asked if my husband was home, wrote down my phone number, and went to call Scott. I later found out he told Scott not to panic, but I was feeling lightheaded, an EMT had looked at me, and he might want to come on over. We lived VERY close to church then, and when Scott came, thinking he'd simply have to drive me home, he saw what he thought was a SECOND set of of ambulance and fire truck turning down the street for the church, and he panicked.

This is when it starts to get amusing.  I'm still feeling kinda crappy, and I'm in a 10x10 room with Father Pat, the EMT member of the congregation, two additional EMTs from the ambulance, and two firefighters who were more curious than anything, since they were called in by someone from their house, not 911.  Assorted fire personnel are talking to Father Pat, who is joking with them saying "look what it takes to get you boys into church" while I'm being assessed. My harried husband walks into this mob scene. EMTs decided it was just the kneeling thing, because my BP was better, and I looked and felt FAR better.

EMTs take the stretcher they'd carried in out to the ambulance, and I walk through the beginning of the next service.  This was an older congregation, and ambulances meant serious business in their world, so every eye was on us as we exited.  I felt like doing a Vanna White wave, but I held myself back.

After that, I skipped the kneeling parts of church, Father Pat never forgot my name, and he always made it a point to ask how I was doing. I also found it a bit karmic that just as we were about to move, he switched parishes too.

In a few days, I'll tell Brett the story of the day he was born again, because he likes to hear it every year, and I'll remember that tiny baby. But I gotta say, the teen he's becoming is so much cooler.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finding a Voice

In Business Writing, I make them work in groups.  Quite honestly, it's grueling for all of us.  They hate it,a nd I'm only marginally behind.  They're worried--sometimes deservedly so--that their peers aren't pulling their share of the load, and I'm always talking someone off a ledge (or out of the class so they won't screw their group members over). But I find this an important skill for the business writing and in the business world in their near futures.

This assignment is particularly hard for women.  Maybe it's because my classes are overwhelming filled with women at Chicago State that I notice this.  Every semester I see women who don't write up group members who don't contribute.  They think they're "being nice" or "giving someone a break" by not creating a paper trail of lacking work, when they're really only creating a trail of tears for themselves and their group members. Is is because they don't want to screw others over, or is it because they don't want that responsibility on their shoulders? I don't know, but either way, they need to find a voice for themselves in the business world, where others will happily chew them up and spit them out without thinking about it.  More importantly, as women in a society that doesn't value assertive women, and values assertive women of color even less, my students have to hone that assertiveness for a professional venue.

Today, I saw a young woman come into her own.  She's a quiet one in class, but today she informed me how she delegated the work (It's her turn to be the leader), kept detailed records of someone who hasn't submitted and how she plans to write someone up, and I overheard her respectfully tell another always late student who I was a bit worried about in the group setting that she was not accepting the level of work he submitted, and it was up to him to take control of his educational experience, as she wasn't prepared to sacrifice her grade for him.

I was almost bursting with pride! When they learn to follow the process, learn to respectfully tell group members they didn't contribute, so they'll be written up, it's a good thing. She's finding that in the work world, her voice has relevance, and I like it!