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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Black Day?

Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

A morning conversation…

Jimmy: Mom, today is “black”?

Mom: I don’t think so. We’re supposed to wear orange at the baseball game tonight.

Felipe: Mom, today is “black”?

Mom: I haven’t heard anything about black today. Just orange for the baseball game. Maybe you should ask Nils.

(A few minutes later.) Felipe: Nils, today is “black”?

Nils: Yep, it’s a block day. Use your Wednesday schedule and go to science first hour.


A few days ago one boy wanted to know the difference between keys and kiss. Slight difference in sound. Big difference in meaning. Of course sometimes the kiss is the key. But even at that.

The amazing thing is how easy it’s getting. Just over four months, and communication is almost flowing. We have our moments, but mostly they make us laugh. Most times we find a way to say the things we really need to say.

At school, too. One boy, the social one, is just about as connected as any English-speaking kid. We watch in amazement as he manages to get his posse of friends to follow his lead. Playing catch with a baseball, kicking around the soccer ball, buying Mountain Dews.

Last night after homework the computers were being used, as usual, for social connection. I checked in with one who was simultaneously messaging girls from school and having a Spanish conversation with an old friend. They think we don’t know about their connections with the past, but we’re not that easily fooled. Dude, you’re talking in Spanish and someone is talking back. I know it’s not YouTube. But the fact is, hanging on to the past doesn’t seem to be keeping the boy from learning the language or making new friends.

Someone told us conversational language takes two years to master, academic language four to five. And four to five years is a long time, especially for a boy just two years from college, with high aspirations. The first college he mentioned was Harvard. But that was before spring break in Florida, and now he’s thinking further south.

So we’ll see.

In the meantime God continues to amaze us. A few weeks ago I ran into an old friend at the grocery store. Eloise and I used to sing together at church. The youngest of her five left for college this year, and Eloise went back to school, too. A master’s degree in ESL. She’s looking for kids to tutor. No kidding! We met at Caribou this week, and mapped out a plan for the summer. And there is no question in my mind this was God-orchestrated, one-hundred percent. This woman has sent her own offspring to prestigious universities all over the country, and she knows what it takes. Two years to get a bright young boy ready for higher learning? No problem.

This morning before school the social kid tells Dad about his evening plans. Something about after baseball and hanging out with the cute girl who lives down the street. And Dad buys it. Really? Well…

Dad. Just kidding.

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