In honor of Mother's Day, this week’s Ebytes is guest-authored by my son, Stan Sandoval. Stan lives in Indianapolis and works as a Performance Engineer for the IndyCar team Ed Carpenter Racing. He is a graduate of Westminster School in Connecticut and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Spanish from Columbia University (NY) and a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering from University of Southampton in England.
Throughout my entire childhood, my family and my school were always intertwined. Between 3rd grade and leaving for college, I spent six years attending the schools at which my parents worked, with the rest spent living on campus as a “fac-brat.”
It’s an interesting experience to grow up in your parents’ place of work, and thanks to that proximity my sister’s and my childhood are filled with stories that are unique to our “all going to school together,” as I like to say.
In 2003, I started as a 3rd grade student at The Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, a K-12 school similar to Shorecrest. My Dad was an Art and History Teacher and my Mom was the Director of Admission & Financial Aid. My Dad had just gotten the brand new iPod, and we would drive to school together every morning, blasting music. My Dad was teaching an elective on the history of Rock and Roll at the time, and so we referred to these car rides as “preparing a lesson plan.” Eventually, my dad passed that iPod down to me and I still have it in working order almost 20 years later.
My mom would give tours around the campus to prospective families, and when she would show my 3rd grade classroom I would (adorably) drop what I was doing to interrupt the tour to say hello. In an effort to keep me from getting distracted, we decided to use a more discrete signal: a curling of just the index finger as a way to wave to each other, something we still do to this day when we want to say hello from afar.
When I was a high school student at Westminster School, I began giving campus tours to prospective families myself, oftentimes seeing one or both of my parents along the way. Once while showing around an international family, I introduced them to my parents when we all ran into each other. After we finished, the family asked me if referring to teachers as “Mom” and “Dad” was a common practice in America as a sign of familiarity and respect. This family couldn’t stop laughing after I explained those were actually my parents they had just met.
Last year, my sister wrote about not being entirely sure how to address our Mom
while she was a student in my mother’s class. I took a studio art class taught by my Dad and ran into a slightly different problem. By the end of the opening week of classes, everyone in the class was referring to him as Dad. Soon that joke spread to other students who weren’t even taking studio art, particularly my friends. At one point there must have been two dozen students calling him Dad, and only two of them were his children.
As my parents have different surnames, there were always students who were slow to pick up that my mom, my dad, my sister, and I were all one family unit. My dad especially enjoyed messing with students over this. He’s gone so far as to bet students that he’s actually married to my mom, and it’s a bet he always wins. Once a student had figured out that my dad, my sister, and I were all related because we have the same last name, but refused to believe me when I told her my mom was my mom. Eventually I was able to prove it by shouting “Hi Mom!” and giving her a hug at school, promptly blowing the mind of this student.
Even though I no longer go to school with my parents, I know there are many students who do get to see their mothers and fathers on campus at Shorecrest, whether they are faculty/staff students themselves or they see their parents volunteering in the classroom, library, at athletic events or with Helping Hands. I hope they enjoy and appreciate the time they get to spend seeing their loved ones at Shorecrest.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day at home, at work, or in school, I hope everyone can look back at their own unique experiences with their mothers and be grateful for the stories they cherish from their childhood. Thank you, Mom. I love you and miss you.
And Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!