Archive for November, 2010

You Can’t Go Back

So much lately has been reminding me of days-gone-by.

I’ve been thinking about my family…many, many memories of such good times, and a few bad ones.  How I miss my mom and all the celebrations we’ve not had since she died.   (See previous post)

But one posting today by someone only the Lord knows I never thought I’d have anything in common with really touched me…and then I went back to the “info” page and realized why it did so much.

It took me back to the days when I still worked at the school.  I was a “teacher’s associate”, “teaching assistant”, “para-educator”…… was something I never in a million years would have seen myself doing.  But when I found that job it just…*clicked*.  The first “year” I spent as a one-on-one with a student who just couldn’t manage to keep himself from getting in trouble in and out of school.  My second year I was with high-schoolers (9-12 grades) and really got into my groove.  My third year I got my “dream job” as the associate in a self-contained behavior-disorder room at our local jr. high with a teacher who really LOVED teaching.  This wasn’t his dream job…but he loved teaching so much it didn’t matter….he did an incredible job.


That year I met Justin as one of “my kids”.  He was an open-enrollment student from another district because of all the problems he’d had but I didn’t know it at the time.  He was just one of my kids.  I had 5 in my room.  I came to love them all very quickly, each in their own way and for their own reasons.  I wanted so much for them.  I took time to try to get to know each one…one of the biggest benefits of having a self-contained room!

Believe me when I tell you that it was one of the most stressful years of my life, too….but, man, how I enjoyed saying “good-bye” to each one of those kids at the end knowing that they’d learned enough to pass them onto the next class.  And, I will tell you, they didn’t get a merit pass from us! LOL  They had to KNOW it before we said “Ok”.

The following year I was lucky enough to be able to keep in touch with two of the kids I’d had the year before….they shared with me, I shared with them that I was pregnant with an unexpected “blessing”. LOL  One of the kids, Justin, always called me “The Hammer”…and nicknamed my daughter, Sabrina, “Honey Ham”.  When he found out I was expecting, he nicknamed the baby “Canned Ham”.  Any time I saw him after that he’d ask me how the “Canned Ham” was doing.

Even after I’d left working at the school…I’d made sure he had my cell number.  Just one of those things.  We’d talked about meeting for bowling “one of these days”.

I got the news by phone from a couple of people I’d worked with…both wanting to make sure I knew about it before it was reported anywhere.  I’d been out of the school for well over a year, pushing two.  Justin had hanged himself.  He was gone.  Suicide had claimed another “number”.

I can’t imagine what those who loved him more than I, and lost him, feel….I, honestly, hope I never do.  But I do know that he changed my life while I was “teaching” him, and even after and I still think about him today.

I guess the thing I want any of you who read this to know is that it doesn’t matter if the kid is “the trouble-maker”, a jock, one of “the weird kids”….they all matter to someone even if it’s not you.  They’re someone’s sister, brother….mom or dad.  They *do* matter. 

Even if it’s just to one “teacher’s associate” who had him for one year who wishes to God he’d called her just one more time.


Tis the Season

I miss Mom most acutely at this time of year.  It’s not that I don’t miss her the rest of the year…I don’t think it’s possible not to miss her.  But we were a family that had traditions.  LOL  Seems strange to say that now. 

It was one of the hardest things about being the “married” one of the kids.  I had TWO families to balance on holidays…Thanksgiving was the worst, I think!  My husband’s parents would have Thanksgiving ON the day…so did MY family…for the longest time.  Mark and I would go to his parents house (they live just down the road), eat dinner with them and the extended family there, and then we’d travel to Mom’s and have ANOTHER dinner there because my family usually ate our Thanksgiving dinner later in the day…2 or 3 o’clock. 

My first time cooking an actual Thanksgiving dinner came the November after Mom died.   I had no actual plans ON Thanksgiving since we’d finally gotten his parents used to doing it on the weekend instead of on Thanksgiving Day.  My brother and sister-in-law and their kids came out. 

We did the same last year.

This year?  No idea.  I have all the makings for our dinner and I’m planning on cooking one just for us, if that’s what it comes down to.  I haven’t talked to my brother/sister-in-law yet to know if they have plans.

I remember having to get used to NOT spending Christmas Eve at Mom’s.  That was a big change!!  Even my first year married I insisted on spending the night at Mom’s!!!  The following year it became apparent that I had to “grow up”, much to my dismay.  The year after I had a baby of my own to celebrate Christmas with…but I still missed Mom’s on Christmas Eve!  We’d play board games, cards, sit up and drink coffee and laugh…and laugh…and laugh.

My family dissolved when Mom died. 

We do not get together for holidays anymore. 

We do not get together for much of anything.  But I’m lucky that my brother and his family are right here in town.  If I really need a dose of “family” I can always go see them.  Mike’s usually at his Pub during the day…he’s pretty easy to find!  My sister and I spent a few days together with our daughter’s this summer that were quite nice and I really appreciated the time.

But I miss my “family” the way it once was…when we could always count on seeing each other on Easter, the 4th of July, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  There were birthdays, holidays, and all kinds of not-so-special occasions where we would all gather together. 

It’s incredibly hard to go through holidays without my family…but I’m learning to make new memories with my own family and Mark’s family like I’ve never done before.  I’m blessed with in-laws that have enveloped me in love and support and who I now, regularly, call Mom and Dad…I never would have imagined that!!  I’m also blessed with friends that remind me that “family” isn’t necessarily blood-lines….Family is in the heart.

And with that I leave you all with a heart-felt wish for a Happy Thanksgiving and prayers that all of your holiday’s are filled with love, happiness, and above all else, laughter!

So Much Going On…

It has been so long since I’ve sat down and written anything other than a quick note on Facebook.  I suppose it’s time to drop some thoughts on here so I have room to actually explain myself!

First, my children.

I’m amazed, lately, watching Xavier grown by leaps and bounds both physically and mentally.  This little boy that we brought home three years ago at right around 6 lbs (and he was a month old!) and attached to an oxygen monitor and an oxygen tank is a healthy, happy, ACTIVE little boy now.  We’ve actually had people ask why he wasn’t in school during the day!  Quite a change from people wondering how such a tiny little baby was walking (he was a year old and fit in 6-9 month clothing).   We also wondered if he would EVER start talking.  I remember sitting with the gals that did his developmental screenings and lamenting on his lack of verbal communication.  They told me that since 1) he was the second child and 2) he was so incredibly mobile, it didn’t surprise them that he didn’t talk a lot.  He now talks very well…most people can even understand some of what he says! LOL  Now the debate begins at our house about clipping or not.  Xavier is extremely tongue-tied.  He can not stick his tongue out…at all.  We’re lucky if it reaches his bottom lip.  Watching him try to lick an ice cream cone wavers between hysterical and sad.  But mostly we’re concerned about it effecting his speech.  He does not say the “s” sound at all…they are “h”s.  There are others, too, but hearing “Habrina” is all too common around here and it sticks out.  His doctor has said that she’s willing to send him, now, to have the clipping done and assured me it’s quick and simple.  I asked to wait just a bit longer (she gave me 6 months) to be sure it’s the tongue and not just “him”…I mean, Sabrina said “grrrrr-affe” for years and she didn’t have any tongue problems! LOL  Mainly, I think it’s my unwillingness to do anything to him intentionally that will hurt that’s holding me back.  After all he went through to begin with, I don’t like the idea of saying, “Ok, now hold still while the dr. takes a pair of scissors and clips under your tongue.” 

As far as Sabrina goes…she’s growing-up so fast!  We’ve colored her hair for the first time.  She wanted to be a red-head since I wouldn’t allow white-blonde or black.  Her grandmother freaked out.  Her grandfather immediately looked at me and chuckled.  I assured them both that Mark and I agreed on it…and there are FAR worse things a pre-teen girl can be doing to express herself than coloring her hair.  We’ve started buying her clothes (at least some of them) from places other than Wal-Mart and Target…you know, mall stores…with the understanding that she’d GET less by doing that.  She was ok with the trade-off.  LOL  It’s hard to imagine her as the toddler she was when I look at her now.  I have to drag out pictures every so often…and then I cry.  I can’t decide if I’m crying because she’s growing older or I am, though!

She was talking about who in her grade was “dating” (a term that makes me laugh every time she says it ’cause there’s no actual *dating* going on) whom and complained, “I’m the only one of my friends that hasn’t had an ‘actual’ boyfriend.”  My response was, “There is NOTHING wrong with that…sometimes it’s better that way.”  I know she won’t believe me.  She’s 11…and I’m wrong about everything.  She did tell me there’s a boy in her class who is always staring at her in classes they have together…and smiles at her…and she thinks he likes her.  “But he doesn’t ‘date’, Mom.”  Again, all I could say was, “There’s nothing wrong with that…you guys are 11 and 12 years old!”  This boy she was talking about, however, isn’t the same one she’s crushed on since kindergarten.  I’m kind of glad to see her at least noticing other boys! LOL

She also has one very good “guy friend” that she’s pal-ed around with for years now.  If any of you saw the photos of the IA/IA State game visit by WHO-TV with Sabrina in them…he’s the one that was with her in most of them.  He’s a nice kid and has a wonderful sense of humor…and we don’t worry about them hanging out together.  I even allowed them to walk to the store together that day without me! LOL  It’s one of those situations where I *get a feeling* that he’s not a threat in the least…if you get my meaning. 🙂

Now, on to other things…

I love politics…but I’m SUPER glad this election cycle is over.  I was getting really tired of the commercials and flyers showing up in my mailbox.  Thankfully we don’t have a land-line anymore or I’d have been pulling my hair out from all the calls, too, I’m sure.  Just another benefit of going “cell only”.

I made it through breast cancer awareness month without actually vomiting from all the pink.  I’ve now moved on to November being lung cancer awareness month and what *I* can do to raise awareness around me.  I’ve sent a request to the gov. asking that Iowa declare November officially as Lung Cancer Awareness Month.  Haven’t even seen a reply about it, yet, let alone saying they’d do it.  Big surprise.  There was an election looming…and now we’re going to be changing hands in January….so I’ll just have to keep sending the request.  I’ve started posting things here and there on different boards and making sure that the “about me” section of my profiles say that I’m willing and able to answer questions people may have about lung cancer.  So far I’ve actually had a couple questions…it surprised me and made me happy to be able to share information.  It’s a little step, but a step non-the-less.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  Seems that time moves more quickly the older I become because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t but a couple of weeks ago that school started!  Oh well…time to start making plans for our family dinner!  We usually have three dinners we attend in the weeks surrounding the actual holiday.  I’m not sure what we’re doing this year.  There is so much “winterizing” going on here at home that we’ve not had time to even talk about it!  I’m sure we’ll buy a turkey and all the fixings for here at home regardless of what else we might end up doing.  I like to make Thanksgiving dinner for us to have on the actual holiday.  It’s a special holiday for me, personally…a day for me to remember that, no matter how *bad* things may be, I have so very much to be thankful for each day.