When the going gets tough, the tough have yard sales.
When the going gets tough, the tough have yard sales.
My sister kicks butt.
We were working very hard in reading group yesterday, putting the finishing touches on our insect books.
I have this thing about voting – I kind of feel it’s our privilege and duty to do so.
No vote? No right to complain.
I pulled out of my new driveway tonight, and drove down a lovely country road to my new polling place. It was located inside a lovely retirement community; in fact, it was the final residence of my sister’s father-in-law, and I felt a smile as I walked through its familiar corridors. The walls were lined with beautiful artwork, and it felt like I was walking into a comfy, cozy, familiar home.
I followed the signs until I located the room that housed the voting machines. I walked up the volunteers who were sitting in chairs behind a long table, and found the spot where I was to register. I looked at the woman and smiled, “I hope this is where I vote! I have just recently moved in a new home.”
A voice beside her said, “You most certainly have!” I was shocked to see that the voice belonged to the woman who so lovingly tended the house I now live in for the last 42 years. “And we loved your past piece in the paper. It was lovely. Just lovely.”
“Thank you!” I said. "Thank you so much." I was so pleasantly surprised, and gushed about how much I loved the home.
“Are you enjoying the flowers coming up? Have the azaleas bloomed? Did the hydrangea come up?” I answered her questions, sharing the various surprises that have popped up in the gardens surrounding the house.
“I have one question, though," I asked, "What exactly is coming up in the big garden next to the wooden deck? The garden surrounded by rocks? They look like tall, tall weeds, and I almost yanked them but I had a feeling they might be something else.”
“That’s Horseradish!” she said with a smile. "You can dig it up, wash it and I think you soak it for a while. I might have a recipe…”
“Oh, I hope you do! I love horseradish!” I was so excited, and relieved that I hadn’t yanked it all out.
She thought for a moment, and said, “I’ll look for the recipe…"
And then I heard a voice coming from what appeared to be a 100 year-old woman sitting on the far end of the table.
“Oh just GOOGLE it!” she said with a shout.
Yeah. The 100 year-old woman at the Voter’s registration table remembered Google.
I’ve been trumped by a woman with blue hair.
I was administering one of about a thousand end-of-the year assessments to our darling Suzy yesterday.
We finished the four part letter assessment, and I encouraged her to move about the room before we started the number “test”.
She chose to twirl and dance about the room, and I explained what we were doing next.
“We’re going to see how much you’ve learned about numbers this year! Won’t that be fun?”
Suzy smiled, and started jumping up and down. “Oh, I am SO GOOD at numbers! Actually, I know ALL numbers! I know ALL THE NUMBERS IN THE ALPHABET!!!”
Whose room has she been IN all year?
The top four reasons why the teacher might be having a glass of wine tonight, in no particular order.
4. Someone who reads this blog left a not-so-nice comment on a post. While I’ve always said, “I’m a big girl” and have always left comments on my posts whether they were negative or not, I had to intervene. My daughters felt the need to jump on the bandwagon with an *ahem* supportive comment of their own. (Apparently they do read my blog.) While I was incredibly touched by their loyalty, the comments were closed. We reminded each other to keep our faces toward the sun, and hold each other close. The fireworks from Mordor might be strong but in the end, a good heart always prevails.
3. That miracle for my car that I was asking God to give to someone else? Well, THAT was the prayer He finally heard. (I just love Him, and His crazy sense of humor.)
2. The ants found their way back into the classroom. (Marching MORE than one by one.) Yes, we are indeed studying bugs in kindergarten, but not by the billions. (Egads.)
1. Frank decided to listen to the teacher (for once) and did NOT put ketchup up and down his arms and his head. He used honey, instead. (“But I DID listen to you! I didn’t put ketchup on me again!”)
Yeah. I’m disausted.
There seem to be many days of late that I find myself wondering if I dare get out of bed. (And you can bet I won't be kissing any frogs.)
It seems that each time I turn around, that sneaky Mr. Murphy finds a way to hit me where it hurts. (And apparently, there are quite a few places.)
I knew when I made the choice to finally move, that it was going to be a long and painful journey. Each day brought a new and unexpected challenge, and forced me to look deep inside my heart to find answers to questions that I never thought I’d ask myself.
Some hurdles required finding money in places that I was convinced were empty. But along the way, I have found that along with unexpected challenges come unexpected gifts.
And finally on Mother’s Day, just when I thought that God had finally tired of having His way with me, I was jolted into reality. On my way to pick up Bitchy from work (her own vehicles location is a mystery) my car died. On a busy, busy street here in Oregon, it died. I managed to somehow steer it into a parking lot, and stop it with the emergency brake. After a harrowing, tearful, frantic couple of hours, I was rescued by several guardian angels cleverly disguised as a tow truck driver, my best friend, her husband and my brother.
And so this morning I drove an old loaner into the car-repair parking lot to find out the verdict. This particular garage is owned by a family whose children attended our school; the youngest boy was a student of mine in an after-school reading program. I always had a special place in my heart for him.
His older brother smiled at me, wiping grease off his hands and the sweat off his brow. He motioned me over to him as he continued to dig deep into the recesses under the hood of my paid-for car.
“Well,” he said, “it might just be this bolt that holds the crank shaft blah blah blah blah blah.” (For real. THAT is what I heard.)
I looked at him, going over in my mind the money I had spent and would spend this month. Should I bring up Sassy’s additional unexpected car repairs and field hockey tournament expenses? Or the surprising and ungodly amount of money for taxes that I hadn’t expected to pay because someone waited until the last minute to tell me to file separately? What about the various bills for house-related items and a down payment that was meant to insure a rent-to own agreement the end of May? And let’s not forget that date next week that I have with a person with a black robe who will determine if I have to pay “someone who shall not be named” alimony. (Cause we teachers are rolling in the money.)
I looked at him and felt the tears welling up.
“You know, I read your article in the paper every month," the dimples on his cheeks appearing as he smiled, “I love it- and the way you talk about those kids. I love my little boy so much, and it just makes me smile to read those stories.” Through all that grease and hard working sweat, he managed to lift me up out of my own little pity party.
And then he added, “If it’s only this bolt, it might be no big deal.”
“That would be a MIRACLE!" I said.
As I drove home, I starting thinking. You know what? It’s a car. It’s just a car. I’ve got one to drive, and I am in much better shape than many other people in the world.
Naw, I don’t need no stinking miracle. I know plenty of people who DO, and I’m not really one of them.
If I get a call tomorrow that tells me my car is in need of a proper burial, I’m thinking I’ll breathe a sigh of relief.
Because that means the person who really needs the miracle, just might be getting it.
This note was on my table yesterday attached to a flower:
I wake up that day, determined to smile and enjoy it for what it is, and at some point I always end up crying.
FOR NO APPARENT REASON. Always.
This year I have a feeling the tide is about to change.
While I am proud of who I am, and all that I have accomplished so far – I am spending the day celebrating all that MY children have taught me. I am celebrating BEING a mother, instead of missing a mother.
These are the incredible lessons that I’ve learned thus far.
1. There is absolutely no talking in the car.
2. If you host a prom party, odds are great that some unsavory items might be found in your yard the morning after.
3. You have to be able to text quickly, and have your phone available 24/7.
4. You will learn the first name of every person that works at Verizon Wireless. (Bring donuts and coffee- it helps.)
5. Prom dresses must NOT be purchased in your hometown- and frankly the farther away you have to drive, the better.
6. Filling out college applications and FAFSA forms are hazardous to your health.
7. Your children will call you every single name in the book. And if you’re doubly lucky, it will happen on Christmas Day, Mother’s Day AND your birthday.
8. You will run out of gas the day after any of your children uses your car to run a “few” errands.
9. When your children start driving, you will learn the true meaning of fear. This particular fear will stay with you, but is eventually tucked away in a corner of your heart where it won’t get in the way. However, it will remain there for the rest of your days, I’m sure.
10. No matter how many times you stumble, fumble, fall and fail, your children will love you with every breath they take.
They remind me each and every day that love is the tie that binds. I know that they love me with the same unconditional and unwavering love that I feel for them.
And that’s a huge relief.
Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you mothers.
The grass is always greener on the other side of kindergarten.
I’ve been thinking for months about what I was going to say at Frank’s parent teacher conference (For about 158 days, to be exact.)
I would talk about his inability to stop talking.
I might talk about some of the choices he makes while playing at recess.
I might bring up the ketchup down the hair and up and down the arms incident. ("But it looked so COOL.")
I would definitely discuss his, um, well, defiance.
I would surely bring up the various acts of violence he has been promising to commit off and on for about 8 months now.
But then, he gave up his sandwich.
And so when he and his parents came into the classroom on Monday morning and his face was beaming with pride as he ran into my arms, all of those thoughts flew into the air like helium balloons escaping out of a window.
I shared his many academic successes, his social successes, his funny antics and the incredible sandwich incident.
Sure, we discussed the fact that he was under the mistaken impression that I “was not the boss of him”, but his parents and I reminded him of a very important fact.
I AM the boss of him; at least for 26 more days.
(But who’s counting?)
When moving in the middle of winter - in the midst of a traumatic and heart-wrenching event, try to remember the following items: