Common Core. Apple core. Garbage. Yes, that is how I feel about Common Core, as does my teenage daughter and according to her, all of the teachers at her high school. There was a story about it on NPR this morning. The 14 year old picked up on it and started to go on and on about how stupid it was. Just one more way to professional education “experts” to justify their existence and drive teachers nuts. She said her math teacher said it is confusing and a horrible way to teach math. She said the teachers in general go back to using the old books and refuse to use the Common Core Curriculum. More money wasted. Just let teachers teach and believe me schools would improve. Let good teachers continue to be good teachers.
As we sat in traffic in front of the school and finished up discussing curriculum blunders we saw something curious. A boy was riding his bike with half a watermelon in one hand. I just assumed it was for an end of year classroom party. Then he took out a spoon and started to eat. Wow. That was new. We had to laugh. I have never seen anyone ride a bike while eating half a watermelon with a spoon.
Two more days left of school for the girl child. The man child has graduated and I still feel a skip that starts my heart beating when I think about it. I’m so proud but my stomach is knotted up like so many rabid bats. He already wants to go to Target to get supplies for his dorm room. Last night we, as a family, all watched Monster University together. It was super cute. I know my son would win the scare contest hands down (or fangs down in his case.) On the other hand… college is going to be scary enough, not for him but for me, his mom.
Motherhood is a demanding job but I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I’ve always tried to imagine my own mother and her brood of four sons and one daughter. She was always so calm and collected. She’d listen quietly like a wise sage when we’d speak to her and then keep discussions to the point. Our house was like Bedlam with the noise of the children and my father with his loud laugh and love of entertaining. Behind my mother’s calm was always a cold passion of a Vampire set on raising us to be the future leaders of the Modern Vampire movement. She never imagined anything like Common Core or dress codes and the length of shorts or SAT tests and smartphones and the rise of Vampires in popular fiction. I doubt if she even imagined airplanes and cars, much less blogs and the Internet.
Musing on my family and kids I went to the old Victorian building my brother Val and I own. He keeps his office there and also have an office I occasionally use. We don’t share the vast old space with anyone else. It’s a Vampire thing or more so it is our thing,
Val wasn’t in but sitting at my large desk, his feet up and eyes closed was my brother Max.
I cleared my throat. He slowly opened his eyes and smiled at me. A smile from my most serious of brothers (I have four) can be a rare thing. He’d let his dark hair grow long enough to fall on his forehead. He brushed it back with a hand and showed his glowing white fangs. Most Vampire women, and all regular human women (and men for that matter) would be swooning at this point – a point that can be annoying for me because I am his sister. They just can’t keep their eyes off of this magnificent creature. Sigh.
“Fancy meeting you here. I thought you were off on a mission,” I said. He’s told me last week after the graduation that he was going to be doing something with some Vampire Hunters who were on our side – meaning they don’t go after our kind, just the nasty crusty moldy rouge Vampires who lurk around in the shadows like diseased rats.
He got up and came over to give me a kiss on my cheek. “We’re done,” he said with no additional detail. I didn’t ask for anymore. We spoke a bit about or brothers and my children and our parents. It was the usual type of family conversations everyone has.
Then he put his hand on my arm and said, “I wanted to ask you for a favor dear Juliette.”
I knew better than to answer with “no problem, anything for you Max.” I don’t care if he is my eldest brother and my husband’s best friend.
I never know what he wants. It could be anything from ridding the world of a rogue Vampire he doesn’t have time to deal with or helping him write a love letter to some bitch of a Vampire who will inevitably break his cold foolish heart. He might ask me to sew him a cape or do his laundry or drive a car down to San Diego with a Zombie in the trunk. A few years ago he asked me to plan a party at his house with a clown theme. He has asked me to introduce him to Werewolves and women and politicians and priests. In the past he has asked to borrow my clothes for women he knows. I’ve done hours of research for him. He has asked me to drag coffins out of crypts. I once ended up keeping a live bear for him in my garage for a weekend. My brother has asked me to play cards with a Goblin (I refused.) He has asked me to pretend like I’m his girlfriend and pretend I’m not a Vampire and act like I’m crazy depending on the situation. I never know what he’ll ask or who or what he’ll ask me to do it with.
“What?” I gave him the look. You know the look.
“What yourself. Why the look?”
“Max, oh brother of mine, do you realize how busy I am?”
“Of course. Have I ever asked you to do anything unreasonable?”
All the time. I took a deep breath. “What can I help you with dear Max?”
“I’m teaching a class this summer. I’d like you to come give a talk on tactics to prevent new and young Vampires from going rogue. You’re the best I know on both counts.”
I told him I’d be honored. And I was. I am. How nice. Still I wonder if any strings will be attached or if the one talk will end up being several or … the list could go on for another 698 words. But you know, that really doesn’t matter.
We ended up having lunch with a couple of lobbyists (A+ and O+) before I had to get back to work. On the walk back to my office I started to think of what I’d say on the talk. I tried to stay in the shadows of the sidewalk but didn’t mind the sunlight. Yes, my brother tires me out but sometimes he is also a little bit of sunshine, or I should say a bit of moonlight in my busy life. And despite my frantic moments I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I can be thankful that my life isn’t one of a teacher who has to deal with things like “Common Core.” I’d rather have a Zombie in my trunk.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman