Monday, January 07, 2008

I like January

I love Christmas and the holiday season, but January is really nice too. Fresh new year, time to clean things, organize, curl up in flannel sheets with a good book.... It's a month that deserves appreciation, not scorn.

After 2 weeks of break, I had lots more patience to use for the 8th graders. It may be all gone by the end of this week, but at least for today I was happy to see them again. They're fun people. It was raining today, so about 20 came into my room before school and at lunch. Sample conversation:
Kid 1 (female), to Kid 2 (male): Hey, I saw you at the mall over break.
Kid 2: No you didn't!
Kid 1: Yes I DID.
Kid 2: I didn't even go to the mall over break!
Me, to Kid 1: You must have seen someone who looked like him.
Kid 1: Poor ugly person.
Kid 2: Shut up!
:-) Groan. But it was funny! Maybe you had to be there...

Christmas break = wonderful. HH and I spent a week with my family in California, and then had a week of doing basically as little as possible. I read a book I really enjoyed: Gone, Baby, Gone, by Dennis Lehane. It was mostly a dark police detective novel, bloody but entertaining, but the ending brought up a very interesting moral quandary. (Spoiler alert, if you were planning to read it or see the recent movie) The plot centers around a kidnapped child, 4 years old, and at the very end you find out that some cops have occasionally kidnapped kids away from abusive parents, to be the children of cops and their wives who want kids but are probably too old to be allowed to adopt. This particular kid's mom is not directly abusive, but is neglectful and a drug addict, and the kid was burned, etc, in her care. So the protagonist tracks down the kid but sees her having a wonderful time with her new 'parents', getting attention and love at last. He has to decide whether or not to report the cop, sending the kid back to the uncaring mother, or let the kid stay with caring but law-breaking parents. It's very clear what the law-abiding thing is to do, but the author brings up the emotional issues in such a way as to make it a very hard decision. Anyway, I thought it was well-done and thought-provoking. It was also a necessary reminder of all the child abuse that there is in this world, both outright abuse and neglect. It wouldn't be correct to say that I enjoy being reminded of the painful realities of life, but that I appreciate the reminders. It puts my worries in perspective and reminds me to see how I can be proactive in helping those who are hurting. For a novel, I think that's time well-spent.

Till next time!