Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tante T

I've mentioned before (here) how much I adore my nephew. He is such an amazing little human and I get more amazed with him each day as he grows.

Tonight, we were sitting at dinner and out of nowhere he says, "Tante, I tan tome to your house tonight?"

I should pause here to explain why he calls me what he calls me. When he was very small, he had a hard time saying Katie, so he would just shorten it to "T". After he got that down, it became "Aunt T", and now "Tante T". Tante is the German word for Aunt. In our family, our German heritage is very, very important. My sister, cousins, and aunts and uncles grew up calling their grandparents "Oma" and "Opa" - the German translation for grandma and grandpa. When I was little, not only did I have an Oma (my Opa died before I was born), but I had a "second Oma" - we lovingly referred to her as Tante Elsie, or just plain Tante.

She was the sweetest woman with such a dry sense of humor and the most loving and warm smile you could ever see. Her home was a warm and inviting place that always smelled of delicious foods and whatever fresh-cut flowers she might have in a beautiful crystal vase on her end table. I remember her as a woman who was never-tiring and always on-the-go...baking, wrapping, cooking, or tidying up her remarkably spotless home. However busy she was though, I always felt like the most important part of her day. No matter what she was doing, she would stop the moment I walked in the door, put whatever she was busy doing down and sit to ask "how are things going sweetie?" And not one single time that I left her house did she let me leave without a big hug, a kiss, and a "come back and visit me again soon". And that, I did.

So, Sam now calls me "Tante T" or sometimes, if he's in a hurry - just plain "Tante". And each and every single time, I say a little prayer that I can fill such big shoes.

"Tante, I tan tome to your house tonight?", I sent up my little prayer, put down my fork and said, "I would love nothing more than for you to come to my house tonight, Sam." Exactly what my Tante would have said, I hope.

Back to school I go...

I am officially a graduate student. I went through the entire paper-filling-out process, the loan application process, the loan acceptance process, the "will you please write me a letter of recommendation process", the waiting process, and finally the "congratulations, you've been accepted process". I then took a trip down memory lane as I pulled my car into the St. Ambrose University parking lot...haven't done that in a good 4 years. I took a deep breath and walked into the old familiar University Bookstore. I quickly remembered the smells and the adorable memoribilia in that store. I quickly remembered how to locate my books for the 2 classes I will be taking this summer. I quickly remembered where the checkout was. What I did not so quickly remember was how freaking expensive these dumb books are! ((Adult Life Lesson #326: Things are always far more expensive when it is your own money, rather than your parents...)) Yesh. $168.50 later, I was walking out with the THREE books needed for my summer course load.

After returning from this little adventure to the bookstore, I logged onto our on-line campus bulletin board/email system. Haven't done that in quite awhile either (as a funny side note, my student ID information is the same as it was when I was undergrad), once logged in I find my first course's syllabus. Now, this course is entitled "Visioning and School Administration: The School as a Professional Learning Community" - YIKES. So, I open the file, only to find out that it is a hefty 24 pages of reading pleasure. Perfect. I read on to find out that in the course of this 9 day class, there will be many papers, presentations, and much reading due. Excellent.

So, I am officially a graduate student. And I am officially terrified.

I am certain I will make it through, and I am even more certain that I will be a better teacher and someday a strong leader because of this coursework. But for right now, I'm just simply terrified.

Back to school I go.