It’s my little sister’s…

It's my little sister's birthday today -- happy birthday, Sharmila! I think she's twenty-eight today, which seems much too old; that can't be right, can it? Sharmi's requested many more photos of Kavya in this journal; apparently, I am falling behind on my motherly duties. So here's a few from the Oakland backyard, taken Wednesday, which is Tim's day to work at home:

Kavi and Ellie and I have been spending a lot of time in that backyard. There's a comfy chair in a shady, breezy spot under the trees (I love trees), and it's just been lovely taking a book or my computer out there. I put the baby in her bouncy chair, and Ellie runs around with our landlord's dog (who hangs out there all day during the day). Is nice.

I haven't gotten any writing work done this week, but that's not surprising, given that a) Kevin started his program this week, which is full-time, 9-5, for the first week; b) there was much running around in every free moment getting stuff for the apartment -- trash cans and lamps and shower curtains and the like; and c) I started Intro to Tamil classes at Berkeley this week, which takes about eight hours of class/travel time, plus I have been surprisingly diligent about doing my homework. Today I'm going to try to catch up on e-mail, and this weekend I'm hoping to get some writing done while the grandparents babysit.

I'm really enjoying the Tamil classes. The professor, Kausalya Hart, is totally charming; she really seems like someone's sweet Tamil grandmother, and intersperses lots of little funny comments with the actual class. She seems to understand and sympathize with how tedious beginning language classes are, and really works to try to make it fun for us, or at least bearable. I think the class is even better for those of us (about half the class) who understand some Tamil already, because we can follow a lot of her funny comments in Tamil; it makes me feel a little sorry for those who can't, but on the other hand, as the course goes on, they should understand more and more of them, so you could see it as motivating. :-)

It's weird being a student again, on a college campus. I'm old enough to be the mother of the undergrads (well, if I started a bit early), which is disconcerting. And what's strangest is actually a change in myself -- I find myself working SO MUCH HARDER than I did as an undergrad. Not only do I come home and actually do the homework, but I spend a couple extra hours working on the material. In part that's just happening because I'm trying to teach Kevin what I learn each class; he's not as interested in reading/writing, but does want a conversational knowledge of Tamil, and we can't easily afford for both of us to actually take the class this fall. But in part, it's just being older, I think, and really understanding the value of the work.

On a very basic level, I just get that if I work hard now, I will be rewarded with better results (and an easier time) later. I somehow didn't understand that when I was in school; instead, I just aced the classes that came easy, and accepted my bad grades in the other classes. I had a great time in college, but I do wonder what I could have accomplished if I'd actually learned to work at age twenty, instead of age thirty. It's a shame that it's taken this long for me to understand what the grammar school nuns were talking about when they wrote on my little report cards, "Does not live up to her full potential."

Which also makes me wonder, as a mother -- what do I do if Kavya starts getting those notes? My parents certainly tried to make me work harder, but they completely failed at it, despite their best efforts. Hmm...

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