Today is my last lecture for a class I am teaching. I can't wait. They are stupendous students, but I'm ready to be done. To add to the end of the semester lunacy, I got a call from our department secretary today, asking me about a certain student. Was I aware of his issue? Lemme guess, I said, is it Ben (not his real name, of course)? Lemme guess. He has Asperger's and didn't tell me about it? This is my second student with Asperger's who hasn't approached me about their learning disability. I don't think the first one was ever diagnosed. I think people just thought he was a turd. Now, this poor kid in my class is one of those students that whenever he raises his hand, the rest of the class audibly groans. He's socially inappropriate, more than a tad rude, and the worst kind of rambler. Apparently, with good reasons, which he can't help. He hasn't handed in any assignments and the last time I saw him in class was when he corrected my spelling on the board in the middle of class, which I attempted to laugh off as a result of my complete inability to spell my own name on a good day, but resulted in people behind him saying things like "You have GOT to be kidding me" and "SHUT UP" loudly enough for him to hear. I felt awful. And at the same time, as much as I despise admitting it, I thought to myself in my own head "You have GOT to be kidding me." And then I felt awful again. I hate to flunk anyone who doesn't deserve it. I am, I think, a very fair grader and try to write very straight-forward exams. I am also a bit of a push-over. Shocking, I know. I want to help this kid out. I don't want to be just one more person to sweep him under the rug or ignore his problems and hope he'll go away. Looking back, I wish I would have approached him earlier. Yet, I also have to remember I'm my students' teacher, not their shrink or social worker, a line that tends to be a bit blurred with me. I'm meeting with him tomorrow. Wish me luck.
So, Christmas is, what, twenty days away? If you'll excuse me, I must go vomit. I am stupid enough to have committed to making many of my gifts. 'Cause I have all the time in the world, you know, and the stamina of Richard Simmons on speed. My dad's and aunt's are done, but I still have a buttload of work to do on everyone else's. My husband and I agreed to forgo gifts for each other this year, and my BFF and I set reasonable limits this year. The two people I actually LOVE to shop for. I did find myself at Kohl's at 7:15 this morning to take advantage of their 50% off sale and snagged three cool, chunky, plastic trucks for Animal, all for less than $4 each. Sweet.
Speaking of Christmas stress, my parents and youngest brother are coming for the holiday. This itself is a good thing. Two years ago, two short months after I got married, the same three people came to Connecticut for Christmas. I got the best holiday gift a person could ask for that year-a kidney stone-and wasn't up to travelling to Pennsylvania. Depending on the cycle of visitation of my brothers and their families, there are years that most of my siblings are not with my parents. That was one of those years, so they came this way. It was a total pissing power match between my husband in his new home and with his new family and my mother, who is a total control hog (much like myself) but nothing but WELL-MEANING. She comes to visit, armed with food and planned meals because she does not want to be a burden. She cooks and cleans and brings gifts and things she thinks would be of interest and use. Most normal people would love that. My husband really wanted it to be done his way (or at least OUR way), which I understand, in his own home. Since then, I hope they have come to an understanding. At least somewhat. Our apartment is small and filled with toys as it is. Add a Christmas tree and even more toys and gifts and three extra adults and I fear my husband will snap again. Or maybe it'll be me this time. Or maybe we'll be so full of freakin' Christmas cheer that all will be swell. That's my Christmas wish.