I stand and wait for the young mother who has parked next to me to load her toddler son into her car.
We had arrived at our vehicles at almost the same exact time. I motioned for her to go on ahead... I know what it's like to have a squirmy toddler in a parking lot.
I notice a woman standing behind her vehicle, just waiting. I smile politely at her.
The young mother sing-songy tells her son, "Mommy will be just a minute." and closes the door.
She thanks me as she lets me through.
I didn't pay attention to her for the next few minutes because I was busy talking to Sam and getting in my car...
...but the next scene I saw... was a daughter having to say good-bye to her mom. The embrace was like only one a mom can give. The tears were welling in the daughter's eyes as I noticed her license plate was from Virginia - so I knew she had a long road ahead of her.
Seeing that exchange made my eyes swell... I never know what is going to make me miss my mom...If only, I could have one more of those embraces...
I love that my two boys have each other. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing them cuddling next to each other hugging and loving on each other. Sure... a few minutes later, they will instead be wrestling... and possibly even fighting... but for those few seconds, they are SO precious and the love radiates from them. I am so very happy to know that they will forever have each other to turn to, to laugh with, to cry with... even to fight with. But mostly to love!
I have 3 brothers that I love dearly. Each one fills a different void. Michael, my older brother, lives for the day. He has an adventurous lifestyle that I know I couldn't keep up with, but I would love trying. My younger brother, Tim, is the one the most like me and I can tell anything to. Nick, my youngest brother, has shown me that family means more than I ever knew.
I have a few other brothers that I can't officially claim as my own, but in my heart, they are.... R. and Ty both have older brothers. They both tortured their younger brothers in their younger years, but now they are role models that their brothers look up to and love dearly.
For me, they make me feel especially special every time I see them. I can't explain it... But they hug with fervor, they know the right questions to ask and the right things to say, and they make me feel more part of their family sometimes than their younger brothers.
Yes, brothers are something I definitely can't live without and I'm glad my life is filled with them.
You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. - Desmond Tutu
This weekend, Ty (the guy I'm dating) and R. (my ex) both had family weddings. For R., it was his little sister.... who I have known since she was 7. For Ty, it was his dad... who has FULLY embraced me into his family. (For those of you that know me, know I don't have a relationship with my own dad... so dad relationships are important to me.)
I struggled which event I should attend.
I was told by friends that without a doubt, I should be going with Ty. The only problem with that was that I was making the wedding cakes for R.'s sister and had to be there delivering them RIGHT when Ty's dad's wedding started and my boys were in the wedding party. Plus, R.s family is still my family. (The unfortunate part is that it is family that I really don't get to see any more...) So I had decided to just go to R.s.
The night before the weddings, I was supposed to be cake decorating. Both families had rehearsals and rehearsal dinners. I decided to take a break from cake decorating (time I didn't really have to give up) to go to Ty's family's dinner. I got a lot of "Oh! I didn't think you were going to be able to make it! I'm so glad you're here!!" Needless to say, it made me feel good... but at the same time, I regretted not being able to be at the wedding.
Last night, I attended R's sister's wedding. They loved the cakes. I loved being able to see my boys take part in their aunt's wedding. I loved seeing her awesome reactions - because she doesn't hold back how she is feeling... and neither does her new hubby. I loved seeing all of R.'s family - They were my family for 10+ years and I miss them!! Needless to say, I was happy that I was there...
...but at the same time, I felt like a third wheel. R.'s girlfriend was there... and even though her and I get along great... Family picture time was MORE than awkward. I mean, I didn't jump into a picture with just him and the boys... but when they said "Okay, let's get a picture of the whole family." I didn't step up. Then they were like, "Dawn, you too!" Then at dinner, they said, "These tables are reserved for family"... Did that include me?? I honestly didn't know. So I sat at the kid's table with my boys... and sat back and watched the adult conversation at the next table, feeling even more like I didn't belong.
I'm not sure I made the right choice...
I'm not sure I made the wrong choice...
I'm not sure there was a right choice.
But what I am sure of is that I was torn... and I have a feeling this won't be the last time.
I know that relationships are hard.
I know that they are not all sunshine and daisies.
But there are days that I think I could scrap all of it and just be alone.
I mean, it is hard enough to meet your own expectations of how you want your life to go... and then throw in your kids' expectations ... and your ex's expectations of you... and now a boyfriend's too.
I was told last night that I don't meet his expectations of how I should treat his kids.
I looked at him dumbfounded and said, "What??! I don't treat your kids badly!"
He responded with, "You're right, you don't... but you treat them like they are one of your students."
Now, if you know me, you know I am very loving to my students. I care and worry and cry about them and get frustrated for them.
Do I treat them like my own two boys?
... because they aren't mine.
...and his aren't mine either.
I guess knowing expectations is a good thing... but not when you don't think it will change things... then it is just frustrating.
The choices that she made... there were never really any good ones.
You'd think that would be because she didn't think before she acted...
But you'd be wrong, it was quite the opposite.
She would think on topics late into the night.
She would weigh options... try to see the good and the bad.
So much until her stomach hurt and her brain swirled.
But it seemed that no matter how much planning and thinking she had done, the choices she made always ended up wrong.
Stay with the wrong guy for all the "right" reasons.
Want to leave the good guy for all the "wrong" reasons.
No. Her choices never seemed to be made correctly.
And she knew it.
She tried to let others help her, but that seemed to muddle the thought process.
Made her upset when their opinion of the situation differed from hers.
So, instead, she made the wrong choices time and time again... and she hated that she couldn't get that decision quite right.
A few years back I wrote a post about a new dad that met in my local grocery store.
While he and I talked about our lives, he mentioned that maybe one day his kids would have me as a teacher. We then talked about where he lived and I told him that was not in the school district I taught at.
That was 3 years ago.
Now, each morning, as I drive to school, I see a dad sitting out waiting for the school bus holding his young son - probably kindergarten age. Sometimes they are playing. Sometimes they are just embracing. Sometimes they are pointing out the cars that go by.
The first time I saw them, without thinking, I waved to them.
Now... I can't pass by them without waving.
Each morning, I see the inquisitive look on the father's face trying to place how he knows me.
I know he doesn't know me... I just can't stop myself... because a huge part of me believes he is that new dad that I met 3 years ago.
My fall-time allergies have arrived with a vengeance.
Two days ago, the right side of my face gave up on allowing any of type air circulation to occur... while at the same time, turning that same nostril into a leaky faucet that will drip at will.
My ears hurt and I feel like a teething toddler as I pull on them and attempt not to whine.
Today, my right eye decided to join in on the fun and turned a lovely shade of up-all-night-blood-shot red.
My voice is scruffy at best and I have a dry cough to accompany it. (But at least all the coughing is adding in strong stomach muscles, right?)
I can't take in a full breath as it feels as if someone is standing on my chest.
... I'm not complaining. I'm just saying that when you see me slack-jawed, being a mouth breather, glassy-eyed, and I ask you to repeat yourself for a third time as I blow my nose... I'm doing the best I can until the ragweed either gets burnt up by the sun or buried under snow... whichever comes first.
Have you ever been in that place?
...that place where the hours and the minutes just tick by...
... and you know the morning is just inching closer and closer
...but there is nothing you can do
...because the essence of slumber just won't befall on you...
...No matter how much you desire it.
...No matter how much you try to talk yourself into letting it all go from the sunlit hours
... you just can't.
So, instead, you lay listening to the sounds of the night...
the dogs and the crickets creating a night time symphony...
and the distant train rumbling down the tracks...
... wishing that it would carry your consciousness away.
Tomorrow is the first day of school.
...and you would think I would be up late because I was SO excited.
But I'm not... excited, that is.
I'm sure it's the fear of the unknown. (You'd think with it being my 13th year I wouldn't worry about that.)
But see... this year our principal is making us departmentalize.
And despite the fact that I have some really awesome ideas about what I want to teach the kids... I'm afraid I won't have that close bond with my students since I will have them 90 min and send them on their way.
You see... that bond, that is why I continue to teach.
I love that I can have a kid that will drive me up the wall all year long and then I miss like crazy once they move on.
My superintendent challenged our staff to make sure they are building strong relationships with our students... and that is what I'm worried about. I will miss out on by not having them all day... and that since I will now have 75 students instead of 25, I won't connect deeply with any of them.
I've had a headache for a week... and a stomachache for 2 days... worrying about missing out on something that is yet to come.
Silly. I know.
I hope I have great things to report after the first week...
I can't even imagine what tomorrow is going to be like...
I couldn't go to the visitation tonight.
I couldn't go and try to come up something to say when there is nothing to say when a beautiful 38 year old is dead.
I couldn't go and see her 2 boys.
I couldn't go and see her husband who she married just a year and a half ago.
I couldn't go and see her sisters that I have spent hours on the phone comforting.
But mainly I couldn't go because my friend is gone... and I miss her.
...and I knew I couldn't sit through seeing her lifeless body and contain the emotions that I have been letting flow only behind closed doors.
Tomorrow I will be there... to do all the things I could not go and do today...
I have been in this place before... even at a young age, my mother seemed to know I could handle stressful situations and let others know what was going on.
I can remember the day my grandmother died. I was in sixth grade and my mom came and picked me up from school early. This was strange because my mother never picked me up. She was a nurse and for part of my childhood she worked nights and was asleep during the day and for the other part she was a home-health nurse and was on the road. So, her picking me up from school was not in the cards.
I can remember my brain slowing down not being able to process first why she was there and then second that my grandmother (who we lived with) was gone.
I cried and found comfort in letting my tears be washed away by the warm rough tongue of my dog, Digger, as I tried to bury my face in her fur.
A few hours later, we were preparing to head to the small Lutheran school in our town for play night. Everyone went to play night because either you were related to someone in the school play or knew someone related to someone in the school play. Right as we were headed out the door, my mom's cousin, Loretta, called to tell us that she found her dad (my grandfather's brother). He had died of a heart attack cutting her front lawn.
My mom and Loretta were like sisters... they had grown up on the same farm together(my grandmother and her sister married my grandfather and his brother)... and knowing they had both just lost a parent, my mother felt like she needed to go be by Loretta's side.
She held my shoulders and looked straight into my eyes, "Can you do me a favor?" she asked me. "Sure." I said in my bravest twelve year old voice. "Can you tell our family at the play about Great Uncle Bert dying?" I nodded my head and turned to walk the 3 blocks to the school.
I remember it so clearly ... on the walk there, I tossed around exactly how I would say what I needed to say. Once there, the first family member I ran into was my cousin, Shirley. With a straight face, I said, "There has been a death in the family." Shirley hugged me and said, "I know. I'm sorry about grandma." I shook my head and said, "No. Uncle Bert." Shirley corrected me and said, "Uncle Bert was there when grandma passed...but" I stopped her and said very calmly, "Uncle Bert is dead too. Loretta found him. He had a heart attack." Shirley immediately went into hysterics. She hugged me and her tears ran down my face...
Fast forward ten years...
I don't like to think about the day my mom died... but the one thing I was insistent on was telling my brothers. It was such tragic news, I didn't want them to hear it from a stranger (like I had). So I made the dreaded phone calls. I ask them if they were sitting down. Both Michael and Tim laughed when I asked them that... but I was insistent. I knew my whole world had stopped and my head was spinning when I found out... and that I should have been asked to sit down. Howls of horror came ... I still don't know if they were from my mouth or from the other end of the line.
Fast forward another 15 years...
Today my friend, Kelly, died. Even as I type that I can't keep the tears from filling my eyes and from shaking uncontrollably. She completed our group of four - Rachel, Kelly S, Kelly M., and I...
I still can't imagine how our group is going to work without her there... We all are friends, but I was the closet with Kelly M. We told each other things that we knew the other two may not understand. It went both ways. I'm not sure how that void is going to be filled. Also, no matter all the crappy stuff that was happening around her (cancer included) she was always SO happy!
Today, I got the call from Kelly's sister. She was beside herself and I tried to piece out her words as she gasped into the phone. But I knew the message... Kel had lost her battle against cancer. I told her that I would call the other girls...My heart broke as I told them the news as we sat together on the phone and cried not having any words to comfort one another.
I learned today that I was much braver in my younger years... because I no longer want to take on the job of being the informant. I lost something in myself doing that job today.
I cannot even begin to express the gamut of emotions that I have gone through this evening.
I felt elated when I arrived home from a 3 day conference today and as soon as Colby saw me he came over and pressed his head into my core... like he was trying to be part of me. It made me feel loved and I secretly was glad he missed me as much as I missed him.
I felt anxious and nervous when Colby's team battled for 3 hours in a neck and neck ball game that went into extra innings. The adrenaline was DEFINITELY pumping!! (and you could tell because my legs could NOT stop bouncing!)
I felt angry when the umpires continuously made bad calls which eventually lost us the game. (You know the saying - The Power of One??? Yeah... well, THIS ONE had TOO much power!!)
I felt sorry for the boys because they took this lost hard. They had given their all (It was seriously the best game I have ever seen them play.) and they were all so emotional afterwards.
I felt upset and frustrated that Ty and I argued... and then he didn't want to talk about it before going to bed. (I'm not one that can sleep soundly when things are laying on my heart and brain.)
I felt shocked and stunned when Kelly's sister called. She only has my number for emergencies... she is ONLY supposed to call if Kelly is NOT doing well.
I felt heartache and confusion and numbness and many other emotions I can't even begin to tell you because Kelly's sister told me that she may not make it through the night.
Now I feel helpless. There is nothing I can do. Not for Kelly. Not for her family. Not for me... besides pray. The tears won't stop falling. The sleep won't come. My prayers come out as begging and pleads.
I want to feel tranquility. I want to know that Kelly is okay and Ty is okay and Colby and his teammates are okay... So I can feel okay.
What the picture doesn't show is... we have been friends for YEARS... I mean, YEARS!! We have been getting together monthly for 10 years and have been friends even longer.
What the picture doesn't show is... we have been through the gamut of life's trials and tribulations, the four of us... and none of them has stopped us... or got us down.
What the picture doesn't show is... our friend, Kelly, is fighting Stage 4 cancer. Sure, her hair is gone... but otherwise, would you have known??
What the picture doesn't show is... She had to be on oxygen the whole time. She was weak and frail when we saw her today. Something that caught us all off guard... because she has ALWAYS been the strong vibrant one.
What the picture doesn't show is... the tears we are fighting... trying to look strong for Kelly... because we wanted our visit to be a happy memory for her.
What the picture doesn't show is... we are ending a tradition...we have cancelled our girls' weekend out because we don't want to have one without her.
What the picture doesn't show is... the confusion. I've never dealt with something like this before. Sure, I lost my mom to a car accident when I was 22... but to see one of MY friends, that is MY age dying...
What the picture doesn't show is... the pain and the fear and the sadness. I don't know what to say or what to do... because imagining NOT having her as a friend is unimaginable...
You see the liquid looking stuff swimming around in the inside?? Yeah... that would be cranberry juice.
Yesterday morning, I tossed my old cell on the passenger seat beside me. Normal every day occurrence.
I placed my morning cranberry juice in the cup holder. (What?! I'm a teacher. I don't pee all day... gotta keep the bladder infections away one way or another.)
I head down the curvy road to work.
(Did I mention curvy??)
Yeah... so I head around a curve and my cell phone slides across my seat and plunkinto my juice it goes.
I seriously froze. I looked at my cell phone with bubbles coming up from it and I froze. All I could think was, "I'm in my cute white sundress ...and that cranberry juice it red ...and I don't want that on me... and I don't want have anything to dry it off with ...and OH MY GOSH!! MY PHONE!!"
I then pulled it out holding it above the cup juice dripping from it. I couldn't believe that I had stopped to think about what I was going to do which made my phone more of a goner.
...but it forced me into a decision that I was dragging my feet on.
I purchased a "smart" phone almost 6 weeks ago.
My goal was to lower my payment... but I had technical difficulty and the company had to keep sending me new SIM cards. After 4 attempts, I gave up on it. I carried around my "dumb" phone to make calls on and carried my new phone for all of the other cool features.
I guess you could say it allowed me to ease myself into it.
But yesterday... the "easing in" ended abruptly.
I'm still recovering from the undecided change, but I'm happy to report that my new phone pairs to my new car... so I won't be leaving it in my seat for it to find my cranberry juice.
Let me just tell you... ignoring is not what I want to be doing right now.
Walking up to W. and shaking her and saying, "My child has finally gotten over the hurt you have put in his life! Why must you come back for more??!!"
You see... 2 and a half years ago, R and his girlfriend at the time, W. broke up because she cheated on R.
Colby had grown very attached to her. Because we, as parents, didn't tell him why they were done (that is NOT a conversation you have with your 7 year old), it was hard for him to move forward.
He cried and had nightmares. My heart broke because there was nothing I could do to heal that pain.
Time does a wonderful job of healing it though... along with R. finding a wonderful woman who sees eye to eye with me.
And I thought we were done with that hurt... but W. started coming to the boys' ball games last week and she came again tonight. She has moved next door to one of the boy's families that is on Colby's ball team. Her reason for coming?? To supposedly support her neighbor. But what she is really doing is dragging my son back through past hurt.
We arrived home tonight and I got the boys ready for bed as usual. It's normal for Colby to talk in his sleep. Many a nights I stand at his door and listen to the "conversations" he has with his friends or with Sam. But tonight, it fell into a time that I thought we had moved past. Night terrors.
He thankfully woke up fairly quickly and I took him into my room with me. But I know it has to do with her. I know that he still can't process that pain.
I just wish she could see it and understand.
I just wish she that move on and stay out of the vicinity of my children... because if she really did care for them, I would hope that she would think of them instead of "supporting the neighbors".
I wish I could shake her and tell her to "Please just stop!!"
But instead... I will just ignore her and hope my son doesn't see her.
But the strange part about it is... from day one of my assistant superintendent coming to ask me if I would be interested in that job, I was nervous.
Any time anyone would ask me about it, I would have a pit in my stomach. I would down-talk my chances of getting the job (even though the higher ups had assured me I was a shoe-in). I even convinced the gal, who got the job (a friend of mine), to apply for the position. (duh. I know.)
I tried really hard to tell myself that it was just because of the unknown... but really it was about what I knew I would be missing - the kids.
Sad that it had to be my ex, R, to point that out to me while I was dragging down in the bottom of the dumps the day I found out that I didn't get it. He said, "You are a great teacher. Who is going to take care of the ones like RW if you don't? It is for the best."
And he was right. (don't tell him I said that ;)
I am a firm believer in not counting my chickens before they hatch.
I normally never want to believe something good is going to happen just in case something could go wrong.
But, you see, back in November my assistant superintendent came and asked me if I would be interested in a district tech position if they created it. I was told that I was the only candidate that they were looking at... that no one else was even on their radar.
In January, I was told to be patient because this job was made for me and soon it would come to fruition.
In February, they finally posted the job and my principal and I made plans for all of the cool things we could do technology-wise in my building.
I interviewed on Monday.
Today... I found out that I didn't get the job.
I'm kinda numb.
I normally don't count my chickens before they hatch... but I was definitely caught counting the eggs...
I was driving down the road with Ty in my new car and the gas light came on.
I casually mentioned that I would need to stop soon for gas.
His response?? "Let's see how far we can make it before it runs out."
A memory hit me so hard, I wasn't sure I could respond.
I shook my head no and whispered, "Been there, done that."
Ty (of course, not knowing) laughs and says, "So? who hasn't ran out of gas before?"
So I got to relive the time that I was stranded an hour from home and even though I was headed to see Spencer, he wouldn't come rescue me.
You see... I am a resourceful gal. I am not beyond hiking on foot. But I was an hour from home... on a road that didn't show a town for miles on my GPS... and it was snowing.
My GPS did show a gas station a mile away... but how was I to know if it was actually STILL there OR open.
I tried calling TripleA but they didn't have anyone in the area that serviced on the weekends.
Spencer told me that he needed to take a nap and he definitely didn't need to be on the road an extra 2 hours to come save me when he had 6 hours of driving ahead of him.
Thankfully my brother, Tim, who was in town for Christmas came and brought me gas.
Ty just stared at me and said, "Are you serious? Someone wouldn't come help you?"
And that's when it hit me... that I had no self-worth in that relationship with Spencer. I would never allow Ty to treat me that way (not that he would), but to have someone not help you and then to continue on to go and visit them like nothing was wrong.
It made me fight back the tears and thank God now value myself so much more and expect it from the man in my life as well.
My spring break felt like weeks and flew by all in one.
I didn't have my boys most of my spring break...It's hard to fill my days when everyone is at work and I have no motivation.
And that kind of sounds like I am complaining, but I'm not.
I had a wonderful, lay around and do nothing sort of break... and sometimes you need that.
I needed that.
I had a LOT of think time and by mid-week though, I had decided that my lemon of a car was just that and I no longer wanted to fight with the dealership in trying to get a transmission fixed that they didn't believe was broken.
So I went and traded it off.
Some of you are probably thinking, "So???"
But you see, I had my car before this one for 12 years. TWELVE years!! I seriously cried and took a picture of it before I left it in the dealer's lot.
It had become a part of me and I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to love a car as much as I had loved that one. It was my first BRAND new car. I loved telling people how it was the showroom floor car and that it only had 24 miles on it when I bought it. I was SO proud of it!!
My last car, I reluctantly bought. I had done my research. I had saved some money up. I knew what I wanted, but I hate going into debt. I didn't have a choice though. My Cavalier was slowly dying.
I bought it on Black Friday (which my Sister-in-law now tells me is bad luck.) I thought I was happy with it until the fuse to the radio was burnt out. Easy fix, but it gave me a bad feeling. That bad feeling subsided as I begun to love different little features of my new car that my old car couldn't have even thought of. I loved the hatchback and it was perfect for delivering cakes. It had a regular plug in (that the boys just loved!) that was used to recharge batteries, run DVD players, and anything else we could come up with.
But I didn't love that the motherboard went out in the first year, and the barrings - front and back - went out in the second, and the transmission just kept getting worse and worse.
So, as I lay around my house doing nothing, I decided I needed to be done with it.
I really fought myself because once I dedicate myself to something, I am FULLY in - whether it be a car or a relationship.
So, I went in and said my piece and walked away with this beauty.
I wouldn't say I love it yet... but it is growing on me... and given time, I might even cry over having to sell it one day.
I guess there is NO short road to death for me!! ...and heaven knows, no one could accuse me of being idle lately.
My blog is obviously something that got put by the wayside.
I mean... seven posts in the month of January and February?? That's just down right pitiful, if you ask me.
There have been MANY a post that were written in my head that never made it to the keyboard.
They would have told you about frustrations of hoops that had to be jumped through that I don't believe are benefiting students of mine that need extra help.
They would have told you of proud moments... and sad ones... and ones that made me laugh out loud.
But I don't have the time... or the energy to produce those pieces that never got written down. So just trust me. The last few months have had it's ups and downs.
Let me just give you some of the highlights...
My cake decorating has taken off again. I was asked to attach business cards to a coupon to have stuffed into bags for a local 5K.
No biggie, right?? Well... it is for a gal that didn't have business cards. (oops. - who KNEW I would need them?)
So, I ordered and they arrived one day before I was supposed to deliver them. (Thank the dear Lord!!)
Here are just a few cakes I have done lately...
A baby reveal cake
A baby shower cake
An air force going away party cake
Oh... and who could forget the 8 dozen of these beauties?
My children continue to make me the proudest Momma around ...Colby got selected for a Champion of Character award by my Alma mater.
and Sam got the Top Tiger award (character award) at his school.
You would think that them getting character awards every year would get old... but trust me, it doesn't!! It reminds me that in this crazy world, I'm doing something right. I thank the good Lord every day for well behaved children (and the resistance to not OVER correct when they do something that others would find minuscule.)
My friend, Kelly, got diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer in January. I know this is scary for anyone who gets news like this about their friends... but I just can't wrap my head around it. She's too young ...and too beautiful ...and, honestly, too healthy to have cancer. I haven't seen her in person since her chemo has started. I plan to do that this week. I told her I was going to come rub her beautiful bald head... and I will... because I know it will make her laugh... but as I do, I know I will be fighting back tears and be repeating silent prayers that my friend won't be taken from this world too soon.
Kel getting a round of chemo rocking her new short hair cut
If a friend with cancer isn't stressful enough, I have also applied for a new position in my school district. It is a district technology job. I struggle internally daily. I worry that I will miss the classroom and the kiddos. I have basically been told that the job is mine... so why am I so nervous to count my chickens before they hatch? Anytime any of my friends ask me about it, I downgrade myself and say that I'm not sure it will go my way. Guess I don't want to get my hopes up in case the unexpectant happens?? I have the full support of my principal and everyone around me... and still I have a pit in my stomach.
In my classroom, my little RW has fallen of the behavior wagon AGAIN. She has been naughty for everyone EXCEPT me. Which sounds great and all... except that it is for things that are getting her put into in-school suspension and out of my classroom. Who knew I would want that child inside my classroom instead of out?
Ty and I continue to date. The topic of marriage has not come up between us lately, but for some reason, it is on everyone else's brain. I filter questions about marriage almost daily.
It's exhausting really. Because again, it is an area that I don't have answers to. Sure, ideally, I would like to get married again, but then there is that self-reliant part of me that doesn't want to get hurt again and knows that keeping that little bit of distance is good for my own self preservation.
I continue to have AMAZING people be part of my life. Ones the look out for me even when I don't have time to look out for myself. I love that God sends people like that into your life. I have a friend that called me up and asked what I had done for myself lately. When I couldn't answer, they showed up the next day with a little gift for me... I shook my head and tried to tell them I couldn't accept it. Of course, no was not an option. I promised them that I would pay their kindness forward to someone else I saw not taking time for themselves... Funny how I already know I will do that, but wasn't willing to take the time to do it for me.
So there you have it.
MANY reasons I have't sat down to blog.
Also the same reasons I should be blogging.
The icy weather closed everything around me down... and I'm fine with that.
Being trapped in my house where I have to stay in my pajamas and wrapped in a blanket isn't a bad thing in my eyes.
In fact, I enjoy it.
Sure... I miss my boys, but I know that I do a disservice to them come snowing/icy wintery days. I want nothing to do with that outside nastiness.
So, when I got my call this morning that school was cancelled, I was happy to curl back into my cozy bed all the time knowing that my boys would get to hang out outside with their dad.
What I hadn't factored into my snow day was Ty's kids... you see, my boys know how much their momma despises the cold, but Ty's kids had to learn it today.
They just couldn't understand how I wouldn't want to go sledding.
(I like to sled in fluffy white snow when the wind isn't blowing, not across sleet when pelts of ice continuously hit you in the face. - I know. I know... I'm spoiled like that.)
So I promised to watch them through the window.
I don't know why... but I feel like I'm watching my life a lot through a window lately.
I guess it is because of the uncertainty of many things in my life right now.
1 - I have been asked to apply for a district tech position - One that I could realistically get... and it makes me want to hyperventilate because I know it is a great opportunity and it's more money... but I'm afraid I will miss my kids. I mean, like, really miss them.
2 - My cake decorating business has the potential to explode. I've been asked to advertise and been throwing around the idea of selling on Etsy. I have 3 orders in the next 4 weeks. This all sounds great... and it is... but I'm not sure I'm ready to be that busy.
3 - Ty and I relationship is going great... and I'm sure most of you would wonder "Why is that a problem?" It's not... but it is. I'm afraid... afraid that it is going to blow up and that I just can't see it. My sister-in-law, LeaAnn asked me the other day if I thought that he and I would get married some day. I couldn't give her a definite answer. One reason I couldn't is because Ty's dad came home from his California trip telling of how he ran into an old friend and they asked about Ty and I. Ty's dad responded to them, "They are great, but I doubt Ty will ever get married again."
I realize those are Ty's dad's words and not Ty's...and I realize that we haven't even been dating 6 months yet, but I guess LeaAnn's words resounded in my ears when she asked, "I don't think you two should rush things, but do you think he will ever want to get married? and, if not, are you okay with that?"
and I can't honestly say that I am...
...but in the same breath, I like spending my snow days alone curled in a blanket doing nothing.
I feel like I have had all these things that I have wanted to sit down and say...
and yet, I haven't had the time.
No time for blogging... I suppose I should view that as a good thing... I mean, my life is filled with time with my man and my boys... but my brain doesn't ever seem empty.
Blogging empties my brain.
So... here I am on a Friday night emptying my brain so I can sleep.
Last year, I went and talked to a second-grader because her dad was abusive and they had moved into a safe house. I was called upon because I had been there myself.
This year, I have that child.
I don't think of that day very often because she is a different child this year.
She is outgoing and spunky.
She is friendly and humorous.
...and it makes me wonder...
how she broke that shell so quickly?
And why I still feel like I am still some days breaking out of that barrier that I put that many years ago as a child.
Yes, I'm glad that she didn't have to make it to adulthood and still question her mother's decisions to go back repeatedly to an abusive man... and wonder if that is why her opinion of relationships is so poor... or if that came with her own wrongdoings.
No, I'm glad she isn't faced with all of that... because she is truly a different child.
I don't take criticism well.
Sure... I will sit and take it while others are giving it...
In fact, I go silent. (Something learned early in my life.)
...but then it brews and festers in my brain.
I beat myself up about it.
I play and replay the scenario. What could I have done differently? Was I really in the wrong? Can I make it right? What if I don't make it right? Is this how they view me all the time?
Question ...after question ...after question floods my brain.
Then the pit balls in my stomach.
I can't sleep because the unassurance doesn't stop.
And I just want to curl up in my bed and stay there.
But, we all know, staying there isn't reality.
Reality is having to face that person the next day
...when you are exhausted from lack of sleep
...and you aren't at your best
...which just makes the doubt even bigger.
I know I have made a name for myself...
I know I have become known as that teacher... You know... the one that straightens the naughties out and still loves them unconditionally.
I get that.
...because I do.
But it seems like the second grade teachers are putting dibs on me earlier and earlier each year.
Today (yes, it IS January!!) I was told by a second grade teacher that I had been chosen (I'll use that term lightly) for one of her students next year.
This little one is completely full of disrespect.
I see him in the bus line and my blood boils over some of the things he says and does.
...and I wonder...
Am I really the one he needs??
I mean, RW, despite wearing me out every day, is at least trying... She just can't control her impulses.
I don't see that effort from this child.
I'm not one to judge the book by its cover...
but right now, this is not a book I'm interested in diving into and getting to know better.
...and honestly, I'm kind of disappointed in myself... because I enjoy a good challenge... and I know when I don't have a challenge, I feel like this...
But right now... I think I would take that over him.
I know it is just something small...
but it was BIG to me.
We don't ever leave each other without kissing and saying good-bye.
I fretted all morning.
Finally I texted, "Are we okay??"
He immediately called.
He said he was sorry, that he didn't want to wake me, since he knew I didn't have to get up early today.
I told him to please always wake me for a kiss.
Tonight, as he was leaving, he said, "Always kiss her no matter what - even if it means you have to wake her... and Always feed her before she gets too hungry... Okay. I'm learning. Slowly... but I'm learning."
It made me smile.
This is what I have needed from someone all along... someone to know what I need without me telling them.
My principal came up to me and said, " What did you do to R.W.? She has changed. Seriously. She is like a different kid."
I don't know why... but I got completely embarrassed.
I then shared my little secret of the 'I love you' squeeze.
My principal then hugged me and said, "Giving them what they need... that's what I love about you. You have probably forever changed her."
Our computer teacher was listening into our conversation and piped up and said that she had seen R.W. in the hallway yesterday and (knowing how naughty she can be) she asked her if she could join her in walking back to my classroom. R.W. quickly grabbed her hand, squeezed three times, and said, "This is mine and my teacher's special 'I love you' squeeze."
I guess I never really thought about how something so small could mean so much... and others would notice so quickly.
When I was a kid, my mom would slide her hand into mine and give three quick little squeezes. I don't remember her ever coming out and telling us that it meant 'I love you', but I do remember her whispering it into my ear sometimes as she squeezed.
I loved it when she did it!
A lot of times, it was when we were in a room full of people. I was a shy kid and just knowing we had our own little secret message would make me feel loved and secure.
I, of course, have passed the 'I love you' squeeze onto my boys. (it makes me think of my mom every time I do it.)
Colby has created his own little version where he squeezes 4 times back for 'I love you too.' Other times he comes back with multiple squeezes and I have to ask what the message was because he squeezes many more than 4. He will then whisper it into my ear. I always giggle because it is something long that I would never get... even if I guessed.
This year I have a student, who makes sure I earn my paycheck, yet I love dearly. She doesn't have the greatest home life (her mom died when she was young), so I try to share as much love with her as possible. I give her hugs (along with my other students), but she needs that love to be taken a step further. She hugs me and kisses my cheek and tells me she loves me. I have never had a student kiss me before... at first I was taken back and embarrassed... but then I realized she needs to show that love and know it's okay. She had also gotten in the habit of shouting, "I love you Ms. T!!!" no matter if we were in the classroom or in the hall. So, this week, I introduced her the the 'I love you' squeeze.
I never thought I would share this special thing with a student... I had always imagined that it would be that special thing just for me and my own kiddos...
But this week as she shouted to me down the line in the hallway, I walked up to her and whispered in her ear and said, "This is a special secret squeeze I used with my boys so we can tell each other that we love each other without saying a word. It's called the 'I love you' squeeze and it is just 3 squeezes." and I squeezed her hand 3 times.
Every time I walked passed her for the rest of the week, she would grab my hand and squeeze three times.
I have a feeling that I will be getting a lot more of them the rest of the school year... and I also have a feeling she will pass this tradition down one day to her own children. I hope she thinks of me when she does.
I didn't ring in the new year at a big bash with lots of people.
Just he and I.
He brought me a glass of wine, kissed me on my lips, and held up his glass to cheers. "Here's to the first of many!"
...because this is how I had always imagined it...
...being with the one I loved...
...knowing just being together was enough...
...and wishing to be together for many years to come.
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