Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Color of Grief is Gray

I know, I know. It's been a month since my last post.

I had to take a break. I blame the holidays...because it's
convenient.

Truthfully, the real reason is the Gray.

The Gray is often at the edge of my vision.

Sometimes I pretend not to see it.
Sometimes I turn and face it belligerently.
Sometimes I run from it.

The Gray can be bad for me.
It has packed on more than a few pounds
of fat and it sucks the productivity out
my free time. The Gray has left me more
distracted and absent minded than usual.

And that's pretty dang distracted.
Tonight I pulled up to a red light,
stopped, looked both ways and
ran it.

The Gray is not my enemy but it can never be my
friend.

To be friends with the Gray would leave me in
the bed all day. Detatched from all those I love.
Withdrawn to a place where all colors and
feelings are muted because loss is less
painful that way. 

I know this because I have been friends with
the Gray before and I had to fight hard to
break up with it.

I made it through my first Thanksgiving as the
Mom in charge. It was pretty awful. For many
different reasons my extended family was very
scattered and for the first time I can remember
we weren't together.  Only four of us gathered
around our table that day but we were thankful
to be together and it was okay.
I kept the Gray pushed away because I was
worried about my oldest who was very sick.
AND I was busy trying to figure out a way to convince
her and her husband that they were still my little 
chicks and would be better off moving into my basement.
That would make it so much easier for me to take care
of them when they are sick.

Just sayin'......

Christmas night I said, somewhat pridefully,
that sometimes the anticipation of a painful
event is worse than
the actual event.

Then I woke up this morning to the Gray.

My little piece of the world seems to be filled
with pain for so many of the people I care about.
I am so tired of feeling helpless against their pain.
I have spent the day teary eyed for my father, my
friend, my brothers and my sister.

What I know is this.
Ignoring pain makes it stronger.
When the pain comes...
it is best to face it and feel it.

Just don't make friends with it.


Just sayin'.........

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trash to Treasure?



My next project is this primitive pie safe that has been waiting for me in my parent's basement.

I have been looking for something to display my Lu-ray dishes, McCoy vases and some other old bowls and things I have acquired over the years. 

I like it. Tony isn't so sure. I can tell by the quick intake of breath followed by a just as quick 'Nevermind'. 
His acceptance of my love for things with 'hidden potential' is one way I know he loves me so I just pretend not to notice. 
Smile. 


 The drawer is original but the shelves have been replaced at some point.  Even so, they were pretty dirty.  This picture was taken after I washed them off in the kitchen sink.  My motto has always been: Why work outside in the weather when you can work inside?  With a nice t.v. show in the background.
Heh.
I love the remnants of screen left clinging to the doors and the way the latch has worn a groove in the wood.  I'm not going to replace the screen and I won't repaint it a shiny white. At the most I may give it a wash of blue. I like it just the way it is now.





This is the last thing my mother gave me. My mom was always generous and loved giving. We shared a fascination for all things old and she loved to tell me the history of the treasures she came across.

I grew up surrounded by antique furniture and as a result I find it difficult to purchase something that doesn't have a story.
Each piece of furniture from my childhood had a name...Mamaw's dresser, Nan's spool chest, Uncle So and So's whatchamacallit...I didn't have time to hear the story of this old pie safe.  Mom was already sick when she gave it to me.

I guess it will known as Grandmother's pie safe from the basement.

I miss her so.


Just sayin'.................

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Get a Job!

Today I confiscated a mangled paper clip from one of my students.

As I dramatically implored the precious angels to refrain from twisting all of my paper clips completely out of shape and to place them unharmed on my desk one of my little sweeties said,
“Yeah, cuz they costes alot of money and you don’t have any money!”

They may have heard that very comment some other time.
Possibly uttered by an adult.
Maybe in reference to the excessive use of glue.
Maybe.

Anyway, the others around her nodded with concerned looks on their faces and one little girl piped up with,
“My mama says she doesn’t have enough money.”
I nodded my head and solemnly added,
“I don’t have enough money either.”

We all gazed sadly at each other contemplating our mutually, pitiful financial state and the possibility of life without paperclips.

From the back (where the trouble makers tend to be) came a little voice…..
a little impatient voice.

”Then get a job!”

After I finished laughing I told the students that I DID indeed have a job.

Same location.
Same kid.
Same slightly irritated voice asked
"Then what is it?"

This is the second time this year my students have been shocked to learn that my JOB is to be with them all day!

Earlier this year as we walked out to recess one day I remarked that I just hadn’t wanted to get up out of bed to come to work that day!

You could have heard a pin drop and the entire line came to a halt. They ALL stared at me with confused expressions on their faces and finally one little girl said,

“You have a job?!?!?  What is it?"






I don’t get no respect at all…..






Just sayin

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Normal? Not me.

I have come to the conclusion that no one is 'normal'. 
I know I'm just a little to the side of normal
and you?
You definitely are off the beaten path.

I'm not Kidding.

I freely admit that I must be somewhere on the spectrum of something.

And I'm pretty sure you'll agree.

The following is a list of reasons why I know I need some kind of diagnosis.

I can't abide anything touching my face.
Anything at all.
Like.....
my hair.

I think everyone at the fabulous Awaken Aveda Spa and Salon knows that my hair is not allowed to touch my face.
AND
they even remind each other of that fact with a straight face. (Such solicitious attention to detail is why you all should grab your phone immediately and call for an appointment. These people are seriously AWESOME which is why people drive from all over the state for an appointment!!!)I'm sure that owner and miracle worker, Cade, knew he was in trouble soon after he introduced himself to me.
It probably became clear to him the minute he asked what I had in mind and I whipped out a picture of......
wait for it......
myself. 
Yes, I've heard of people bringing in pictures of celebrities....
eh, whatever.  I really liked that haircut.

How about this little nugget...

Both bottom and top sheet must be wrinkle free in order for me to sleep. Nightgowns wrap around my legs and trap me so t-shirts and tank tops are all I can sleep in. I will apologize for waking you up when I get out of bed to straighten sheets but I.will.straighten.them.

Most tags must be removed from my clothing and I have been known to remove a tag while still wearing the offending article of clothing! Many a blouse has been ruined due to itchy tags and impatience.
I like to think that my skin is just a bit more delicate than most.

This next little hinky dink (that's an official educational term I'll have you know) is unfortunate for someone in my profession.

Repetitive noises, especially those favored by the six and under age group, make.me.want.to.be.violent! I have a rule in my classroom.
It's called
No weird noises.
It covers humming one note for hours, tapping, clicking your tongue, kicking the table leg that rattles, nonsensical sounds or fake mechanical noises.

Most little kids are nice about it.

My husband finds it ridiculous. He can pop his gum louder than the sonic booms caused by the aircraft in our area and if I so much as flinch he gives me the...
'you are so dumb' look.
And continues.

Rude! 
It makes me want to lock him in a small room and blast rap music or songs with repetitive lyrics at him.

Much like Sheldon, a character of one of my favorite sitcoms, The Big Bang Theory, I like to sit in one spot.
Surrounded by my stuff.
In my big chair.
Unlike Sheldon, I will not make you get up and move.
But I will wish that you would anyway.

I constantly rock, sway, wiggle and jiggle.
I like to say that I am fidgety.
The rocking started after I became a mother and discovered the joy of rocking small people.
I just haven't been able to stop.
My children won't allow me to rock them anymore so I blame them.

I can't eat anything slimy or anything I perceive as slimy like raw oysters or boiled okra.
Yes, southerners really do boil that stuff and eat it.
On purpose. (Great big shudder)
My mom tried all of my childhood to make me love the stuff.
All I can say is Thank God for big brothers who can be really sneaky.
Also if you live on Fairmont Rd in Greenville, SC there might be a really great compost heap in your side yard just beyond the driveway.
Just sayin......

Also, my socks have to reach all the way to my knees and must not wrinkle in my shoes. As I prepare to put on a new pair of sock I tell them that I am not afraid to throw them away.
It seems to help. 

One of my earliest memories is of nearly pushing my father (who is not a violent man) to commence beating me because he refused to tell me which frilly white church sock went on the right foot and which one was for the left foot. To this day, I know there is
WAS a difference.
Just sayin......

I refuse to take any liquid medication.
I twirl my hair.
I overuse nasal spray because if I can't breathe through my nose I'm convinced I'm probably near death.
I need white noise to sleep.
I don't like the sound dogs make when they lick themselves.
Someone reading over my shoulder makes me a little more crazy.
I love, love, love Star Wars, and fantasy novels.
And PLEASE GOD!

Don't let my underwear crawl.

Just sayin....................

PS-Feel free to confess your own personal hinky dinks in the comments. I shouldn't be out here alone.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dear Judy

I do not pretend to understand why you
have suffered so.

So much of life on this earth
is a mystery.

Thank you for such a brilliant
example of quiet
faith.

Watching you love the hardest of
all to love taught me to look for
the good in all children.

It taught me that a soft answer
speaks louder than the scolding
voice I too often use.

Judy, for ever more, when I hear
the words grace, genteel or lady
it is your face, your smile and
your example that will come
to mind.

You have fought a beast we
all fear and loathe.

You have fought hard and well
with a courage that has bolstered
those around you.

On behalf of all the children and
parents you have blessed and the family,
friends and co-workers you have loved....

Thank you and we love you, Judy!

We will keep praying for you.
We will pray for peace
and for a miracle.

Just sayin'........................

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Letter to the Crud

Dear Russell Elementary Virus Crud,

You are not welcome here. Please go away!
I shouldn't even be talking to you now.
I am immune to any puny little
grade school virus.

I really don't know how you snuck past
my ninja like immune system.
I find it rude and inconsiderate.
I should have know this morning would end badly
when my sweet faced student told me that she was sick with

'the phlegm'

but she came to school anyway.

The headache you have given me is
way.over.the.top!
And I know headaches!

Last night the throbbing woke me up.
That was totally unnecessary.
I could have been sleeping but NOOOOOO
I had to run through all of my self-diagnosis
procedures to be sure that I hadn't suddenly
developed a brain tumor. 

Like any good teacher I tried to work.
I really did. Remember I like those little people
who spend their days with me. I tell my colleagues that
school will go on just fine without them and that
the kids will survive a day or two without us.
But none of us really believe that. We know society as
we know it could easily fall apart if we take a day off.

However, when I realized I  was seriously considering
teaching from a prone position on the floor
I thought I'd better consider
alternative plans.

I hate you Crud.
I mean it.

You see, worst of all you attacked the husband.
Now we have to share the sick bed.
And it makes me feel guilty when he
manages to get some stuff done around here 
while I just lay around and moan.

Well, not really.

He was in the military. I'm pretty sure they got
some special training for times like this.
I'll bet he has special forces training in
combatting 'the pleghm'.



Just sayin'...............

Friday, October 29, 2010

To My Friend-Because So Many Love You and Yours

Sore at Heart.  Broken.  Broken Hearted.  Heart Sore.

Grief.

It wears like a suit of armor.

It is stiff, unwieldy. Alternately cold and hot.

It rebuffs the sun and repels happiness.  

Grief requires……..no, it demands death. 

Death of one we love, death of a dream, death of a promise, death of an ideal or death of a perception.

Death of any of these leaves you empty, broken and heart sore.

The fact that none of them must remain permanent is of no comfort at first.

My friend and her family are grieving.
If you are here you probably know who I am talking about.
If you do not know her then I apologize for the lack of details.
I will only tell the stories that are mine to tell and this one belongs to my friend and her family.

This friend, like many of us, is human. Smile.
She has made many mistakes in life-just exactly like you and I have.
She has faults. As do I.

I suppose that I want you to understand that underneath the surface that we show to the world we are all the same.
We all rejoice.
We all love.
And we all hurt.

I suppose that I want my friend to know that over the twenty something years of our friendship I have seen the good and the bad.
The funny and the sad.

What I want you to know, my friend, is that I know the steel that lies beneath the surface. 

I want others to know about the times you chose the rocky road, the uphill battle or the way less traveled.

You had a choice early in life that many of your peers wouldn’t have thought twice about.
But you?
You chose the road of sacrifice.

When I confided my struggle with panic attacks…….you put your child in my classroom.
You will never know how your confidence in me gave me the strength to keep my head above the water and to keep on dog paddling through those waters filled with anxiety and heart pounding fear.

Your complete acceptance of something none of us really understood is a gift I will be forever grateful for.

I watched you raise that boy alone for a time. You did it with little monetary support and you let him love ALL his family. Even the ones who didn’t really deserve it at the time.

You had a baby with a pretty foot.  Where others might have seen it as something to cry about…..you simply called it his pretty foot.

You have calmly weathered multiple stitches, broken bones, emergency appendectomies and freak accidents with your children and rightfully earned the right to be my medical colleague. Smile.

I was there when you helped give a gift that broke your heart.  I know the cost.

You said the words I have never forgotten.
You said them when I called with grief and pain of my own.
You said,
Hang in there. We’re gonna circle the wagons around you and it’s gonna be okay.

Well, my friend.
Hang in there. 
We are circling the wagons right now and it IS gonna be okay. 

If you have read this far then you must love my friend too.

PLEASE leave her a comment. 
PLEASE write words of love and encouragement for her and her family.
I want to show them that they are loved by soooooo many.

If you have trouble leaving a comment In-box me on Facebook and I’ll add it for you.

It is time to circle the wagons.


Just sayin'.....................................

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just Breathe-(Sorry Angie)

I tried all week to write a lighter post, Ms. Fabulous.
Really I did!
I just wasn't feeling it.

Funny things have happened. They do everyday in my line of work.
I just didn't feel driven to find those words.

Friday, Oct 22 marked six months since mom died...
And I remembered her with a smile.

The date holds no power for me.
It is other things that take my breath.

Things I never would have guessed.
The book she took with her that last time in the hospital.

A bookmark still waiting for her to find her place again.
The aprons she wore and the brand new dish towels she
refused to use because she didn't want them to get dirty.
Her hairbrush and tooth brush.
Her nightstand.
Her chair.

Incredibly, I find myself unable unwilling to face
My Sanctuary.
My Church.
The sweet familiar voice of my pastor.

I spent most of the last service I attended there
Struggling to keep a sob inside.
Struggling to catch the tears before anyone else saw them.
Struggling to breathe through the pain.
The cords that once bound me there seemed missing.
I know I own my emotions. Still, I felt unimportant. 

So now...well, now I avoid.  It's something I am a master of....

Years ago, for very different reasons,
I chose the words
Just Breathe
as a reminder that many times in life all you can do is
Just Breathe. 
And when that is all you can do, well,
then you have done all you can.

This afternoon I ventured into a beautiful old church
in Milledgeville. I went in support of my father and in
honor of my mother.

The stately old house of worship smelled that musty
old wood smell that exists only in buildings of history
and days gone by.

The Hospice organization that helped us take care of
Mom in those last few, much too short, days had invited
the families and loved ones of the patients they have served
over the last year to join them in a service of
Remembrance.

Maybe it was the easy chatter on the drive over or maybe
it was my old friend Denial.  At any rate, I was blindsided
by raw emotion when they asked me to write something
about my mother for the chaplain to read.

I froze. I panicked. And then I cried.

I didn't know what words were big enough, sincere enough, 
significant enough or lovely enough for her.

I struggled for composure for the next forty minutes.
The wails threatened to erupt from my throat as the
tears flowed. And flowed.I don't mind tears.

It is the heaving, choking
loud wails that I am afraid of.

The service was beautiful.

Each family member present lit candles and the
flickering light they gave was peaceful.

Finally, we gathered outside where the last of four white doves
was handed to my father.


He kissed her head and gently threw her skyward.
Where the previous three doves had flown to the right...
Ours chose the left.

Flying towards the house, a block away, where I grew up
The dove disappeared into the sunlight.




She is gone from us now.

But she is only a breath away.
Only a heartbeat away.

It is our job to continue on-

Even if all we can do is

Just Breathe.




Just Sayin'..................................

Sunday, October 17, 2010

She Came to Me

She came to me this afternoon as I slept away a migraine.

I remember that she asked me if I needed her
and I remember answering with a nod.

She became form and substance and I crowded as close as I could.

Making myself as small as possible I lay my head on her shoulder
and cried.

She held me and told me things I can't remember now.
They will surface when I need them.

My heart knows now that she came because I would need
her after I struggled awake.

She knew I would need the steel to do what
had to be done.

The time came.
I did what no one ever wants to do.

The rest of the story is not mine to tell and
it never will be.

Being the bad guy sucks.

Just sayin'......................................

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Empty Place

The
empty place
in my heart
is shaped like
her.

I miss her
voice
and
her smile.

I miss the way my
name
said
in her voice
sounded like
love.

I miss
her
hands.

I miss her
khaki
culottes
and
her
S.A.S.
shoes.

I miss
hearing
her say
Hello, my precious angel.



I want her back.




Just sayin'.........................




Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another Baby Post

This is the child who made me a great aunt. She has more nicknames than Baskins Robbins has flavors.

I like to call her Ellie Belly, Ells Bells, Ellie J and Pebbles.
She also answers to Belly, Belle and of course the ever popular and apt Princess. Smile.

Have you ever seen a more beautiful face?
Those eyelashes are to die for and when her mama puts her hair up in pigtails or a ponytail on the top of her head...... well, I cannot be held responsible for any spoiling that happens.

Her grin lights up the world and only a cyborg could resist grinning back at her.

Her parents are so blessed to have her! She is blessed to have them too. I love watching her mommy and daddy take care of her. 

Right now she is a little suspicious of me.  I don't get to see her as much as I would like. I can't wait for the day that she knows that I'm the great aunt that always has something special just for her in her purse.  I'm never above a little bribery. Smile again.

Ellie J, I promise never to pinch your cheeks and I will never ever, ever, ever try to get some of your sugar with lipstick on my teeth and smelly coffee breath. 

I promise to always give you two cookies (one for each hand) and when your mommy and daddy get all crochety and grumpy like parents sometimes do I'll take you outside to play.

I promise to be on your side every time.

I love you, Pebbles!

Aunt Ann
(Your favorite GREAT aunt)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dear Brooklyn,

A few weeks ago you made your mommy and daddy the happiest two people in the whole wide world.

You made them into a mommy and a daddy.

All babies are miracles.

Just thinking about a tiny little being coming into existence, growing inside a womb and finally exiting to become a person who has it's own personality is....well... it is unimaginable, incredible, incomprehensible. 

At least for us humans.

It took a wise and wonderful God to figure all of that out.

Perhaps the most miraculous of all is that God knows each of us before we are born.  His Word tell us that he knows each of us before our bones are knit together in our mother's wombs. 

That passage has been one that has uplifted, comforted, consoled and given me confidence all my life. To know that God knew all about me before I was born proves to me that He loves me. He loves ME.  Not just a generic human.....but the me that I am.

He knew you too, Brooklyn. 

He knew you before anyone else in the whole wide world did.
And He has loved you every single moment.

God knew who you were as you grew from something smaller than a speck to a seven pound baby girl with two arms, two legs, ten fingers and ten toes.  God knew your name, the color of your eyes and how beautiful your hair would be when you were born into this world.  God knew that you would have long fingers and toes and that you would squeak instead of instead of crying. 
God knew one more very important detail.

God knew that you belonged to your parents.  And to us.  Smile.
But, beyond the miracle of your existence is another miracle.  It is one that you and I share and it makes us very, very special! You share this miracle with your father, your grandfather and your maternal great aunts and uncles.
You see, Sweetie, sometimes...God has to work a little harder to be sure that babies get the right mommy and daddy.Brooklyn, you are a Chosen Baby.

God chose you for Mommy and Daddy and He chose them for you.
He knew that the three of you belonged together and so...
He made you all a family. 

We have all known we were meant for each other from the day we heard you were on the way.

On Friday, October 1st.....it was made official for the rest of the world!

I love you Brooklyn Grace!
I think I always have!

Just sayin'.............

Love, love, love,

Aunt Ann

PS-Don't forget what I told you last time.....I'm your favorite.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lunch With the Chef AKA OINK!

Soooo, she walked into the classroom this morning ready for picture day. She was dressed in new clothes from head to toe.  I knew that because her hoodie had the size sticker placed precariously on her shoulder where she'd forgotten about it after playing with it on the way to school.

She glanced my way several times as she rummaged around in her backpack (also new). Finally finding what she wanted and holding it proudly in her hand she approached me.

Just imagine I am telling you this story in the voice of a typical five year old.

"I bwung da Chef," she said.

"Ummm, what did you say, Sweetie?" I said.

"I bwung da Chef," she repeated patiently.

"Okaaaay," I said. "Why?"

She stared at me blankly.
In retrospect, I realize she just might
have been wondering why she got stuck with the slow teacher.

"I put in my wunchbox," she said.

"Soooo, did you bring that for lunch?" I asked.

(Yes! I know it was a dumb question, but we have a snack time too, people!  You wouldn't even believe what they bring for snack time!)

She nodded solemnly. Sigh.
It's tough to be saddled with the slow teacher.

"Does your mom know you brought the Chef to school today?"

"I didn't ask her," she said.

"Honey, you can't have the Chef for lunch. We don't have a way to cook it."

Leveling a flat stare at me (you know the one little kids have when they don't believe a word you are saying) she turned away.

Later on at lunch time she once again pulled out the Chef.

"Baby," I said politely, "What are you doing now?"

"Getting.da.Chef.for.wunch." This said slowly and followed with a silent DUH!

Like a good teacher, I realized that she didn't get it the first time and perhaps it was due to my explanation.

I tried another tack

"Okay, girlie, did you bring your can opener?"

She made the OH NO face and shook her head.

"Then the Chef stays in the classroom."  This said with an invisible fist pump given by the teacher.    Smile.

Yes, boys and girls, the child had bwung an unopened can of Chef Boyardee SpaghettiOs.

Sometimes you just gotta know how to explain things.

Just sayin'.....................

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dear Lesson Plans,

I don't like you anymore.

I used to take great pride in having you done weeks in advance. 
But those days left when teacher's manuals and basal readers became
the latest bad words in the vocabulary of educators.

Funny thing about that is
that kids learned to read just fine
back when teachers had a manual to follow.
Actually, there is nothing new in this world people. 
Education, like everything else in life is a cycle.
It's all been done before. 
The Powers That Be just switch it up a bit,
stick a new name on it 
and tell teachers to do it.
Then they try something else in a couple of years.

Just sayin'........

Anyway, Lesson Plans, you are a life stressor I could do without. 

You see, I know the plan.  

I've done this for years now and sometimes having to write it down is just another thing to procrastinate. 

I'm a list person. 
I like to have a column of things to do and to mark them off as I go. 
If only you could be done that way I might feel a little less animosity.

Here it is 9:01 on Sunday night and instead of finishing up the plans I started Thursday of last week
I am blogging. 

I blame you, Lesson Plans. 
I am certainly not going to blame myself.  
After all, It's my blog!

Just sayin'..................

PS-I'm working on a few new OINK stories and some stories about trees falling in our yard, and then more falling and stuck refrigerators and just how life here in this house by the lake never seems to go as planned. Plus, I've got to introduce you to the newest Chosen Baby in our extended family.

See why lesson plans are such a drag?!?!?  Smile.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Am I the only one who is tired! all! the! time!? 

I wake up tired, work tired, come home tired and go to bed tired.

I am actually a night owl IF I can sleep a good ten hours.  Seriously.  I stayed up late all summer long.  Just literally wallowing in the peace of the night until 2:00 a.m.  The only reason I got out of bed by 10:00 was because I wanted to watch Dr. Phil. 

My husband uses one of those sleep apnea machines.  I love it because even though he looks a little like Darth Vader in the dark, it muffles his snores. And while I really don't mind the snoring (I know you don't believe me but I really don't) it does wake me up. 

He tells me that I need a machine of my own. 

Whatever.

I did have a sleep study done and it showed no episodes of apnea. I wasn't surprised because I didn't sleep at all that night.

First of all I was in a faux bedroom where I knew that a stranger was watching me sleep all night. That's just creepy.

Plus, it was embarrasing. I have always been a squirmy sleeper. My own mother hated to have to sleep with me on vacations when we had to save money by piling as many kids as possible into as few beds as possible. 



Just thinking about being tired makes me want to go take a nap!



Just sayin'......................

Friday, September 17, 2010

Every summer I pray for the students that will be mine in August.

I learned the hard way that spending a summer in prayer was sometimes all that stood between me and a complete nervous break down sometime the following school year.

And I'm not just kidding.

Early on in my career I mostly prayed for immunity to the various stomach viruses especially the throw up ones.
(My vomit phobia is still alive and kicking by the way but that's a whole 'nother story.)
I prayed for sweet children and patience.
I prayed for patience a lot. Big mistake.
I prayed that the parents would be nice to me and that I would be able to get it all done....the plans, the documentation, the never.ending.mind.numbing.despicable.paper.work!

I was all business. I took lots of pride in quiet, straight lines, an organized, well run classroom, lesson plans done weeks (again, not just kidding) in advance and a calm, quiet classroom.

I became known as a strict disciplinarian.  And I was.  I can bark orders with the best of them and I'm pretty sure that I can levitate a kid with the 'teacher glare' I've perfected over the years.

Many times, I fell for the line ALL principals use.
(Y'all know you do it to us. Smile.)
You know...the one that begins with...I don't think anyone else can handle this kid and ends with you somehow volunteering for that one kid whose frightening reputation has preceeded them.

Anyway....somewhere along the way I changed. 

I found that I liked the challange of looking for that one little way to connect with a kid. That one thing that would make a difference. I liked civilizing them.

I still pray for immunity to the stomach viruses-especially the throw up ones-but that's about all that remains from those first several years. I never, ever ask for patience anymore. That's just asking for trouble.

Now I mostly ask for kids that make me laugh.  I have learned to relax and enjoy five year olds and after 25+ years I'm still not sick of them. I have found that a belly laugh goes a long way towards turning a bad day into a good one.

Learning to relax and enjoy them was the key to surviving this long in the classroom.

I love, love, love the quirky ones and the ones who have no filter.  I love the ones who leave us wondering what in the world is going on in their heads.  They are all a little like puzzles.  You have to line up all the edges and then fill them in with lots of little pieces of knowledge. Sometimes everything fits together easily but more often than not the pieces must be coaxed together.  

The longer I teach the more I love it. I wish I could spend more time teaching them what they really need to know and less time pushing and rushing them to grow up faster than they should. That, my friends, is also another story.

Anyway, this was my long version of a disclaimer that while I find my students infinitely entertaining I really do attempt teach them something.

Hopefully, if I can't manage to teach them their ABCs they do leave my classroom knowing that I love them and that they matter to me.

That said, this is one of the funniest classes I have ever had.

So when I post about the funny things they do and say,
just know...
the laughter
they bring me
is an
answer
to prayer.



Just sayin'.................

Monday, September 13, 2010

That'll Show Him

Everyone knew they were my favorite shoes.

Everyone.

I wore them every time dark brown shoes were
appropriate.

Every time.

They were worn down and worn out but they never once
made my feet hurt.

Not even once.

I'm pretty sure my feet covered up the worst parts.

Well most of the worst parts.

OKAY! Some of the worst parts.

Anyway, those shoes chased fleeing kindergartners
as well as tennis shoes and slipped on and off quickly
under my desk or while working with a small group at their table.

I loved them.

Since moving in with Buddy the dog henceforth know as Satan
and a known shoe murderer, I have been careful to keep my shoes put away. 

Even so, another favorite pair of black flip flops is no longer a pair. One of them was stolen from the closet-(the one without a door, I don't know why! It was like that when we moved in!) and either completely eaten or maybe hidden. I've held on to one lonely flip flop just in case the other has not been consumed but is merely held hostage. 

Anyway.

The best brown shoes in the whole world were somehow hidden beneath an ottoman.

I missed them.  But he didn't.  Dumb dog.

Friday night I told my husband I was headed out to shop.  He said,
"Why don't you get yourself a new pair of shoes?"

"I don't need a new pair." 

"Trust me," he said. "Get yourself a new pair of shoes."

Like a solid punch to the stomach,  I knew.

Soooooo, I went shopping

and bought myself

a new.......

laptop.

That'll show Buddy Satan him.


Just sayin'......................

Sunday, September 5, 2010

If You Can Read This-Then Please Pray With Us

Our school family has lost a much loved member. We have lost one of our own. Words cannot express the depth of our shock and our grief.  

I have taught at this school for 27 years now and it has always felt like a family. We take care of our own whether it be faculty or student. We don't always agree with each other and we can be as petty as anyone else can but we always, always take care of each other.

Because in the end....that's what families do.

Each time I closed my eyes last night I saw the beautiful face of our friend. Amy had a smile that not only seemed to be a permanent fixture on her face but it could light up a room. As great as her smile was it didn't compare to her laugh. When Amy laughed-you laughed. She was smart and funny and good at her job. She made it clear that she loved her husband and her boys! In fact, some teased her about how much she loved her husband. She just laughed and told them that they were just jealous. If you knew Amy, then you knew that she loved, loved, loved those boys of hers.

I have heard from many others that they too were unable to sleep. On our minds and in our prayers were her husband who lay critically injured in a hospital and her children. Her babies. One thought ran through my mind over and over....Oh, God her boys...please don't take their daddy. 

Today the news about Amy's husband Brian was more encouraging and we know more about how this unnecessary, horrible tragedy happened.

Grief mixed with anger can be a lethal combination. At times, I find myself completely overwhelmed with anger that someones irresponsible, illegal, selfish decision cost a husband his wife, two precious boys their mother and countless others a piece of their hearts.

Sometimes it is downright inconvenient to be the adult. Personally, I'd like to lay down on the floor and scream and kick my feet. Hearts this broken feel every emotion as keenly as the sharpest knife and it will be hard for us to rise above the pain and anger but guess what?     

We will.

We will because we are family and family takes care of it's own.  We will love those little children entrusted to us each day and we will help them to make some kind of sense out of this mess.  We will comfort them and grieve with them as they began to realize that an adult they have come to know and love will not be coming back to school.

We will rise above this pain and anger because our school family answers to a higher authority than any school administrator or superintendent.  We teach because we are called. We will do what we always do. We will take care of our kids first and then....

well then,

we'll take care of each other.

Because that's what we do at RES.

Just sayin'..........................

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Today my baby brother turns another year older. I will be spending the day with him....a rare treat indeed.  I've got the urge to share some of the escapades from our past so stay tuned.....

Just sayin................

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Time to Say Goodbye to a Friend

My precious laptop is the latest victim in the hailstorm that is my life lately.

I have been so careful with her.

The kids that live here are rarely allowed to use her. They must ask permission first and submit to interrogation as to their intended internet destinations and they must accurately recite 'the rules',

I have lovingly kept her screen clean and her keyboard crumb free.

I have been known to screech at the sight of greasy keys and to launch a subsequent investigation into the unauthorized greasing of said keys.

Despite my best efforts to protect her she is now terminally ill due to a near drowning.

And worst of all.......
It was all my fault.

I filled a new thermos with sweet tea.  I've been trying to do my kidneys a favor and stop drinking my beloved Diet Coke Plus.  This is what I get for trying to be healthy.

Anyway......
Although I screwed that thermos lid on as tightly as I could.....I failed to notice that the stopper for the little drinking spout...
wasn't a stopper at all.  It was just a measly lid.

So, the thermos full of SWEET tea wound up in my laptop.

When I snatched her out of my dripping school bag water poured from her USB ports....all over my the white jeans I was hoping to wear one more time this season.

My friend the Internet tells me that it is just a matter of time.

Soon the sugar will corrode my baby's connections and circuits.

I can see the tea behind the screen and several keys stick.

It took me all day to get over it.

And start shopping for a new one.  :)

Just sayin..................

Monday, August 30, 2010

I hate being in charge of dinner.

I hate deciding what to cook.

I hate remembering to get all the ingredients.

I hate the silent whines when someone isn't happy with my choice.

I hate how the people that live here seldom know what they want
but always know it isn't
what is on the stove
or in the oven
or in the refrigerator.

Me?
I'm happy with cereal for dinner
or Wheat Thins
or popcorn.

Just sayin.............