Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Skipping Christmas

First, on a positive note related to my last post, I did find a food kitchen to volunteer at as well as signing up to be a literacy volunteer. I'm actually pretty excited about these things. Now on to today's less than positive rant. Apologies in advance. I've been working on Christmas for months, trying to plan what everyone in my family wants and making sure that they have a very happy holiday. My husband provides little or no input at all, not even on the gifts for his sister, mother and respective families. Whatever. I'm over it. I just send them whatever at this point and they can deal with it if it isn't something they like. That's the best I can do. My husband has been sick and nearly completely useless for two weeks. Yes, I feel terrible that he has been so sick. I've tried to take care of him, providing nutritious food and care. But it just seems like the never ending sickness at this point. It doesn't help that he is so reticent to go to the doctor or take any medication. Add to this fact that we have about a million things to do around our house: mow the yard, rake the leaves, pick up debris, get a frigging Christmas tree. Seriously its never ending and starting to feel overwhelming. Add to that my snarky teenager being well.... a teenager and life is just peachy. In all honesty, my daughter is a beautiful girl that is really pretty good but we're both menstrual at the moment making everyone's life hell. Awesome. Its Christmas time. I was so excited to have my shopping done early, my shipping completed and cards sent but now.... yeah, it's just sucky. No CHristmas tree, no Christmas lights and honestly, my husband never helps with the lights so I always have to do that myself. I'm just tired. Maybe I'll just skip Christmas this year. Everyone else around here appears to be. I know this post is just pathetic but I just wanted to vent. Needed a place to get the anger and frustration OUT. My mom arrives in just a few days. I hope that when she gets here, I'll be able to find my Christmas spirit again. Going to bed to pray and think about what is and what isn't really important to try and give myself a new perspective tomorrow. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Life Changing

I can't believe how long it has been since I have blogged. Life sure does get in the way sometimes and I have forgotten how much I love to write. I need to make it a point to do it more often, especially working on some projects that have been in the works for much too long. I'm still working at my job, though now I work with Kindergarten aged children. They are adorable and affectionate. It's hard not to love a job like that. In the course of my work though, I have learned so much. My entire attitude about so very many things has changed because of the experiences that I have gained. Those are the things I want to write about today - the realizations that truly are life changing. Two years ago, when I started at my job, I had no idea what poverty was. Let me be clear, of course it was an abstract idea in my head that I was vaguely aware of, but I had no idea. If you would have told me that there were children in the 4th grade that didn't own a single book, I would have laughed at you and told you that wasn't possible. Now I know that not only do those children exist, but often they don't even have enough to eat, or a bed to call their own. In the most affluent country in the world, there are children who live in apartments with 4 or 5 other families - where even closets - YES, CLOSETS - are rented out. I have seen children stuff food from the breakfast and lunch bins into their pockets and backpacks because they don't have enough to eat. I have seen them come to school in underwear because their crack addict mother couldn't be bothered to wash their uniforms. I have seen things that make my heart weep and I understand now just how very fortunate I am, and my children are. I used to be against illegal immigration. Then, I met a very special boy. He WALKED from El Salvador at four years old with his family to come here. He works hard in school every day to learn as much as he can to be an American. Yes he still loves the country of his origin but if you ask him, he would tell you that he doesn't want to go back. He is one of many at my school who could tell you the same story. After the Presidential election some of my 5th grade students were visibly relieved because they support the Dream Act - a chance to become real citizens of this country in spite of entering it illegally. Before this job, I never would have thought I would say this, but I support it too. I would rather have fellow citizens like this little boy who walked here to be free than those who sit on their collective asses and collect a welfare check. And finally, yesterday my youngest daughter who's 10 came home and told me about a new student in her school. This child is blind and paralyzed - a recent development caused by tumors in her brain. Imagine waking up one day and not being able to see. Something so basic that all of us take for granted And then, after losing your eye sight, you also lose the ability to walk. On top of this, the cause of this loss are tumors which could potentially mean that this child has a much bigger fight on her hands. I look at my beautiful, laughing little girl and I think of how VERY LUCKY I am. I pray for those parents who I have never met and their little girl, that somehow, a cure can be found. I can't imagine what this child's life must be like or the pain her parents must feel at how helpless they are. Then I sit here and wonder what I can do to really support those things that I believe in, how I can make a difference and help. I mean, sure i support St. Jude's every year, but honestly that is the easy thing to do. It's only money. It costs me nothing in time or emotional investment. I want to do something to really help families and children like the ones I have talked about here - something that will be as life changing as these realizations are. Now the question is just.... WHAT????

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I've Been Busy

Well, it's been a long time and my poor blog has been sadly neglected. I miss writing more, but lately just haven't had the time. My job has been keeping me going, sometimes even on the weekends and when I'm not busy with teaching or lesson planning, I'm with my family.
My girls are doing great. My oldest is going to be thirteen this month, which is almost impossible for me to believe. I can still remember the first time that the doctor put her in my arms. She was so tiny, pink and perfect. Now she rolls her eyes at me and gives me teenage attitude, but she is still my reason for being - she and her sister. My daughters and I have a good and fairly open relationship and that makes me happy. I know that the teenage years are going to be a challenge but I am heartened by the fact that my mother survived them with me, and if that's the case, then anything is truly possible. Thanks Mom.
My husband and I have been doing better too. We just celebrated our wedding anniversary. It was wonderful, he really outdid himself. The best gift he gave me? TIME. We were able to spend the whole weekend together, talk about anything and everything and just really reconnect. We definitely needed that. The gorgeous, long stem red roses were also a nice touch. Two weeks later they are still blooming. :)
My job is great. It started out a little rough, because I was predominantly doing teacher support. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to help teachers in any way that I can, but what I really want to do is work with students. Finally, finally, finally - I have 13 students that I work with of various grade levels. I love them all and each are unique. I love working in a title one school where the students have many challenges that they face, both in and out of school. I feel like I am doing some good, and I just love being with them. Being in a school like mine, has opened my eyes to so many things and really forced me to evaulate and reconsider many of my own preconceived thoughts and opinions. Any time I hear a politician talk about "those children" in "those schools", they will forever be talking about my kids, because I do view each one of my students a "mine". I worry about them, think about how they are learning and what I can be doing better all the time. I think that constantly re-evaluating and challenging ourselves is a big part of having a happy and successful life and I am grateful for this opportunity, no matter how long it lasts.
I just wanted you all to know that I was thinking about you and catch you up to date. I hope you all are doing well, enjoying some warm spring weather and spending time with the ones you love. After all, that is what life is all about.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The "X" factor

And no, I'm not talking about the show, I'm talking about the level of excitement in my life and in my relatioships.
My family and I went to dinner the other night with our neighbors. We had a wonderful time, my neighbors are a lot of fun and have many wonderful stories to tell. However, as we sat there laughing and talking, I began to realize that I was primarily listening to the stories of others. Don't get me wrong, I am usually a listener, but I realized that on that particular evening I was predominantly listening because I didn't have much to say.
The next day, as my husband and I were talking about our evening, I was commenting on how much travel and exciting things our friends do and how our lives seem relatively bland in comparison. He quite nonchalantly pointed out that our lives aren't very exciting because, in general, I don't like to do things that are exciting.
Some backstory - my husband loves to sail and ski - neither of which I enjoy. When I was a child, sailing with my family really frightened me. I always thought that the boat was going to sink and I was going to drown. I guess I never got over it. Skiing - well, let's just say that being cold isn't my favorite thing, but if I am going to be cold I would rather ice skate or snow tube, that is just me. I have always felt bad about my husband really enjoying doing these things and not really getting to do them. I always felt a lot of guilt because I thought that I was holding him back and keeping him from the things that he loved. I always encourage him to do these things whenever he has the opportunity, but I guess it's not the same.
I'm not really much of a rollercoaster girl either and have I mentioned that I hate to fly? I will fly, but I don't really enjoy it - probably due to a very scary emergency landing that I was invovled in as a child. In retrospect, I guess my need to control the situation that I am in effects my inclination to participate in these activities that are scary or thrilling.
Here are some things I do enjoy or would do if the opportunity arose:
~ scuba diving/ snorkeling
~sight seeing
~ learning new things
~ going to historical landmarks
~ swim with the dolphins
~ tubing down a river
~horseback riding
~ games or role playing
~ going to the beach/ collecting sea glass or shells

I don'tknow, perhaps the lack of the "x" factor in our lives really is my fault, but I'm not sure what to do about it. I don't think that I can change the things that I enjoy doing or pretend to enjoy things that I don't. This all leads us to our personal life. Stop reading if you don't want to details.
Really things are kind of bland in all areas. I try to spice things up with new ideas, toys, games, etc. I guess this is one way that I consider myself adventurous. Still, we are getting older (though it KILLS me to say this), our children are getting older, we are both busy with work and he's busy with his PhD and frankly, there really isn't much time for anything else and even when there is, there seems to be little inclination. When I want to he doesn't and vice versa. I've tried changing my clock around, being more available at what I know are the most likely times for him, but still it avails little. Most of the time, I don't even mind, which is really bad. Most of the time we live like friends with occassional benefits. Maybe that is what marriage really is?

Worst in all of this is the sense of holding him back. Not really sure what to do about it all, or even if there is anything to do about it, just wanted to get it off my chest. After all, it's not like I can really talk to him about it and maybe that's the biggest problem.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Best Christmas Present Ever

December 21 is my Father's birthday - the Winter Solstice. It's been almost three years since he' s been gone and I still miss him everyday. My Christmas story relates to my dad because I know he's watching me, with me still, interceding for me and helping to guide my steps.
Some of you may know that my husband was recently diagnosed with Celiac's disease. It's been a struggle for him and even on a gluten free diet, the symptoms are not completely resolved. Neither of us were really convinced by his diagnosis and on Wednesday, my father's birthday, we went to see a specialist at Bethesda. The specialist wasn't convinced by the diagnosis either. I feel vindicated that, while my husband may indeed have Celiac's, we aren't crazy. The criteria used to determine the diagnosis were sketchy at best. They took a blood sample to do a complete work up, including a genetic marker test to see if my husband has the predisposition for the disease. If he doesn't, well, it's back to square one to see what is really wrong with him. If he does have the marker, that still doesn't mean he has Celiac's but just a chance to have it. I have been praying like crazy that, one way or another, we will have a definitive diagnosis so that we can wrap our head around it and make the best decisions for my husband's future health. I am so grateful to God that He is helping us through this process. I love my husband and wnat him with me for a long time. In the meantime, he has been cleared to eat gluten which means stuffing and pizelles on Christmas!

On another note, a second Christmas gift that has come my way this year, I had a job interview last week. Most of my readers know that I have been unemployed since we moved here to Annapolis in July. I miss my students like crazy and while I am volunteering and tutoring, it's just not the same. The day of the interview came and I was so nervous. When I arrived, I saw the interviewee before me leave the office. When I left, I saw the next interviewee go in. I really didn't feel confidant about my chances. After all, I had sent my resume in so many times to have no response at all. Well, yesterday, one day after my Dad's birthday, I got the call.... and I got the job! New students to love and nurture starting on the 3rd day of the new year! I know my Dad is still up there watching out for me, guiding my path as he always did when he was still here with me.

So the greatest gift is the reminder that those we love are never truly gone because after all, love lives on. I love you Daddy....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stop Obsessing!

I have several acquaintances who have been really freaked out about their age and their birthdays this year. Wrinkles freak me out- occasionally - grey hairs are something not to be tolerated - by me at any rate. But birthdays? That's just another day.

I have never fixated on a particular birthday and I hope I never do. I just turned 41 this past September, but it really doesn't matter. I don't feel it. In my head and in my heart, I still feel 18. The only difference is that I get the benefit of having my children, who are amazingly cool individuals, but they wouldn't have been so much fun at 18. I live my life everyday. I try to live it to the fullest and find something amazing. This morning it was a milky white moon on a cerulean blue sky and the way the frost crystals formed on the fallen leaves. It was my daughter's wonder and joy in life that is so contagious. Some days are good and others are shit, but if you look, there is always something miraculous.

Don't fixate and waste it on something as stupid as age. It's just a number and age is all an attitude anyway. If you act old, it doesn't matter if your twenty but being young at heart is forever.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Footsteps on the Moon

Ever since we moved, I have been looking for a job. Not surprising in this economy, i would say. So, until I get a regular gig, I am working as a private tutor. My students mean too much for me to just sit and wait for a classroom opportunity.
I have been working with a darling little boy. Very precocious. As a student, he works hard and applies himself. Sure he sometimes needs the gentle reminder to stay on task, but I'm a grown adult and even I sometimes need that. I have been working with him, once a week, since beginning of October. He was a C student to start. Now, due to his hard work, he is earning A's. His teacher told his parents that she was sorry they got a tutor, that he was an average student. What does that even mean?
Does that mean he has average ability and above average desire to succeed? What does average mean to a third grader? Our course in life is not set by the time we are 8 and those people who are entrusted with our children should always teach and encourage them to aim as high as they can dream. One of my favorite quotes is "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footsteps on the moon". That's the way I feel about my student. I'm proud of his hard work and accomplishment. To me, he is anything but average.