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Posts Tagged ‘living’

As the new year begins, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the past year. I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, but I am one to reflect. 2009 was a hard year and I am optimistic that 2010 will be much better. I struggled with depression last year in degrees that I have not dealt with since I left my physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive marriage in 2000. I saw myself as worthless and wondered why, instead of being the “miracle” that survived my health, I didn’t just die. I felt that my children didn’t really need me, nor did my job, nor anyone nor anything for that matter. I am not writing in hopes of getting your sympathy, I don’t want it. My life is what it is, the past, the present the future. I strongly believe that all things happen for a reason although we often do not know what that reason is. I write because writing is healing and I am healing.

I could tell you of all of the ups and downs of the past year, the trials, the tribulations, but in the end, it does not matter. What matters is that we survived it. I found myself feeling thankful during this Christmas season. Money is tight, I have hospital bills that I can not pay, collectors calling, most of the gifts that I gave this year were used and did not cost me anything, yet they looked new and my son did not know the difference. I have a home, I have heat, I have a steady job, and I have family and friends that have blessed me. One of these days, I might be able to fully trust those in my life and lean on them as I once did. I wonder why it is that once trust has been broken, it is so hard to re-establish. I am hard pressed to name two people in my life that I fully trust and I find that to be a sad thing. There is no reason for me not to trust others in my life, they have done nothing to cause the lack of trust that I suffer from and I know that, yet I still am unable to trust them. I wait for the day that they will sabotage our friendship and I know this is a pathetic truth. I also know why my trust issues run so deep and where they stem from. Perhaps that is a good thing, but sadly, it makes no difference.

My motto in life has become, “Fake it until you make it.” I’ve told a few people this and they look at me with a puzzled, quizzical smile upon their face. I don’t think they know whether or I am jesting or being genuine. I am genuine. I find that I have “faked” it through most of my life. I’ve put on that mask to disguise the real me. The mask that smiles, is optimistic and generally finds the good in things. The real me is cynical, doubtful, and constantly waiting for the bad to happen. I do love to smile, laugh and joke around, so one of these days I hope that the “fake it me” becomes the real me. I guess she’s in there under all of the baggage.

I did not mean for this post to be a negative one, just a reflective one. If you have made it this far, thanks for “listening”. Here’s to a year of healing!

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We hadn’t even left yet when my mom handed me a print off of the map that we would be using to find the fabric store. It was from Mapquest.

Mom, this map is useless. It doesn’t show how to get to the street that we need.

That’s ok. I have been there before. I know how to get there.

Are you sure, Mom? We could take my car and I can use my GPS system.

No, we’ll be fine. Besides, this will be fun.

It was fun, for about the first hour of what should have been a 30 minute drive. It was fun, until I began to realize that not only did my mom have no idea where she was going, but that I, even though I was from out of town and did not know the area, I had a better sense of direction than she did, although she would not listen to me. It was fun, until she wanted to ask some gangster how to find the fabric shop. Ok, that in and of itself was hilarious, but trying to find a fabric store for 2 hours instead of the 30 minutes that it should have taken? Yeah, not so fun.

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My children and I went to visit the family. We had a family BBQ so that “everyone (could) see (me)”.

Both of my grandmothers were there. They are approaching 90. My parents were there. They are well into their 60s. One set of aunt/uncle were there whom I am guessing are in their 50s. My brother who is very loud and we have nothing in common was also there with his 3 children who are considerably younger than my 2.

It turns out that my parents told my grandma not to invite a lot of family because I don’t want all of the noise. So instead, they recommended that grandma invite my aunt/uncle that I haven’t seen in about 20 years. However, my parents have since become re-aquatinted with them. Who was that BBQ for?

I later told my mom that I feel out of place at those gatherings. Her response?

C, you need to just jump in and join the conversation.

My mom and aunt were talking about sewing machines and quilting. I don’t sew.

My brother and uncle were talking about Spike TV. I don’t have television.

My grandmas were talking about some old cat named Jake and bad drivers. Although I don’t know anything about Jake, I do know about bad drivers and my one grandma who is going blind qualifies as a bad driver, yet she doesn’t think so and continues to drive. Probably not a good idea to insert my opinion on that topic.

So Mom, which conversation should I just jump into?

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Sometimes life hands us things and we don’t know what to do with it. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? It sure seems like a good thing, but there are things that have you questioning it all. At least that’s how it works in my brain.

Life has made me cautious, very cautious. In many ways this is a good thing. I tend to be able to read people like a book. I can generally let you know if someone is worth getting to know before they have opened their mouth. I can read body language and facial expressions well and I’m usually dead on.  I’ve learned to listen to my instincts and to rely on them.

I seem to be on this new path lately. Life veered significantly off trail just over a year ago and I seem to finally be at a place where I can start living again. Too bad it has taken so long. It seems like a wasted year, but that’s not fair to myself nor fair to the lessons that I have surely learned and am yet to realize.

There is much to be said about my life at the moment and so little that I actually want to say. Leann Rimes does a nice job of summing it up; Something’s Gotta Give.

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It’s been a tough year, a year of survival and many, many challenges. In my years of teaching, this has hands down been the worst year ever. I could go on and on about what made the year so tough, but it is a long list and not easily stated. I’ve had my eyes on the end all year. It has been my focus. Survival and the ability to make it to the end. 

I don’t know how to put these things into words because it is such a hodgepodge of feelings and thoughts. You see, having had to focus on the end all year, I thought for sure I would be happy once the end finally arrived. Friday was the end to my year with my students and it isn’t a happy feeling after all. I am happy that we (my teaching team, the students and I) all made it, but I am not happy to say goodbye to these kids. I will walk into my empty classroom on Monday to finish packing up for summer and posting grades. It will hurt my heart to walk into that empty classroom. The desks are stacked, the student’s self portraits are down, art work and student papers have been removed. The classroom is practically bare and ready for the next group of kids. 

Recently I looked out my classroom door and noticed that there were about 30 5th graders hanging around talking. I opened the door and loudly and sternly shouted, “GO HOME!!!” A look of horror fell upon the face of nearby adults and siblings were startled to hear a teacher yell like that. The 5th graders, however, had a completely different reaction. They turned, saw it was me, and immediately came to me for a group hug and casual conversation. They knew that I was not serious and laughed at me stating, “Oh Ms. H.” It was funny to watch this unfold. I knew that the kids would know right away that I was kidding. I had not anticipated the reaction of others. I knew that they would wonder about it, but I didn’t expect their looks of horror, followed with a quizzical glimpse and then smile upon smile. 

I taught about ten of my 33 students last year as well. It is especially tough to say goodbye to those kids. We have deep bonds and most of them I am somewhat involved with their family as well. This year, I have helped students work through social issues, I have been a shoulder to cry on for several students who found their parents divorcing, other students had parents in and out of the hospital, a mother had cancer and I was a part of the diagnosis, the chemo and the radiation treatments. The student brought in the device that was inserted into her mother for chemo treatments. I was there (in the student and family’s life) when Mom was diagnosed and I was involved when Mom had her very last treatment over a year later. I was a part of the life of a child that walked out of the courthouse with only the clothes on his back into his mother’s care. The school was able to provide clothing until Mom was able to get all that she needed. I went to baseball games, softball games and birthday parties. I listened as they talked to me about their latest crushes and shared who their current boyfriend or girlfriend was. I watched the physical transformation from child to young adult. I listened to children cry that they don’t like their Mom or their Dad and why they felt that way. I received hug after hug after hug. A known gang member began to call me Mommy and continued to do so all year long. He was insistent that I was his “other mother.” Together, we laughed and we cried and today I realize just how very attached I am to these students. They are amazing kids and I love them. I hate to see them go. 

I laugh with my kids, I share with my kids and I cry with my kids. They are so deeply rooted into my life. I couldn’t help but tell a few of them that I love them as we said our final goodbyes. I don’t usually let myself express love to my kids. Occasionally I find myself giving a kiss on the forehead, but this year, I knew that I had to tell some of them that I love them. I knew that the craziness of their home-life and the raging hormones of a pre-teen left some of them wondering if anyone loved them and I could not let them leave without hearing me say that yes, I really do love you. 

How can I not be sad to see these kids go? Kids that know that when I “yell” I am only playing. Kids that know they can get a hug from me at anytime, kids that like to stand around and talk to me about nothing. Kids that have opened up and let me fully and completely into their lives. Goodbye guys. I WILL miss you!

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My mom and I were talking about a conversation that I had with another family member recently. “Wow,” she said, “You are pretty blunt these days.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Well, you two are close, you can be blunt with her.”

Except, I’m kind of blunt with everyone now a days. Usually I word things nicely, but sometimes, things just need to be said. 

Ah, aging. It brings out the best in us.

***Also, my links are still gone and I don’t know why. Do you know where they went and how to get them back? My “links” tab shows that all of my links are visible, but as you can clearly see, they are not.

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*It is currently 93 degrees. Earlier in the week, the high was only in the 50s. There is something wrong with that in my opinion.

*The dog had emergency surgery this week. We were told to prepare for the worst. It has all ended well. She now has a 10 inch incision in her stomach. 

*My 5th grade boys freaked out about spiders twice this week while the girls could care less. 

*I went to a softball game this morning. That was fun. 

*Some of my students are begging me to teach 6th grade next year so that they can have me again. I taught them in 4th grade last year and 5th grade this year. I can not believe that they would want me for a 3rd year. 

*We got our preliminary state scores back (for the students) this week.  Our 5th grade students made a 65% increase in reading. That’s pretty amazing, especially considering how tough this year was. 

*I can’t get the dog to take her antibiotics without a treat, yet when I laid the cat’s antibiotic down on the bed so I could pry her mouth open, the dog came along and willingly ate it. WTH?

*A friend in Washington was told that she won’t be re-hired next year for teaching. All teachers with 3 years or less of experience have received pink slips due to the budget crises. That’s 83 teachers in her district. Meanwhile, my district is still trying to figure out what they are going to do. They are considering 4 day school weeks. 

*Government needs to get into the schools and see what is really happening instead of creating all of these regulations based on perceptions and cutting funding constantly. It’s not good for the kids and it’s not good for the future of America. We need to look at Japan and some of the other countries and get our schools straightened out. 

*Parents need to start parenting their children and stop being afraid to be the bad guy.

*I need to work on breaking my coffee addiction. It’s getting out of hand.

*I got my hair done today. That’s always a treat.

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