Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Blood and Worry

"Oh, oh, Mom, I cut my thumb!  Oh, now there is blood, Mom, look," Cole screams while waving his thumb in the air. He spins toward me, and I can see blood bubbling out of a gaping open slice on his left thumb.

I take a deep breath, and calmly grab his thumb.  "You're okay, Cole, you're okay," I reassure while thrusting his wound under some cold running water.

"Mom, it's cold, it's cold," he repeats, and I don't take time to explain that I'm hoping to get his thumb a bit numb as the blood washes away.

I just continue repeating, "It's okay, it's okay!" I look over at him, and I can see that he is looking peaked.  I turn off the water and grab for paper towels to stop the already gushing thumb.  Wrapping the paper towel around his thumb I apply pressure, and yank his hand above his head.

"Mom, I'm feeling lightheaded," he says in between his continuous string of questions and worry. 

"I think my thumb is going to fall off.  Go look at the knife, you will see how deep it went in if you look at the knife," he continues as I pull him over to the couch to sit down with the injured thumb above his head.

As we sit down, Cedrick, my 3 year old, opens the freezer door and finds an ice pack to give to Cole.  Cole and I are snuggled on the couch with his hand still hanging above his head, and he continues to worry...

"Will the doctor put a cast on it?"

"No, Cole.  If we have to take you to the doctor, they will use stitches to sew your skin back together." 

"SEW?  Why would they have to sew it, Mom?"

"They need to close up your cut, and sewing works the best."

"Will they put me to sleep?  Will they numb it? Will it hurt?" he fires off thought after thought.

"Cole, you will be okay," I reassure him, and he switches from worry to apology. 

"Mom, I'm sorry!  I shouldn't have been using the knife like that. I won't do it ever again. That was so dumb."

To Be Continued...

Monday, March 5, 2018


Flashback to seven years ago, on a dark January morning...

Most days, I wake up rush about grabbing piles of papers and books that I left laying on the couch late the night before.  I search for a mug to hold my extra sweet coffee, dump some cereal in a bag, kiss my daughter, husband, and possibly my 4 year old son goodbye, and jump in my van.  Most days, I spend my drive scouring through my list of things to do, and reflecting on where my students and I left off the day before.  Each day is the beginning of the prior day's ending.  By the time, I arrive at school I have reflected on my to do list and my "have already done" list.  Most days, I race from classroom to copy machine, from agenda board to homework crate.  I log in to my computer, check email, and check my phone messages.

Today, however, I awoke when my 4 year old son came in.  The goal is for him to sleep through the morning rush until my daughter is on the bus, my husband and I are well on our way to work, and Grandma has had time to sit down and relax for a bit.  Sometimes, he has been waking himself up before our alarm clocks go off.  And today was one of those days.  As he came in, I glanced at the clock, told him to go back to bed, and then jumped out of my own bed realizing how late I had slept in.  So, this morning several steps where being no coffee.  I did manage to say goodbye to everyone as I grabbed my bags, and flew out the door.  Unlike most days, I reflected on how dumb I was to have overslept, and how I could avoid doing so in the future.

In the midst of my self-destructing thoughts, I began to listen to the interview on the radio.  A popular artist, JJ Heller had dropped by my favorite station to give a live performance.  She sang as her husband accompanied on the guitar.  Her voice rang out crystal clear like an angel from heaven.  She sang her song, "What Love Really Means".  I know this song, and I've heard it many times before.  I listened to the lyrics before thinking that this song applies to the sad people described in the lyrics.  Today, unlike most days, I was pulled out of my self doubt by the last verse.  The last verse, when God answers their cries saying, "I will love you for you, not for what you have done or what will become."  She sang that sentence over and over as I heard it with new ears.  I realized that this day, unlike most days, I have only one that I must strive to live up to...and He already loves me for me.  What a relief that now I can say, "Every day He will love me no matter what I live up to or what I fail at."  I never felt that I had permission to be less than my own expectations.  I do now.

Flash forward...2018.
A story from the past, yet still just as important today.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Books, Bags, & Turkey Bacon

I spend money on books without thinking twice.  And supplies in my classroom, they're stocked and nearly overflowing the cabinets.  I will go out of my way to buy my all natural, uncured Turkey Bacon at Meijer, and when it comes to Thirty-One bags I have no willpower.

So when my black, knee-high boots broke last winter, you would think that I'd be willing to fork over the dough to get a new pair. Yet, that would be wrong.  I see my clothing as the one place to find the best deal.  I go straight to the discount racks when I walk into Kohls, and I surf through all of the Sale items on the Maurices' website.  I'm okay with wearing last season's style, if I can get it for half the cost.  Clothing and shoes are the area where I scrimp and save the most.  Today was solid proof of this truth.

I drove my family to a discount store to get my son, Cole more pants.  He seems determined to wear through every knee in the pant universe.  His two remaining pairs run through the wash several times a week.  Once inside the store he finds three pairs of athletic pants, and heads in to the dressing room.  He came back out with zero.  A big disappointment, and a true fail in my mission to do less laundry this week.

Then, we turn to shoes.  Of course, many shoes jump off the shelf that he'd love to have.  The shoes enter my cart only because they pass the "deals" test at 50% off!  Regrettably, I leave that store without pants, but with a smiling eleven year old holding his new pair of gym shoes.

Our next stop - a discount shoe store to solve the knee-high black boot problem from last winter.  Whenever I went to make a boot purchase that passed my "deals" test, either size or comfort detoured me.  For this reason, I have nearly worn through my brown boots.  My daughter's boot situation is similar to my own, which makes me incredibly nervous.  Boots for her plus boots for me equals lots of money that I can't spend on books or turkey bacon.

But today, the heavens smiled down to lead us to the discount rack.  Boots of all colors and sizes at 50% or 75% off!  I did a happy dance, and began digging for the boots I desperately needed.  My daughter pulled down box after box.  We took over the boot section until we each found a pair of brown boots and a pair of black boots.

When the cashier rang through our items, he grinned and said, "That's pretty good! One pair rang up at $10!"

My daughter and I skipped to the van with a sense of pride...four pairs of boots for the price of one!  That's a lot of money saved for buying books, supplies, Thirty-One bags, and, of course, turkey bacon!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Current Mission



"Not this one, either," I sighed as I add another book to the growing pile on my classroom floor.

I mutter across the

room to my three year old, "Mama isn't going to have any books left!"

He giggles and flashes a smile over at me, "You'll always have books, Mama!"

I smile back, and turn back to the cabinet that I am organizing.  I'm grabbing books that haven't been opened in close to 5 years.  The variety of resources filling this cabinet exhaust my mind.  Programs that were used years ago, now sit collecting dust.

Why am I such a pack rat?  I wonder.  Why can't I seem to let go and move on?  Better yet, why does education keep changing when I blink? 

The purge continues.  I keep glancing over to my sweet little boy.  His piles of Playdoh cover one of the 4th grader's desks while he chatters on and on about his creations.  He's absorbing new information as he breathes. 

I quickly flip through another resource book that is filled with worksheets.  Blank lines waiting to be filled.  I sigh, and toss the book into the discard pile.  When I look at the pile, I am amazed.  I cleared an entire shelf.  The pile is taller than my little boy, and I can feel my mental space clear a bit.  I know this purge is important to focus more on my current planning process.  Every physical space that I clear is another step of clarity in my mind. 

I glance over to my little boy, and am thankful to clear more mental space for him and my family.  They deserve to have more 100% of me when I am home, and that's my current mission.

Friday, March 2, 2018

What's the Password?

After an hour of running errands tonight, I grudgingly grab the shopping bags and shimmy out of the van seat.  As I kick my feet on the ground, I pause and listen to my daughter and son chatting in the back.  Their door slides open, and I hear, "What's the password?"  Great, Cole's teasing Kenna again.  I hold my breath and wait for the frustrated cry.

I'm surprised when I hear her reply, "fish?"

"No, what's the password?"  Cole demands again.  Again, I hold my breath for the sibling battle cry.

By, again she replies, "Ummm, pizza, ice cream, tractor, ummm, alligator?"  She's clearly playing his game, and I think she's actually enjoying herself.

He giggles and exclaims, "What's the password?"

His game time is up and she says, "Cole, I don't know, let me out of the van!" 

Suddenly, he pulls his feet back proclaiming, "The password station is broken."  Kenna jumps past him, sprints through the garage into the house.

Turning around, I unbuckle Cole.  "What happened?"  I ask curiously.

"Oh, a screw popped out, the door fell off, and now the password station is broken," he convincingly explains.  I pull him down from his seat, and he continues.  "Kenna, bumped into the password door, and the screw fell to the ground.  So, there isn't a password anymore." Cole continues.

I grin as he races into the house.  I'm sure he is planning his next adventure with his big sister.  I'm sure it will keep her on her toes!  I wonder if their next encounter will such carefree and patient interaction.  Of course, she might allow him to color pictures in her bedroom...but, I'm sure the password will return again.   

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Where Are You?

"Mama! Mama!"

I can hear my little boy's voice bounce down the hall.  I try not to breathe as I hide in the dark bathroom, hoping he won't find me yet.

"Mama, are you in the closet?" he inquires as I take another quiet breath.

I push the thought of schoolwork out of my mind and stand still in the pitch black bathroom.  Just focus on the cuteness that is roaming about the house looking for you.  Nothing is more important than this moment, right now.

"Mama, where are you? Cole, do you know where Mama is?" Cedrick pleads with his older brother.

I wonder how much longer I should make him keep looking, as I hear his tiny feet step down the stairs.  I should make a sound, so he narrows down the hunt to the upstairs.

I make an airy whistle, and wait for him to come running.  However, the whistle muddies the water. He goes running away from me accusing his brother, "Cole, did you make that sound?"

I giggle, and whistle again.  This time with several short sounds.  His small feet run towards me, then stop again.  "Cole, are you doing that?" he demands. 

My whistle echoes once more down the hallway as Cole answers, and Cedrick shouts, "Mama, is that you?"

I can hear him gallop down the hallway straight into the bathroom.  Before he can see me, I jump from behind the door yelling, "Boo!"

Through giggles he shouts, "I found you," and bolts down the hallway.

His toddler feet jump towards me, and he proclaims, "Now, I'm going to hide in the bathroom and you can find me!"

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!