Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Appreciation


Zan with his 6th grade class in Houston, Texas

My son, Alexander (aka Zan,) is home for the holidays. I have not had a day, an evening, an hour alone with him for over 1 1/2 years. Maybe longer. So long, I have blocked it from memory. So, this is bliss.

Zan is now 24, living in Houston, Texas teaching 6th grade math to under-served Mexican immigrant children in a public school with Teach for America. He has a Business, Economics, and Public Policy degree from George Washington University in D.C. I thought the kid was headed for corporate law and he ends up caring about 13-year old Mexican immigrants and now is applying at schools in NYC and D.C. (He can't take owning a car, which is required in Houston) to teach more under-served kids. (I think "under-served" is the new way to say "under-privileged.")

It makes me want to weep. I appreciate him so much for his compassionate choice. But, then, he's always been the sweetest kid.

He comes home on Sunday night - hangs out here with me eating chili that isn't even that good- and he's not feeling great - fighting a bug - he gets up on Monday morning to work with me ALL DAY installing a client's home. He is schlepping boxes, putting together furniture, breaking down cardboard boxes, running errands, and generally doing whatever I ask. No complaints.

"I'm so happy I get to pay you instead of someone else," I say.

"You don't have to pay me, Mom."

"Yes, I do. You'll earn it." He did.

Later that night, bone tired from the day and still fighting the flu, we sat together on the sofa in the library / tv room of our apartment - just Zan and me. (Lee was in Boulder this week visiting his family.) He said, "Mom, this is a really comfortable apartment."

Could you have paid me a better compliment? Making a home for the people we love is the point of my work. If they love it, feel at home, feel easy, we've done our job.

And to be appreciated on top of that .... is "golden," as Zan would say. "Golden."

Zan and I have a mutual appreciation society. And nothing could make me happier.

Happy Holidays - and keep looking for those things to appreciate in the people around you.

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