I had coffee this morning with some of my "coffee ladies". We're a loosely-woven group. Most of us have college-aged kids, or soon-to-be, or recently-were. In effect, we coffee ladies are hovering around...middle age. Way back before I joined these women, it began as a preschool gathering for moms and kids. Upon our move here, I was invited to join "Coffee". My kids were in high school. So this group has moved and morphed and laughed and cried together for years.
Here is a glimpse of this morning's coffee ladies, and our conversations:
All we coffee ladies wear many hats, and this particular woman decided a couple of years ago to broaden her horizons by becoming a substitute para. In Manhattan, and probably all of Kansas, paras are abundant on the learning disabilities/special ed scene. (We never had paras in Oklahoma, to my knowledge. It is a means, I believe, to mainstream special needs students into a regular classroom.) We get occasional snippets of her days in the classroom, although I must add that she is very professional and does not talk about particular students, classrooms, or teachers when we get together. But today, in addition to a myriad of other subjects, we discussed the notion that I most likely would have been diagnosed ADD/ADHD, had that diagnosis been around some 40-odd years ago. Hmmm....I always thought that I was merely a "social butterfly".
Another coffee lady this morning just returned from a weekend in DC, where she and her husband took their kids to experience the Rally to Restore Sanity. This summer, she and her husband took the kids (read: one college kid and two teenagers) to Shang Hai to see the World Expo. She volunteers her time from October to December, organizing the huge local Toys for Tots campaign.
And the other coffee lady with whom I enjoyed my morning has begun working 1/2 time in the K-State International Grains Program, which is designed to educate foreign business leaders and government officials about US grains production. She and I also have ties from way back in newlywed-dom, when both our husbands were working on their PhDs in East Lansing, MI. How they went to Purdue and then K-State, and we went to Oklahoma State and then K-State, and then we four re-united...well, such is university life.
And there are more "coffee ladies" who did not meet with us today, but have similarly interesting lives. I love our get-togethers (irregular as they are), and appreciate the social stimulation I get from these gals. We are irreverent, yet somewhat religious (is that phrase an oxymoronic phrase?), funny, compassionate, and accepting. All of those adjectives = friendship.