As this academic year begins, I look back over the years and think of all the experiences surrounding our children’s school years. That part of our lives, which took so much energy and effort, has passed. Now we have grandchildren in school!
Looking back, I hope those paths we charted and those plans we made provided experiences that served our children well. Sometimes we never know if they did … we just hope and go on faith that what we did was best. In a way Annie, even without her knowing it, verified that some of those decisions and experiences were good.
When Buffy was in grade school, she required speech therapy on an intense and consistent basis. We found that she could get speech therapy in Portales at Eastern New Mexico University. After testing, they set us up for appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 in the afternoon.
Those days I was teaching public school. After school, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I would pick up the children from their school. Then I would hurry home, race around to get everything together and then head for Portales. Many times I got too much in a hurry to be there on time and speeding tickets resulted. But I felt like I was going for a good cause and speeding for a good cause! But getting Buffy there on time was paramount.
Once in Portales, we checked into the speech clinic and then Annie and John Scott and I would start on their homework. Sometimes we sat on the grass under the trees on the ENMU campus if it was a nice day. When they didn’t have schoolwork, we went to the museum or the library on campus. Sometimes were explored the college campus, or just sat on benches and watched people. We visited the bookstore. Sometimes we went grocery shopping in town or just drove around Portales. Through it all, we talked, shared stories of the day and talked about “stuff” in general.
When Buffy was finished with speech clinic, we would all be hungry so we would head for the Big Tee and get a hamburger. That was good conversation time with them all. Some days, the children would take a friend. Some days my mother would go or a friend might go with us.
This went on for six years, two afternoons a week and every day but Saturday and Sunday in the summer. It did get hard at times and many afternoons I wished to stay home. I knew that the other two children might not might understand this extra effort and trouble, so I was determined to make it as exciting and pleasant for them as possible.
But it did come as pleasant surprise when Annie commented that those days driving to and spending time in Portales were some of the best experiences that she could remember. She said that on “Portales days” she would sit in class and think about going that afternoon and all the fun we would have. She said that it made her day go faster and she would be excited just to think what was ahead.
What could have been a burden and a drag turned into something joyful. I look back now and see those days and remember things we did and what would have been a dread for us, turned into something exciting and refreshing.
The Bible doesn’t tell us that things will always go smoothly in our lives. We don’t have any assurance that our children won’t need speech lessons, that they will be capable of making outstanding grades, and the burdens of working out their academic experiences won’t be frustrating. Yet, God promises up that he will give the increase if we do what we are supposed to do and leave the increase to him. I suppose that is what the Corinthian church was dealing with when Paul wrote to them and said, “So it is neither he who plants nor he who waters is nothing, but only Do, who makes things grow.” (1 Cor. 3:7)
This year we don’t have our children in school. But as I look at Buffy and her ability to communicate, I thank God for this increase in at least two areas; Buffy’s speech skills and our times together in Portales that brought us all closer together.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: