If we were having coffee, I’d try to take a nice deep breath and relax while you’re here. But I’d have to admit that I’m feeling the press of time’s passage, today, and apologize for the fact that I’m rather scattered and rushed today.
In order to get some things done, and hopefully with some sense of relevance, I’m making this post due triple duty, or maybe even a little more than that. It’s my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, which makes allowances for the scattered and unedited nature of this post. Today’s prompt is “class.”
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I loved school. It was there that I first learned about Alexander Hamilton – that he was a Founding Father, the first Treasury Secretary, and that he was on the ten dollar bill. I also learned that he was killed in a duel by Vice President Aaron Burr. I may have heard that Martha Washington named a tom cat after him, or maybe I heard that later.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my own children, now just shy of 12 and almost 15, had ever had a history class. They have, however, been to Philip Schuyler’s house in Schuylerville, NY, right around the corner from where their dad works. We’ve watched magical puppet shows on the same lawn where Alexander Hamilton may have walked or watched his own children play (Philip Schuyler was his father in law.) We’ve attended an Eighteenth Century Day on a summer afternoon where we watched weaving, sheep shearing, quilling, and soapmaking. My daughter tried her hand at candlemaking and stiltwalking, and my son was fascinated by medical leeches.
We have a different kind of life, as unschoolers. My children can learn about Alexander Hamilton, and the world he lived in, in many ways, even if neither has thus far been thrilled by my recent fascination with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breathtaking musical…I hadn’t made the connection between Schuyler and Hamilton until my son stopped to read the sign as we were leaving from that puppet show.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I value this life where learning comes not from classes, but from all the directions our lives carry us. It’s organic and unpredictable and not at all within my control. Daily, something one of my children says, or does, or creates, awes me. What they know, they know. They don’t know it to pass tests; they know it for their own reasons, and use it for their own purposes.
It’s very cool. This week has been busy with kid travel. My daughter had a sleepover at her best friend’s house. My son is on his first out of state trip without me, to a boys’ only birthday party. I met his friends halfway, and, before that, we stayed up all night, talking, and going for a long walk, and I was quietly amazed at this child I gave birth to, who is now an intriguing combination of almost a man and a great big goofy puppy with oversized paws and ears who just gallumphs joyfully through life.
It was a long drive home, all alone. It had been a long time since I had a long drive solo – and I listened to Hamilton and enjoyed -until my new Bluetooth speaker cut out, and, without the boy who excels at the tech stuff that flabbergasts me, I ended up at a rest area, trying to work things out.
If we were having coffee, I’d mention the car I noticed next to me, with an elderly gentleman in the passenger seat, and a young man maybe in his 20s behind the wheel. It was a casual kind of noticing, because I really wanted to figure out the speaker (I did, but not until I was home again.) When the car pulled away, I was occupied, but when it pulled back in and the passenger attracted my attention, I was a little surprised.
He had a story of having left his wallet and cell phone at a rest area a few hours before, and being without funds, not able to find the person who could help him relocate his lost items. They said they were headed for Syracuse, and we were still considerably south of Albany.
He was willing to give me contact information if I could help him. I had only a small amount of money – perhaps ironically, a ten dollar bill with Alexander Hamilton’s portrait. I could have assumed this was a scam. It happens.
But, instead, I gave the man my ten dollars, and said it wasn’t necessary to share information or repay me. In the end, I figured that kindness trumped purpose. I don’t need to know if their story was true, or their gratitude genuine. I’ve been in dire circumstances, and there have been times when a complete stranger came to my aid.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that giving the money to those two men was also an act of kindness for myself. I set aide the speaker, and popped in my Jewel CD, and sang my way home.
I’d also tell you that this post is my #weekendcoffeeshare entry, and that it’s also my Kindness Challenge Week Six post, where the theme is “Inspired by Kindness.”
Given this post, it seems only fitting to share this, from last Sunday’s Tony Awards.