Last Saturday, I won the “2013 Education Blogger/Commentator of the Year” title at the Bammy Awards in Washington, D.C. The Bammys sent a limousine to take me and all the honorees from the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel to the Arena Stage Theater, where the ceremony took place. There was the red carpet, the photographers, the cocktails, the tuxedos and evening gowns—and me, all dolled up with the sexiest man alive by my side, my husband Kevin.
Just 30 minutes earlier, however, Kevin and I were on the verge of a terrible fight. Before we left Chicago Friday morning, I had to pack my luggage, plus the two-day overnight bags for our daughters. I had made arrangements for the girls’ care while we were in D.C. and written detailed lesson plans for my substitute teacher, not to mention I was 30 weeks and three days pregnant and extremely tired and somewhat worried that I shouldn’t be flying at all lest I go into labor at 39,000 feet!
All Kevin had to do was pack up his undies, cologne, dress socks and shoes, and grab his suit. Well, 30 minutes before we were set to leave for the ceremony on Saturday, Kevin unzipped his garment bag and realized that he had his shoes, socks, suit jacket, tie, even his vest—BUT NOT HIS PANTS.
You’ve GOT to be kidding me?
The men’s store that sold suits in the Promenade beneath the hotel was closed. It was 6 p.m. on a Saturday.
I just stared at Kevin. He paced the floor. I stared and was silent. He said, “I can’t believe this. How do you think I feel?”
I just stared.
In the 13 years we’ve been married, I’ve learned that silence and stares are great substitutes for using my wicked tongue that could easily take a small disagreement into a full-blown shouting match. So I went into the bathroom, leaned over the sink, and began applying eye shadow—silently.
Fully dressed in my blue embroidered Indian silk that a dressmaker had fashioned into a traditional African gown with head wrap, I eventually said: “Well, you can’t walk the red carpet in a jacket, boxers, and socks, so I guess I’ll be going alone.”
But when I came out of the bathroom, my husband was fully dressed! I thought he had found his pants, but when he walked toward me I heard a little squishing sound. His suit was navy blue and he had happened to wear a navy blue Lacoste sweatsuit on the plane. Though his pants had elastic at the waist and around the ankles and were made from waterproof-type material, the color was a perfect match!
“Hallelujah!” I shouted. “Come on Baby, we’re going to the Bammys!” Arm-in-arm we swished our way down to the hotel lobby and with all the chatter, his ‘suit’ pants were silent for the rest of the night.
I could have used this blog post to talk about all the wonderful educators I met on Saturday night.
The moving tribute the Bammys gave to our fallen colleagues from the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The hilarious Obama impersonator who gave a televised education press conference from the ‘White House.’
Or I could have used this blog to call attention to the backlash after the event from some educators who didn’t like this or that about Bammys. I could tell you that some people felt that a non-unionized charter school teacher who does not tweet multiple times a day or have goo-gobs of Twitter followers was not worthy of being called the “best.” I could have pointed out all the mishaps—big and small—that happened during the show, but I won’t, so don’t ask. The Bammys are just two years old and need much grace to grow.
I worked at People magazine for four years and covered numerous celebrity events and awards shows. Even in journalism, we have the Pulitzer Prizes, presented at a ritzy awards ceremony. I know that not all teachers support the idea of giving awards, but even Jesus Christ himself promises rewards in Heaven if we keep on believing! So it’s curious to me as to why treating educators like ‘stars’ and awarding a representative group of them for their hard work and dedication is so controversial. Don’t we ask for public appreciation? Don’t we say we need to be treated as like professionals? So why do we resist so vigorously when such gestures of acknowledgement are offered, imperfect as they may be?
Instead of detailing the pros and cons of the event, I am chosing to write a post about how my dear, supportive (and did I say sexy?) husband left his pants in Chicago. I want readers to know that I do not get up to write at 3:00, 4:00 in the morning every Wednesday to win blogging awards. (If anything, winning the “Blogger of the Year” has made me even more humble, down-to-earth.) I blog about life in the classroom because I want the public—especially teachers—to understand that I am just as human as they are. We teachers have extraordinarily difficult jobs; we do our work well, but we are not super humans.
So, I beg of you, cut the organizers of the Bammy Awards some slack. I have cut my critics some slack by publicly forgiving them. And in the midst of a major wardrobe malfunction, I cut my husband some serious slack. And no one seemed to notice his squishy pants!
(If you don’t like this post ... cut me some slack, too.)
It felt really good to be honored at the Bammys for my writing, but the best part was coming back to Chicago and watching my writing students cheer for me while passing around and kissing the trophy like it was the Stanley Cup.
(By the way, take a look at those pants!)
*Photos provided by Kevin and Marilyn Rhames
The opinions expressed in Charting My Own Course are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.