Thursday, December 27, 2012

A gift money can't buy

I drew my youngest brother, Nick, and his wife's name for Christmas.
Amongst the adults, we draw names ...because it's nice to get a gift.
Nick and LeaAnn wouldn't tell me what they wanted for Christmas and I don't like to play the guessing game.
So, I waited... and I waited... and I waited.
I waited until the day I was to grace them with my presence presents. (You see what I did there? ;) hee hee)
They finally told me movie theater tickets so they could go on a date.
Then they saw everything that I had bought for my niece and nephew and told me I went overboard. (What can I say... I love them to pieces!!)
They asked instead of buying the movie tickets, would I come babysit instead?
...Because peace of mind is a gift money can't buy.
Of course, I said yes!!

I still get together once a month with three girls that I taught with back at the beginning of our careers.  We have been doing it now for over 10 years. We have shared everything with each other.
At least we thought we had.
This week we learned that K.L. has cancer.
She had a cough that she couldn't get rid of. She finally couldn't stop coughing one night shortly after our girls' night out and headed to the ER. They found a mass between her lungs.
Words like : localized and malignant quickly became part of my vocabulary.
I don't know what to do for her.
I know to give her love and support and prayers...
... but I don't know what to do for her...
...because friendship is a gift money can't buy and I would hate to lose hers.

Today is the anniversary of my mom's death.
Fifteen years without my mom.
...It's strange to see that written out.
I don't normally think about it in years, just time passed with me missing her.
My ex, R., is always gracious enough to let me have the boys on Christmas because he knows this time of year is hard for me.
My boys know it too.
I try to fill them with all of the memories of my childhood and what I think my mom would want them to know.
But I know I can't give them all...
...because having a grandma filled with memories and thoughts of her own is a gift money can't buy.

I get a phone call.
It's not early... I just haven't managed to get myself out of bed yet.
It's Dale (my surrogate dad).
He's calling to check on my car.
Then I get a call from the boys... tell me they love me.
Finally I get a text from Ty...
...asking me if I would like to join him for lunch.
Feeling loved... the best gift money can't buy!!

Conversation between two brothers

I paused the tv while my boys were in the tub tonight.
Normally they are so noisy, but not tonight.  I was curious to know what was going on.

...That is what was going on.

Colby: You know, Sam, we are all maturing. I mean, Conner is maturing. Layton is maturing. I'm maturing. Have you not recognized that??

Colby: Do you know when we are old enough to drive, we may not get a car?
Sam: Why?
Colby: Because Avery (Robbie's gf's son) will get one first.

Sam:  Some day you are gonna have to like the Cardinals... What if I'm on the Cardinals team?

I love their random thoughts and conversation!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's a common misconception... one that I won't deny, I enjoy

Today, we went to take Carli (Ty's daughter) to get her ears pierced.
She had bounced around all morning long excited for the time to come.
When we arrived at the store, she excitedly picked out the pair she wanted.
She hugged me and then she hugged her dad and squealed.

And then it happened.
Her fears of what was to come overwhelmed her.
She sat in the chair tears streaming down her face, body shaking, saying, "I can't do this! I can't do this!"

Ty tried to get her to calm down, but she just cried harder and harder.
So I asked if I could try.
I sat down in front of her, held her hands, and we talked about happy things.
Then the clerk said, "It's okay. You can hold your mom's hands while we do this."
"She's not my mom, she's my dad's girlfriend."
and she smiled.

Later, we went for Starbucks.
The woman behind the counter said to Cam (Ty's son), "Would you like your mom to hold this for you?"
Cam wasn't paying attention, so I just smiled and handed his drink to him.

Ty and I have a very loving relationship towards each other and each other's kids. It's not uncommon to see us loving and hugging them as parents should.  So, if the love others see makes us look more like a family, so be it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Real or not?

This time of year the conversation amongst third graders is normally about Santa.
The debate about whether he is actually  real or not.


But this year...
... this year, my students debated whether mermaids are real or not.

Santa wasn't mentioned.
Not once.

The jury is still out on the mermaid debate.

Friday, December 21, 2012

How long could a half day last??

Today was our last day before Christmas break.
Half day - heck yeah!

At least that is how I was thinking before it all began.
...And then it began.

It started with me forgetting to set my alarm clock.
epic fail.

Then I couldn't decide what to wear...
sure, it was a Christmas party,
sure it was cold outside

But... in my brain... there was dilemma .
Do I go with the traditional red and green?? Or go off the beaten path? (I ended up with hot pink and green - the best of both worlds)
Do I dress for the cold of outside or the warmth of inside? (I ended up with the warmth of inside.)

By the time I got out the door, I was, of course, late.

The school day started out okay...
We had our gift exchange and we watched part of a movie.

...and then it started....That dreaded feeling that this might be the longest day EVER!!

It started with one of my students telling me she felt dizzy. She rarely eats breakfast... and I know this, so I gave her peanut butter crackers to eat... and she started bawling because I told her she had to eat them.  Then she lied about eating them... and told me she still felt bad, so I sent her to the nurse.(I, of course, didn't know she hadn't eaten them, otherwise I wouldn't have sent her.)

Right after that, I had another student paper cut himself. Even after the band-aide, it kept bleeding. We couldn't get it to stop, so I sent him to the nurse.

All of this was happening as we were lining up to go to computer class. By the time I got them all down the hall, I realized we were actually 5 minutes early.
Seriously. Early.

My ex, R. always jokes that I will be late for my own funeral.  Yet, here I was early.

There was no way I was turning them back around and going back to my classroom!  Not with all the sugar they all had in them, and not with 2 kids down to the nurse. So as we past the office, I decided that the office gals needed to share in the Christmas wildness cheer of my students so we stopped to sing.

During this time, the nurse took my student with the paper cut and was going to irrigate his finger.  He watched the band-aide come off his finger, he saw the blood, and he passed out.
The nurse starts screaming at the secretaries that she needs their help, and the secretaries start screaming at me to get all of the kids out... and I just knew it had to be one of the ones that I sent.

I, of course was thinking it was the little girl who hadn't eaten.

So, after I got my students to computers and came back to the office, I was surprised to find that it was the paper cut student who went down.
I then spent my plan time getting color back into the one that went down.
Oh... and did I mention that this all happened BEFORE ten a.m.??

Thank goodness it was only a half a day!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Belief has been FULLY restored!

My son, Colby, is nine and in the fourth grade.
Fourth grade seems to be the age that most kids stop believing in Santa. I know, because I taught fourth grade for five years and it broke my heart every year to have students share with their peers how he wasn't real.

Colby had a friend explain to him how he wasn't real last year.  Colby looked at me with questioning eyes.  Later that night, Sam got a video email from Santa telling him to be nice to Colby because "Santa is watching!"  That was enough to pull Colby back onto the "belief" train.

But this year.. this year I could already see it happening.  Anytime Santa was mentioned, Colby just kind of rolled his eyes.  I felt like I was just going to have to let it go that he was no longer a believer... a little part of me saddened.

So, Thursday night, I took the boys to our local amusement park to see the parade and Santa, like I do every year.  We arrived just as the parade started, so we ran towards where it would end so we wouldn't miss any of it and so we would also be close to where Santa would go afterwards.

We found and open spot and here came Santa in his sleigh. Santa was waving to all of the boys and girls as he past them. Then he got to us.  Santa leaned over and pointed right at Colby and said, "MY you have grown a LOT in the last year!"
Colby looked at me, his eyes widening, and shouted, "Mom!  He remembers me!!"
I smiled and nodded.

Belief has been FULLY restored ... at least for one more year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

At a time of year when families should be celebrating and holding their loved ones close, the opposite happens.

As a teacher, I'm horrified by the happenings in Connecticut today.
As a mom, I'm horrified by the happenings in Connecticut today.

Words don't express the overall fear that runs through my brain.

As a teacher, I think, "What would I do if that was occurring at my school?"
Sure,  we have drills and procedures in place, but I don't think that prepares you completely for the real thing.  I'm sure those teachers of Sandy Hook never thought they would have to use those drills for real.

I think of how the teachers did what teachers do... they got their students as safe as they could and then read to them, told them to be quiet, told them that they loved them... I'm sure telling them all along that things would be fine. I know... because that is what I would have done.

I think of my students this year and how I have a lot of "What if'ers"  "What if... a big hole opened up and sucked us all into it?" "What if ...our lights all started flashing like in a disco?" "What if...?" "What if...?"  "What if...?"
But I can't imagine having to be in that position and having to answer the what ifs..."What if the shooter comes into our classroom?" "What if he is outside our door and we just don't know it?""What if one of our friends has died?"
It makes me fearful and sad all in one... to know that the little innocence that is left in my students would be completely gone.

Then I think of my boys... this is a thought no parents ever wants to have to worry about...

I think of the design of my boys' school.  Each hallway leads down to a pod of classrooms. Each pod is circular in fashion with glass walls to see into each class. The only exit door to the outside is to come out into that center pod area. A shooter could easily come into the center of the pod and spin in a circle and hit every classroom... and my babies (and all of their friends) would be trapped.
We have always said, "Our kids go to school in a small town, this would never happen to us" and I know that is exactly what the families of Newton believed as well.

It makes me want to keep them at home and shelter them from all of the evilness... but I know that is not reality.  I know that I can't live in fear for what might happen. I have already lived part of my life in that fashion... and it was stifling ...and guess what? Bad things still happened.
So, instead, I will hug them a little tighter.  I will focus on the good and pray for all of those that unfortunately experienced the bad today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Soothing my soul

I read before I head to bed.
It quiets the inner dialog that occurs in my head... that constant chatter that I can't seem to turn off as I lie in bed... not unless I read.
Reading seems to soothe those voices.
I wonder if others have the uneasiness, that restlessness, that just won't stop.

I worry about it sometimes...
I worry that maybe this is how it started with my father. Was he always paranoid schizophrenic?
I don't know... Or did his inner dialog get too loud?  To the point that he couldn't turn it off... and so it made him snap... and turn into the monster that beat my mother.

My sister-in-law, Xuan, met my dad for the first time about 3 months ago.
She said he was a nice man who liked to joke.
He was on his meds.
I don't have a fond memory of him like that.
The last time I saw him, he was over-medicated and was like a zombie.  My aunt said it was probably best with the passing of my grandfather.
That was 5 yeas ago.

Other than that, I only have childhood memories of him.
Not wanting to see us... or not having the time to see us because it would throw him off his "normal" schedule... Even after we had traveled 11+ hours to see him.
Or him showing up at our house unexpectantly, being loud and destructive, and then leaving just as unexpectantly.

Don't get me wrong... I hold a few good moments... but when I think of my dad, I don't think of those moments first.

All of these this things flood me as I lay down to sleep...
So... yeah... reading is good.
It soothes my soul.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ummm... That's NOT what I said

My son, Sam, is obsessed with practicing his spelling words.
You'd think coming from a mom, who is a teacher, that would be a good thing,
And it is...
Except that Sam is a REALLY good speller!
He has them memorized after looking at the list for maybe 5 minutes.

But he tells me he might forget them while he is sleeping.
So, we practice ...and practice ...and practice some more.

This week his words are ones that have -ar- and -or- sounds.
You know - farm, start, porch, fork,etc.

Well... mid study session Sam decides he needs a drink of juice but doesn't want me to stop calling off words.

So, from the couch, I'm calling off words and he is spelling them.
Then I call off "Horn."

From the kitchen, Sam yells, "PORN??  THAT'S NOT ONE OF MY WORDS!!"

So I shout back "HORN!!!!"
"Oh. H-o-r-n"

Glad I didn't have to explain that one...