Tuesday, April 3, 2012


My grandmother fell a few weeks ago. She broke a rib and banged herself up pretty bad, earning a stay in the hospital and some rehab time in the nursing home. It's beginning to get a bit old hat by now. She doesn't like to use her oxygen which causes her to have these "spells". She also doesn't get along well at all with my mother. My mom likes to fuss at her and my grandmother refuses to listen whether out of obstinance or her progression of dementia. As a result, I spend a lot of time trying to mediate between the two and I try to take on as much of the responsibilities as I can.

This afternoon I agreed to go out with her to visit my grandmother and I braced for a frustrating afternoon with the two of them arguing back and forth. When I got there they were wheeling my grandmother out to the patio for an outside dinner. It was a great idea. There were quite a few family members that also stayed for the impromptu dinner and we were able to all chat and relax. The weather was amazing and we were seated with another gentleman that kept my grandmother occupied. Mom floated around the patio talking to several people so for once she and my grandmother weren't at each other. Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun!

The gentleman that sat with us was dressed very nice and carried himself with a lot of pride. At first glance you would only notice a slight tremor in his hand and a cane in the other. He struggled to speak, couldn't eat his sandwich, and had a hard time getting his hands to cooperate. As we sat there I tried to imagine what he was like in better years. Occasionally I could see a glimpse of his true self. He muttered under his breath about two ladies "flappin their jaws". He grumbled about how inconsiderate people were "Can't they see I ain't got no darn teeth? Why would they give me crap like this?" I realized he would have been hilarious to sit and spend time with several years before.

He went back to his room early and I took a moment to look around the patio. I realized that all of these families dealt with their own version of my grandmother. They all complained about the food or the air. They all argued against the doctors' orders. Most of them fought some sort of battle between reality and a muddled version of the truth. I was able to see my grandmother in someone else's eyes.

I hate watching her slowly slip down hill. It was different with my grandfather. I was devastated and traumatized. He was still him to the very end. My grandmotheris gradually transforming and I'm not sure which way she's headed. This afternoon helped me realize that no matter the changes, deep down there are still bits of her visible if I look for them.

I'm going to try to visit her with a much more open mind and a more accepting heart from now on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Break where are you???????

I need Spring Break in the worst way right now! Our school system scheduled Spring Break much later than normal this year and everyone is chomping at the bits. The kids are absolutely nuts and the teachers are running on fumes. There were no snow days this year to break up the monotony of winter, and the weather has everyone dying to get outside.

I feel so guilty for losing my patience here lately and for wanting so desperately to take a day off when so much has to be done before testing season.

I can't wait for this weekend. Hubby and I have plans to make a big day of it Saturday. Hopefully a fun day out on the town can help to get me through the next couple of weeks.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I don't think I really need to say too much about this one. I'd love to see one of these insensitive jerks deal with something as horrible as a child lost before their birth.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

My Favorite Day of the Year!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!!!

This truly is my favorite day of the year. Green is my favorite color, right before the whole rainbow spectrum (I actually have a tattoo of a huge rainbow and the Emerald City covering the lower half of my back). Hubby's birthday is tomorrow, and the first official day of spring is just days away (although this year, I think Spring settled in weeks ago!). I struggle with winter and by this time in the year, hope and happiness are beginning to seep into my pores. It also helps that we both love the fact that our ancestry can be traced back to the docks of Ireland. Hubby and I started making a huge deal out of St. Pat's the first year we were married and it stuck!

I had the day off, so my St. Pat's started in a very exciting way! I got to ride along with Hubby last night while he worked. Hubby starts his nights at around 5pm and works all through the night. We had a great time. I was a bit nervous that his partner wouldn't enjoy having a tag along, but I think we all three actually enjoyed each others' company. I got to ring in the Day of Green side by side with Hubby traipsing around the countryside. He even stopped and bought me a special green topped St. Patrick's Day doughnut for breakfast!

We got home around five this morning and I got to curl up in bed beside Hubby all morning. It is a rare occasion with this new job for us to get to sleep at the same time now and it's probably the one thing I miss the most. I was in a perfect state of contentment!

I hope that today has been as happy and enjoyable for you and your family! I'm going to go grab some sort of green goodies with Hubby for lunch and make the most of the rest of our day!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the winds be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hands.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A break in the heavy

A little over a year ago, Hubby and I decided that our two pups needed a sister. Obviously the human kind wasn't much of an option for us, so we agreed to adopt a black and white ball of hair from a nearby animal shelter. It turned out to be one of the best things we have ever done. Our pups have been a near and dear part of our hearts since the very early stages of our marriage. They have helped to ease the loneliness in our home. Hubby isn't a huge fan of cats and he wasn't sure about it at first although to my surprise, it was his idea. Neither one of us expected her to melt our hearts and change our lives (pups included) nearly as much as she did. I will always believe that God sent her our way as a salve for the deep wounds Hubby and I have endured in our journey to start a family. This week she has remained near my side while Hubby is away at work with an endless supply of her antics to make me smile.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The day that wouldn't end

I hate the night. I absolutely loathe the night, however tonight I sit here thankful that the day is finally over. I look forward to the moment when I can let go of the horrid emotions of the day and collapse into what I pray is an uneventful, peaceful sleep. In fact, in one sense, this day began nearly a week ago, and I am finally stepping across the finish line of a race I didn't even realize I was in.

A few weeks ago, one of the teachers I work with mentioned her frustration with one of the little boys in her classroom. Although he was exceptionally intelligent, he seemed to operate in slow motion many days and it seemed to be getting worse. She had to prod him frequently to move along with his work and he began to stay in during recess several days a week with me so that we could catch him up. It was during these afternoon one on one sessions that I started to notice something wasn't quite right. I couldn't pin point what it was, but I felt ill at ease about it.

Last week I found evidence in his homework that I could not ignore. I took it immediately to his teacher. After I explained to her what I feared she agreed to talk to his dad who took him to the doctor the following day. I came in this morning after a three day weekend to devastaing news. He has an inoperable brain tumor. It has been putting increasing pressure on the motor area of his brain. They are praying for a miracle. So am I.

I've known children at our school to experience horrible things, but I've never experienced anything this devastating with a child that I work with so much. I was a wreck all day. I can't imagine what his dad is dealing with right now, the fear and helplessness he has to feel. I can't bear the thought of anything happening to this little boy.

I called Hubby to pick me up after school this afternoon. I had ridden to work with my little brother this morning and he was going to pick me up, but I needed Hubby. I held it together all day. I couldn't alarm the children, but I needed to fall apart, just for a few minutes. I explained to him what had happened. He looked at me with confused eyes, "Honey, you've had things happen to kids before. I can't believe this has you so upset." I just had to stop and take a long deep breath. I've never experienced anything like this with a child I was so close to, one I worked with daily. Abuse, divorce, a parent's death, but never anything that threatened to take the life of a child like this. I was speechless. All I could say in response to Hubby was, "I love this child. I look forward to his smiles and hugs every day. I can't imagine a world without him."

I talked to my mother later on, she was a teacher for over thirty years. I expressed my hurt and frustration at his response. She gently pointed out to me that most people couldn't understand the love a teacher has for her children. Until you've been in those shoes it's  hard to imagine the fierce almost motherly love that one can have for dozens of children that belong to someone else.

I realized she was right. I also realized that although I fought against this career for so long, I was where I belonged. She reminded me that a true teacher's heart loves all children as their own. I know that these kids have in a small way helped to fill a small part of the emptiness I feel as I long for my own children. I see so many teachers jaded and even resentful of their students and I pity them. They are missing out on such an amazing and fulfilling part of our jobs.

As the sun finally began to sink below the horizon, bringing a close to what most other people would consider to be a gorgeous early spring day, I found peace with a part of my life that is usually so painful I refuse to acknowledge its existence. I have always had a special place for children in my heart, but I have to wonder; if having children had come easily to me, would I cherish each and every child I work with nearly as much? Would I be as observant or sensitive to their lives and behaviors and feelings?

Acceptance has been a long time coming for me concerning my infertility, and while I may not feel thankful or happy about the unrelenting pain and loneliness that comes with the desire to love my own child, I can see how God has used my experience, my journey to make me a better teacher. I hope that while I do not have a child of my own to guide and direct, perhaps I can make a difference in the lives of at least some of the many children I have the extreme honor of loving and directing towards their own paths and futures.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


At work, I have one of the three shifts helping to manage the chaos of lunch time for our kids. I manage the youngest kids from kindergarten to second grade. It's nuts at times and a bit deafening, but I do find snippets of time when I get to hang out and chat with some of them. It's fun to let my hair down a bit and cut up with them.

Today as I made my rounds up and down the tables, one of my kiddos from last year stopped me with a big hug. I turned to  look and she had a horrible red welt under her eye. She proudly showed me her battle wound (she's used to being adorable and eats up the spotlight) and I asked her with genuine concern what had happened. "Well, I was bad this morning and my mom slapped me."

It was all I could do not to just walk away.

Come to find out apparently on her way to school this morning her mother slapped her hard enough to leave a swollen eye with a faint outline of a palm on her face. I was appalled, saddened, and confused. I knew her mother. I also knew that this little girl was adopted. They fought for her when her parents neglected her.

Several of the other staff that knew just shook their heads and shrugged it off as a situation handled. I couldn't shake it though. It stuck with me all day. I am certain that mother didn't send her to school knowing she had a huge display of what had happened plastered across her little face. I couldn't imagine the course of events that will probably take place over the next few weeks. Will the older children resent their adopted sister for the trouble she caused? Has this been going on longer than we know? Turns out a previous teacher had suspicions of abuse but no proof. Had it really been going on that long? I can't believe that such a happy bubbly infectious child could have been rescued from abuse only to land in an abusive home again.

Hubby came from an abusive home. I make a point to listen closely to Hubby when he talks about things, even if I've heard it a million times. I think it is important to acknowledge and validate his feelings about his past. It has given me a very different perspective on some of our children's behaviors and histories than many of my colleagues. I see my husband in some of my kids' eyes and it's a horrible, humbling thing to deal with.

One of my deepest fears is that God hasn't allowed Hubby and I a child because he knows something more about us. What if we weren't meant to have kids for a reason? What if one of us can't handle parenting like we think we will? Should we stop our quest for kids and just let things be?

In the meantime I am going to use this just another reminder to never take a single child for granted. Every child no matter their behavior or situation is important and special and I have an opportunity to help them be the best they can be.