Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Cycle

I wonder what it'll be like when this cycle ends.  This annual cycle of schooling.  The excitement of September with newly sharpened pencils, football games, and fall colors.  The dread of January after a wonderful Christmas break.  The sadness of May with the ever looming feeling of fleeting time.

Someday I am going to quit teaching.  Yes, someday hopefully.  And I wonder what life will be like without this annual cycle.  I mean I know the seasons will always come and go..... well unless you live in San Diego.  But I wonder if my roller coaster of emotions will change.  I am sure they won't change much because of Brad.  As soon enough..... too soon, he'll be off to school to start this cycle.

At this stage in the cycle at the beginning of summer more than any other, I feel the strong push to seize the day.  Time passes so quickly.  Luckily.... this summer is definitely the summer of carpe diem for sure.

But alas it wouldn't be my blog if I didn't take a moment to relish in the happy moments of the end of this year.

This class of kids has hands down the worst kids the history of my school has ever seen.  But with the worst, I think it made the good shine brighter.  There are some absolutely fabulous kids.  Signing yearbooks is always a hard thing.  It is absolutely physically exhausting trying to write in 200+ yearbooks.  It's mentally exhausting trying to figure out what to say that'll mean something and make that student feel special.  A lot of teachers "sell out" and get a stamp.  They put some of their favorite words of wisdom and it makes their lives so much easier.  A seminary teacher this year had an awesome stamp.  It just said, "You were my favorite student.  Brother So'n'So"  I thought that was so great because really isn't that what ever kid wants to hear?

But anyway, this year I had a lot of favorites.  A lot.  One in particular.  A kid that has some of the hardest challenges I personally think a kid can be dealt.  Anyway, I put in an extra effort writing a special message in his yearbook.  The next day he came back and said, "My mom started crying when she read what you wrote in my yearbook."

Another huge success long story short, (Obviously vague for a reason) I had a run in with a parent that was terrible.  Absolutely terrible.  Something I don't think parents realize, fighting with a teacher doesn't make the teacher love your student more.... anyway my dad had a run in with a student too.  He told me he was going to do everything in his power to make that student love him.  Although I fought it at first.  I even told my dad, "That student is dead to me." (Clearly in a moment of extreme emotion.)  Anyway, I did do everything I could to make sure that student had a positive experience in my class.  Results:  The student wrote in my yearbook, "You are the best teacher I've ever had."

But alas.... it's over.  My 11th year of teaching is done.  Class of 2019.  I love you, I hate you, but most of all I wish you all the luck in the world.

So here are some pictures.

But first I have to add.  Sometimes people ask and more important I wonder, why oh why oh why do I stay at the junior high?  I hate junior high.  Ok, hate is such a strong word.  But it's kinda true.  One main reason.  I absolutely adore some of the people I work with.  Adore.  They are such good people.


I brought Brad to school with me on the last day of school.  It was awesome.  And I love these two to pieces.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Well.... it happened again this weekend.  Our 8th move in 3 years. Eight freaking times of boxing up every single item we own.  Eight times of scrubbing an entire apartment down.  Eight times of feeling empty.

I don't know why I get so attached to things but I do.  Every move is hard.  To comfort myself I have to quote one of my favorite sayings over and over and over again.

"Change is hard even when it's for the better."

But I still sit here and wonder why oh why am I so sad about leaving, as Jason called it yesterday, our rat hole????  Our apartment was 609 sq feet.  It had 3 windows all facing east so the majority of the day was spent in shadows.  Did I mention the entire space was 609 sq feet?  It was the most efficient space, I am actually quite proud of whomever created the layout.  But still 609 sq feet.  I'm pretty sure my bedroom growing up was bigger than that.

But alas another chapter of life has ended and I guess that is why I am so sad.  Because this chapter, the last 10 months, have been hands down the best 10 months of my life.  It has been full of the most beautiful, wonderful, happy, loving times.  The most obvious being the addition of Brad into our family.  Words can't describe the joy he's brought me.  But it's more than just Brad.  I have spent the last ten months watching Jason learn and grow and succeed.  Watching this transformation has been absolutely beautiful.

It's almost fun for Jason to now explain to his dental school friends his path to get where he is today.  Because you see, Jason has been a rock star at dental school.  Of course he studies his tail off.  And of course it's not polite to brag but dude..... it's amazing.  You know the annoying geeky kid in class that gets 98-100% on every single test.  That is what Jason has turned into.  I am not exaggerating.  Jason has not go lower that a 98% on any test in his first year of dental school.  A couple of days ago one of Jason's dental school friends came over to help us move.  I wish you could have seen this guy's reaction when we told him Jason's path to getting into dental school.  We joked about his GPA.  We told him the responses of his college advisors, "Maybe you should consider a different path."  He laughed when Jason joked about his doctorate in undergraduate studies.  Because it's funny now.  It's funny when the kid at the top of the dental school class barely made it in.

It's been so fun and rewarding to watch this change in Jason.  I was about to say it's made me love him more, but that's not true.  I knew he had it in him.  I knew he would be a brilliant dentist.  But what has been so awesome is watching his confidence in himself grow.  It has been glorious.

Of course the road is long and we never know it was around the bend.  But I will look back at our times in apartment #817 with such fondness.

But I will admit our new place..... our TWO bedroom TWO bath TWO car garage HOUSE...... well let's just say I never in a million years thought I would be so thrilled to live in an insanely ugly yellow and green siding split level circa 1974 house.  But when you are coming from a rat hole.... just about darn near anything is a move up.

(Pictures to come.)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ripped Off - Another Post about Mother's Day

I've thought a lot about a post I wrote last year around this time titled "The Other Side of Mother's Day."  about the ache of being someone who wants to be a mom so badly but wasn't.  The ironic part of that post -  I actually was pregnant when I wrote it I just didn't know it yet.

As I reread through that post I am really proud of it.  I feel like I really articulated the pain that many women have felt about being without child.   Oh how different a year of life can be.  I've already talked about how much I have learned in my short time as a mother... but there is something more that I feel the need to say.   Something that I really felt but never figured out how to articulate.

In any talk about mothers and women in general, there is always the token comment to those women who have never had the chance to have kids.  When talking about the Godly attribute given to women to nurture you can always count on a comment to the childless.  "Nurturing can happen as an aunt, a neighbor, or a friend."

This has always rubbed me the wrong way.  Now clearly it is just my interpretation of it.  And I am probably the one that has the problem.  But in case anyone else out there has ever felt it, I feel the need to say it out loud.  Something that I understand even better now than I did a year ago.

To any woman who hasn't had the opportunity to be a mother, you got completely ripped off.

For some reason when it comes to childless women instead of giving our sympathy, our kindness, and our service we down play the trial of not having your own baby.  We act like "being a good aunt or neighbor" is the same thing.  But now more than ever I know what I always felt, it's clearly not true.  Being a mother is like no experience I have ever felt.  The absolute joy it brings me every stinkin' time I look down at my baby.  Even now at 3:00 in the morning as I listen to my baby sleep on my chest I feel something so wonderful that words can't describe.  The way it warms my soul when he looks up at me.  The way his smile rocks my world every. single. time.  And the bond it has created with Jason.  Of any experience I've had on this earth life, nothing even comes close.  Nothing.

Now maybe it would make women more sad for someone to state out loud that they got ripped off.  But I don't think so.  I think it's what they already know.  It's something they already feel.  So hopefully it can bring comfort that at least someone will acknowledge that it sucks to be them.  That in the history of straws, they got a short one.  That really, being a parent is one of the most important parts of this earthly plan.

But for some reason we don't say that to childless women. Instead we complain to childless women suggesting that they have an easier path without dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and endless worrying. We call them lucky because they have freedom to do whatever they want. But maybe we should be straight up with them.  They got ripped off.

Now of course we can't stop the conversation there. They did get ripped off but that doesn't mean that God doesn't love them or that He somehow forgot about them.  This doesn't mean their life has no meaning.  This doesn't mean their lives can't be filled to the brim with love.  They can find ways to give and serve that can bring happiness beyond measure.  Their lives can be great.

But just because their lives can be great and filled with love, that doesn't mean they didn't get ripped off.  Because they did.  And we should love and care  and look out for these sisters more because of it.  

I am so grateful for this Mother's Day and the blessing of my baby that God chose to give me.  But I am also so grateful for the knowledge of the plan of happiness.  That there is a loving God that is looking after each of us, no matter our lot in life.  A year ago I wondered what in the world anyone could have said to me to make me feel better.  A year later with my new perspective, if I had the opportunity to speak on this sensitive special day, I'd speak about love.  The love of a family, the love of a mother, but most importantly, the love of a Father who cares more about us than we can understand.  I am so grateful for that knowledge.  So grateful for the plan.  No matter our lot in life, there is a reason and a purpose and the joy that knowledge can bring.