Monday, February 18, 2013

Role Model Mondays

There is no one on Earth that must love my children as I do.
Yet, as a mother, it pains me when my children are not loved as I love them.

I gazed upon them as weak, delicate infants that needed me for their very survival, and I gave up my own needs and desires to meet theirs. I did this easily because of their sweet gift of love to me.

There will be people in my children's lives that ran to cradle my sweet, delicate infants, but will forget those first snuggles quickly as childhood continues and reveals how my children develop their personalities, their loves, and passions. The sweet infants will be forgotten as the mistakes of my children will be seen as annoyances rather than important steps of growth.

I look back on my children's initial welcome into the world by adults as a wonderful beginning that has been squelched as communication, physical development, and emotional expressions take hold of my growing children.

As I consider the "baby swooning" years, I mourn the loss of that initial intrigue and I regret that my children may never again get to feel that unconditional love from everyone they meet.

As a mother, I want my children to feel the appreciation and guidance from those they interact with. I want my children to see the gifts of adults beyond myself and adapt those wonderful qualities into their own personalities.  I know that they will only see those great qualities from individuals that are willing to look beyond the quirky childhood habits long enough to recognize the sparks of greatness within my children and then act to ignite those sparks.

I know that the majority of adults will fail to look beyond the awkward character growing within my children and will only work to snuff out the sparks of greatness as they focus on the areas where my children are in much need of improvement.

For those individuals that will take time to stop and look for the good within my child, I will forever be indebted to you for sharing your amazing gifts of patience, giving, and sincerity. Because you will have taught them how love and caring can come from someone that is not their parent.  You will be amazing role models for my children!

I would like to spend some time this year highlighting the individuals that make deposits of love into my children's lives, and to thank them for being positive influences to my children.

Today's role model is my sister, and my children's Aunt Sara.  She cherished them as babies, but has grown to cherish the quirky and recognize the exceptional within my children.  Thank you, Aunt Sara!  The beautiful qualities that your personality has shown will be absorbed into my children's life experiences, and I pray that those caring and patient qualities will be re-gifted through my children to someone else!

Waiting for Aunt Sara to get out of her meeting!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Role Models Revisited

I work with the most amazing people. They work hard and they look for the best in others! My son and daughter have gotten to experience these amazing people each day after school. I knew how much my kids loved visiting my co-workers, but didn't realize their importance to my children until the day my daughter got off the bus crying. As I talked to her about her tears, she told me the problem and lastly said, "I want to go see Vickie and Mary Jane." I smiled to myself, and silently agreed that those were the people that I'd want to see if I were upset too. I am so grateful that my children have these two ladies in their life...why? They help guide them through their example of unconditional love. They love my children and their unique qualities, and they help them grow in many ways. Their actions show my kids how to be respectful, yet accepting. For that I will forever be grateful! Bless you, Vickie and Mary Jane and your faithful acceptance of all that you interact with! My children and I are better for knowing you!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Am

I Am...
Slow & Frustrated

I Am..
Happy & Thankful

I Am...
Fascinated & Eager


Spins too fast

Pushes too hard

Wastes Away

I need,

Who listen

Who smile

Who consider

I hold many roles and responsibilities for this brief moment in my life.


I Am Not

I Am Not
organized enough

I Am Not
a swift mover

I will accomplish the task,
                                         I do
                                                    Your faith
                                                           Your trust
                                                                 Your patience
                                                                                Your love.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Look into Her Eyes

Alberta J. Bogen, my Grandma
Time.  Goodness knows how time plays its game, yet as people ride the carousel of life, time remains steady.  I looked at this picture, last Monday.

My grandma, holding her first child, stands full of poise and style.  Her beautiful curls fall forward as she turns to smile for the camera.  Her hands, still young and strong hold her precious girl close.  When I look into her eyes, I feel as though I could imagine exactly her thoughts.  The thoughts of a new mother, excited, enthralled, trying to hold onto that very moment.

Pictures without captions, leave out the details for your mind to fill in.  I draw the picture closer.  The sun shines near the end of the day, casting a long shadow across the lawn.  In the background, the daily wash hangs neatly on the line. Perhaps a little stroll, after a day of caring for her precious girl.  Or a visit to a nearby neighbor, breathe some fresh air and get out of the house.

I can see her delight.  Her pride.  Her love.  I use my memory to piece together the details of her as a grandmother.  Yet, time does not allow me to stand face-to-face with this version of her.  What a gift that would be to jump back through time like a hero in Hollywood!  I'd love to look into her eyes, and sit for a chat about being a new mom and her dreams for the future.  I'd love to compare her stature to my really see if I look like her.  I can only stare into this picture, mesmerized by her happiness, fill in my own story, and wonder....  Why didn't I ask her when I could?

My Summer without Regret...

My Summer Is...
Page turning
Children swimming
Gobs of learning

Yet, I enjoy with a tight gut for the time is passing.
I fret.
I stew.
I mourn the care-free days, soon to be lost.

I'm glad to be reminded of what, my Summer should be...

Moments Defining
Deep Sighing
Smile Savoring
Children enjoying
Gobs of cherishing

To enjoy the flittering moment.
Far from the Yet.
Be still.
And breath in the sweet timing, the brief moment, the undone list.

I'm here, now, and it can't be taken from me today.
Not even by the ticking clock.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One Room, Ever-Changing!

One room.  Twenty-seven fourth graders.  A new building, and lots of new experiences.  The students in my district begin their 4th grade year in a new place with hundreds of new faces.  They walk the halls that first day with anxiety and nerves.  Their one safe zone becomes the classroom.  Here, in my classroom, they can form new friendships.  Here, in my classroom, they find their way around a new building.  Here, in my classroom, they stretch themselves further than they have since their kindergarten year. 

This year, I met each student.  I learned all about each one.  I studied their strengths and their weaknesses.   As I watched, their predictable behavior became even more predictable.  Their quirks became more and more pronounced.  So, by the last day of school, I have each student figured out.  Or, so I thought...

Let's start with the event.  Our class auction.  The characters, my students.  Several boys and two girls.  Our bidding had gotten a bit crazy.  One bid went up to $200 for a small deck of cards, a plastic spider, and a glow-in-the-dark necklace.  The boys began to bid on girl items, and vice versa.  I held up the Disney Princess Glitter Bubble Bath, and began the bidding.

"$25," Sue yells out as Maggie silently counts her money next to her. 

"$30," Joe yells as he smirks to the boys near him.

"Joe, who are you buying that Bubble Bath for?," Alex asks.

"My cousin," Joe spouts back.

"Maggie wanted that bubble bath," Eva reminds the bidders.

Joe smiles, and shouts out another bid.  I realize that Maggie is frantically counting her money, but she isn't bidding.  I reminded myself, of course she wasn't bidding, this girl hardly ever said a sentence in the class all year long.  Why would she start talking now?  Realizing the situation, I pause the bidding and ask Maggie, "Do you want to bid on this?  How much do you want to bid?"

Now, Maggie lowers her head intently counting her money.  She slowly shakes her head, saying no.  I go back to the highest bidder, Joe for $30.  He slowly turns around as someone reminds him that Maggie wants that bubble bath.  He continues to bid, as the bids jump to $60.  Maggie continues counting.  The bid goes up to $75, and more students are moving towards Maggie to help her count.  She again shakes her head, no.  Joe bids and bids.  His final bid, $88 was every bit of his money.  I wrap up the bidding with a loud shout of, "Going once, twice, sold to Joe for $88!"

Joe walks to the front, pays his $88, and walzes past his chair on his way back.  He walks straight up to Maggie, who is still counting her money.  Sets the bubble bath boxes on her lap and shouts, "Merry Christmas!"

Every students' eyes watch Joe's every move.  When Maggie looks down at the boxes on her lap, she just stares, not entirely understanding what just happened.  I can see the surprised looks on every student's face.  My own face mirrors theirs.  Joe sits back down like he does that every day.  He gave all of his class cash to buy that bubble bath, but his smile is the biggest in the room.   I catch myself staring at Joe with my jaw hanging down.
Each student in the room, watched Joe and learned something today.  They learned about putting others before themselves.  They watched the joy that followed a big generous act.  They realized how powerful your actions can be on others. 

I thought I had Joe figured out.  I thought I knew what he was thiking.  I realize now that every observation from this past year of Joe could not have prepared me for this one act of pure kindness.  Yet, I'm reminded of that one fact, "One room and 27 students".  Such a small variable, yet such great things can vibrate through that one room.  Those 27 students are still feeling the aftermath!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Sun Shines On...

The crisp, Spring air lingers in the tree branches.  My eyes squint as I step back to my van, searching for sunglasses.  This Easter morning promises a second day of sunshine in a row.  I glance around the van for my sunglasses, and quickly pluck them from the overhead sun visor.  Slipping them on my face, I turn just in time to watch my children dash away from the van in search of their cousins, Easter eggs, and candy (of course).  Smiling, I take a deep breath and recognize the familiar lake air.  The lake air hints to dozens of memories.  Camping. Fishing. Biking. Swimming. Tubing.  Rubber rafts and cattail picking.  How do smells transport your brain so quickly?

The van door shuts and awakens me from the past.  I remember the play clothes in my hand, and quickly head into Grandma's to help the kids change out of their new Easter clothes.  My husband and I corral the kids, change their clothes, and release them again to the backyard with the other Great Grandkids.  In the kitchen, plates and plates of delicious food cover every counter top -and two tables.  My stomach growls as I secretly snatch a deviled egg and pop it into my mouth.  The mustardy yolk squishes between my teeth.  Mmmm...  Behind me, my aunts and cousins finish putting out the food, and we are ready to eat.

Several plates full of food later, the adults relax at the tables while the kids race past us, through the towering evergreens, and down the hill.  I grab my plate, and head back to the house for another round.  Through the window, I watch my large family laugh and smile through conversations.  I just watch, taking in the moment.  Behind me, Grandma walks out from the back bedroom with a garbage bag full of hats.  She stops briefly to announce that she'd like to give away Grandpa's hats.  I swallow hard thinking that Grandpa still needed those hats, just 2 months ago. I stand frozen, staring out the window.  I watch her walk to a small round table just outside.  She reaches in, grabs a hat, and lays it on the table.  I just stare as a group quickly forms around the table.  Some reach in, grab a hat, try one on or toss one onto the person beside them.

A camouflage one.

A bright orange one.

One that boasts, "Fish shutter at the sound of my name."  Suddenly, I see my grandpa standing beside his motor home at the campground.  I can see him through the campfire smoke -fishing pole in one hand, a cricket bucket dangling from the other, and a much needed hat upon his head.

Now, just outside the window, the hats bounce from head to head before finding a new permanent home.  Great grandkids run around, each wearing one of Grandpa's hats.  Although large, each hat sits comfortably atop their rolled down ears.  Everywhere I look, Grandpa's hats pass by.  Every uncle, every cousin, every great grandchild.  Although my throat has a knot through it, and my face is drowning in tears -I am delighted by those hats.  My heart smiles as Grandpa's hats shade each family member, and I'm reminded that the sun will shine on just as Grandpa's hats will continue their faithful jobs.