Monday, April 24, 2006

Birthday Bash

I've mentioned in passing that my husband and I tutor a couple of kids. Except that I no longer tutor mine because she graduated from high school almost 2 years ago - wow! And she has a baby who is 14 months old now - wow, again!

Anyway, I started tutoring this girl when she was in 6th grade through a program called I Have a Dream - Houston. I guess that means I started tutoring her about 8 years ago. Tutoring is a very broad term here, used to mean that I would meet her once a week and when she didn't have any homework (because inner-city HISD schools are generally horrible), I would try to come up with something educational to talk about, or I would try to make her read part of a book, and then we would go out to eat.

About 3 (or 4?) years ago, my husband started "tutoring" her younger brother. Which, again, means we get together with him once a week and eat dinner.

We've been through a lot with this family. From the girl running away from home and living with a friend/cousin for the last year and a half of high school to her brother being suspended from school for carrying some drugs for someone, to the girl moving off to Kentucky immediately after graduating, shacking up with a guy, and getting pregnant.

Sounds pretty bad, huh? Except that's not really true at all. The girl is married to a very good guy now (the father of the baby) and is living back here in Houston and her younger brother hasn't had any more run-ins with "the law". He, in fact, apologized to my husband for not talking to him about the drug incident immediately and he's really a good kid. They both are.

So, about a month and a half ago, the girl told me that she had a surprise for me. I immediately asked her, "You're pregnant?!" She assured me that she's not and she doesn't want to get pregnant again for awhile because she wants to go to school and get a job. You know, the standard thing you should tell your tutor to make her get off your back.

But she said she couldn't tell me what it was at the time. I figured it must somehow be related to my birthday, but didn't know what it could be.

So, Friday rolled around and after the 30 minutes of morning rain ruined all the plans we had for the day, we just spent the rest of the day not doing all that much. When baby girl woke up from her nap, my husband started telling the kids that we had to get ready so that we could go have a surprise for Mommy.

I had no idea what he was talking about. But he started packing up food for the kids, so I figured we must be going out to eat someplace. It was only 5:00 - maybe we were going out to eat someplace where we would need to get there early to avoid the crowds. Chuy's, maybe?

But then we got in the car and started making our way to the highway. Finally, after we got on the highway, I knew exactly where we were going. We were headed up to our "Dreamers'" parents' house. I finally understood what the surprise was - the girl who I used to tutor was giving me a party at her parents' house.

We have been to several of these types of parties for both the girl and boy that we tutor. It always involves their mother spending the entire day making tamales and lots of people showing up to eat and then some music and stuff in the back yard. I was hoping that they weren't getting that elaborate for me!

Luckily, it turned out that the girl and her neighbor (well, her neighbor, mostly!) had made some soup (pozole) and baked a cake for me. It was a low-key kind of event and the kids behaved pretty well, so it was a nice little birthday party. And it was very sweet of her to do it for me.

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