To America from a Teacher

To America from a Teacher.

This post really made me sit up and take notice. I have wonderful friends who have chosen to dedicate their lives to the teaching field and for all their efforts they get very little satisfaction as their hands are tied by political manueverings, restrictions on how and when they can communicate with their students, the money available to bring life to their lesson plans… and the list goes on. Each of them sacrifice time for themselves, for their families, just so that they can give their students the best learning, not to mention life, experiences out there. For each and every one of them I give my profound thanks and only wish I had a magic wand that I could wave to bestow on them salaries equal to if not greater than our athletes and actors, funds for rounding out their students learning experiences to go back in time to include art, music, and culture once again along with the reading, writing, and arithmatic.

I have been so blessed to have awesome teachers my whole life. From kindergarten to some college and technical school I can honestly say that I’ve maybe had one bad teacher in the whole mix. 40 years later I still have fond memories of some of them, the gifts they bestowed on me like a love of reading, travel, curiosity of world events and that’s just barely scratching the surface.

So today, my blog salutes all those wonderful teachers who enrich our lives by loving and teaching our kids so well and at so many different levels.

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Raindrops

I ask you is there anything better than sitting and listening to the rain fall and knowing in a short while you’ll get to smell the earth as if it was born anew? I think not. It instantly relaxes me washing all tension away. I know it’s not as easy to get around in, makes the roads slick and takes longer to get where you need to go. I know it makes my body ache more with the cold of it and yet still it’s one of my very favorite simple pleasures.

Often I would take these things for granted, not even taking real notice of them but not any longer. I know now that watching the raindrops roll off the ends of the leaves is a gift, a meditation I get for nothing more than paying attention. How awesome is that?

Add to that the new pleasure of watching our kittens antics when they race through the doggy-door only to be confronted with this new phenomenon called rain – it’s priceless I tell you. At first they tuck tail, turn and run right back in through that doggy-door but as the hours roll on so does their bravery. Before long I can sit at the end of my bed and watch them chase one another through the tall grass, just like the jungle cats their predecessors were, playing and tackling one another forgetting for a moment that it is even raining until one darts for cover into the middle of a bush and comes out soaked and of course runs right back through the doggy-door and up onto the bed and my lap, mud and all. Still it’s worth it to just watch the joy of their living, the playfulness. It’s a good lesson for me to never forget to play, and to find the joy in each moment.

Floating Free

I’m having one of those days where it feels as if I’m having an out of body experience.  My head is fuzzy and therefore my thoughts and words are coming out jumbled.  My libs feel heavy and numb as if they can barely support my weight let alone anything else.  It’s a pretty scary feeling especially when I have so much on my agenda today – taking Joey to school, racing to a doctor’s appointment across town, back to pick up Joey, then to the feed store for chicken scratch, back home in time to take my mom to get her labs done to check her blood consistency since she’s on a blood thinner.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it all and in fact am questioning if I should even be behind the wheel of my truck.  I hate days like this, they are even worse than when I’m experiencing a pain flare-up with my Fibromyalgia.  At least with a flare-up I know what to do to calm my body and help it heal over time and perhaps shorten the duration of the flare-up.  With this, today, I am unsure of how to take care of myself and what actions I should take.

The doctor’s appointment I have is to get into a pain management series that serves to help people like me to get the most out of life.  This is something I really need so I don’t want to cancel and have to reschedule the appointment because then they might think I won’t put the effort in to the program they have set up.  God this is a frustrating situation.  I just feel as though I’m floating free, an observer instead of a participant in life.  Have you felt that way?

This has happened to me already a couple of times in the past and now today.  I am hoping, even praying, that this will not become a part of what is a normal existence for me.  I already feel as though I’ve been robbed of what I had considered normal and even now, 11 years into it I’m still having difficulty excepting what is to be my new normal.  How can they expect me to just go with it, to forget the long hikes I used to take in the woods, the camping out with friends on the spur of the moment with just a tent, cook stove, and sleeping bags, the ability to sleep peacefully for the whole night – how can they ask that of me?  How can I ask that of myself.  I know not letting go of what I used to be able to do is holding me back and probably contributing to the anxiety, stress and pain I feel but I don’t know how to get past it.

I don’t know how to stop feeling like I’m floating free, not in control of my body.  If I’m going to float somewhere why can’t it be in a hot air balloon with my sweetheart enjoying the sensation of flying and taking in the beautiful landscape below.  Perhaps I should of titled this piece “Why” since it’s come up so much in my writing.  All I can say is I hope the day improves and that I begin to feel grounded again.

Time Out – Lessons Learned the Hard Way

I picked my son up from his transitional kindergarten class today only to find him not sitting with the other kids while enjoying story time but instead sitting by himself in a blue chair. Miss Pat announced, “Joey, your excused.” and when I looked up from the sign out sheet it is then that I really noticed that he hadn’t been seated on the carpet with everyone else but was off to the side in the chair. He slowly walked up to me and began taking things out of his cubby. I knelt down and asked him quietly, “We’re you in a time out?”. His response was to slowly hang his head down, nodding slightly. I again whispered, “How come you got a time out?”. He looked around to make sure nobody was listening to our conversation and noticed Miss Jenn was tuning in to our conversation. He replied noncommitingly with a “I don’t remember”, and again hung his head. I could tell he was embarrassed but what was I to do – let it go or address it? Here or at home? Miss Jenn took the decision out of my hands by casually walking over and whispering to me that he had a case of the wiggles during story time and since he couldn’t seem to stop himself they felt it was best to remove him from the situation. I totally understand their response and support it. This is an area that we’ve been working on at home when we do story time in the evening.

timeoutI asked Joey to get his coat and off we went to get into our truck. On the way, I took his hand and told him I loved him as I always do and then asked him why he had the wiggles. He apparently didn’t know but was quick to add that his buddy Alex had them too and that he had to sit in a chair also. I missed that since Alex had already been picked up when I arrived. Again I asked why and reiterated what the rules were during story time, that you were to sit still and listen, that if you had a question you could ask it but had to wait til the teacher or Mommy and Daddy said okay. He then admitted that he had too much energy and just couldn’t sit still. I told him that wasn’t acceptable as he was old enough to know what was expected of him and to not disrupt his whole class by causing mischief. He asked me, “Momma what’s mischief?”. I had to hold back my laugh – always full of questions even when he was in the middle of being in trouble. I explained it was getting into trouble or doing something you shouldn’t be doing at that specific time, that everything you do has a proper time and place and fooling around during story time wasn’t either of those. I then told him as I was buckling him in to the car seat that he would have to tell his teachers tomorrow that he was sorry for disrupting the class and that he would try to do better at listening.

You’d have thought I’d told him I was taking away his toys, or TV time, or that he just lost his puppy by the tears that began rolling down his face. I got in the car and asked why he was crying and tried to soothe him. He didn’t want to say sorry, he got shy when he had to do something like that, he didn’t want to remind his teachers that he’d been bad, etc., etc. I told him I’m sorry he felt that way but he still had to take responsibility for his actions and would have to apologize to them. As I looked into the rear view mirror and saw his big crocodile tears I almost caved in but then stopped myself. This was a lesson I had to learn to – I couldn’t always let him off the hook even if it did make him sad. He bent over at the waist and continued to cry, his little shoulders shaking. I asked him to tell me why he was so upset, to which he ignored me at first and then when I followed up with the fact that it’s rude to ignore someone when they’ve asked you a question he told me he just couldn’t talk about it right now that he needed a little quiet time. I looked him in the eye in the mirror and told him that was okay, that when he was ready we could talk about it. He continued to cry and my heart continued to break for him. He slowly uttered that he didn’t want to have to apologize in front of the whole class. I told him we could go in a little earlier. He responded with that they would still be mad at him for not listening. I had to call him on that and said that they understood all to well that he was learning, that everyone makes mistakes the important part was to learn from them, and that I knew in my heart that they would accept his apology. “What if I can’t say it tomorrow Mom?” he asked in all sincerity. I relented and told him he had two options, he could either tell them in person tomorrow or he could write them a note. He could tell me what he wanted to say and I’d write it out in highlighter for him to trace. He asked if he could draw a picture too and that just brought a smile to my face. He was coming around. Of course I said sure he could.

We got home and he was still upset, more embarrassed than anything I think as he hates to let anyone down, and was still having tears on and off. He immediately crawled under his covers and continued to have his moment. I crawled onto his bed with him and held him and told him again that I loved him. He asked for some alone time and so I honored his request. After a while he calmed down and told me what he wanted to write to his teachers. Together we picked a picture of a frog out of one of his coloring books (his class are called the Faithful Frogs) and I wrote, “Miss Pat and Miss Jenn, I’m sorry and I’ll try to listen better. Joey”. I was proud of him for his follow through and I think that we both learned a lesson or two today.

Married or Not, You Should Read This

handsI’ve seen this story,

    MARRIED OR NOT, YOU SHOULD READ THIS …,

several times on Facebook and every time I see it I stop to read it and it gives me pause. I am married to my sweetheart for just five years now and realize that I often take him for granted. When he was courting me we held hands all the time, disagreed on PDA’s (public displays of affection) as he was all for them and I much more reserved, and showed one another on a daily basis how much we were growing to care for one another. I went on a trip a couple of months into our relationship and left him a card to open on each day simply because I knew it would bring him joy. He often brought me flowers for no reason at all other than he wanted to make me smile. Now we are married and have a son who is 5, yep we were one of “those” couples and somehow all though we love each other with everything that we have we often lose sight of one another and the intimacy we once shared. We used to go out several times a week to get a coffee or see a movie or just have a meal out. Now we haven’t been on a real date in months. It’s hard to line up a sitter, or to work around his work schedule as he is up at 3:30 AM and needs to be in bed by 9:00 PM at the latest Monday through Friday. Everyone else is busy on the weekends with their own families so I feel guilty asking them to take Joey for several hours so that we can get in “our” time. Once in a while when my schedule allows, when I’m not taking Joey to school or my Mom to doctor appointments or attending to my own health needs I’ll surprise him at 10:00 with an invitation to Starbucks on his lunch break. These times are few and far between and I really miss spending quality time with my sweetheart, just him and I. And then I read this story and I think I need to make this a priority, perhaps my number one priority as we are the foundation for our little family but I don’t know how to do it and it makes me sad. I encourage everyone to read this story and to see just how important it is to not take those things that you truly love for granted.

“When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes. Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind. I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, “Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.”

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The sales girl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed, dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce. At least, in the eyes of our son, I’m a loving husband.

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.

So find time to be your significant other’s friend and to do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage or relationship!