Thursday, March 31, 2011

Peter Pan Lives at My House

  As I've mentioned before, I have homeschooled all my children, my oldest up 'till 9th grade when we put him in High School (football!).  My children haven't been exposed to many things other children have.  And that's good!  That's why we chose to homeschool.  My youngest has a tendency to be especially naive.  It's part of his charm!  He is in 6th grade.
  Shortly after Christmas, he questioned me as to how I think Santa pulls off his big gig.  I told him I didn't know, but I was sure he had a lot of help.  I thought, perhaps now is the time for "that" conversation.  I turned down the car radio and asked, "How do you think he does it?  Have any of your friends said anything?  Like...maybe mom or dad put out the presents?"  He looked at me with shock and a little amusement.  "There's NO WAY Dad could be Santa!  Where would he make the presents?  If he were, I would be in charge of the reindeer!!!!"  I turned the radio back up.  This was not the time for "that" conversation!
  Fast forward to the Easter season.  I had just been to the store and picked up some things to fill baskets.  I left them in the trunk of my car and promptly forgot about them.  The youngest happened upon them!  (He's got to be putting 2 and 2 together...)  Again in the car, I turn down the radio.  "E, you know I put those things in the baskets, right?"  E, "Yeah...."  Still not seemingly putting 2 and 2 together I blurt out, "E, there is no Easter Bunny."  He looked at me and his bottom lip started to quiver, big crocodile tears rolled down his face.  Oh my gosh, WHAT have I done?!  "Really?"  He asked.  "Then what about the Tooth Fairy and Santa?"  Knowing that he did NOT want to hear it, and not being ready for more drama myself, I said, "Well that's different!  They are people.  And the Easter Bunny is an animal!"  (Don't judge!!!)  For the next 10 minutes, he sat silently, with tears rolling down his face.  "What about the bunny tracks we saw at Aunties house?"   He finally asked.  Realizing what a mistake I had made, loving his innocence, and my heart breaking for him, I answered "I don't know how the prints got there."  (Parents in my sisters neighborhood strategically place chalk bunny prints along the sidewalks.)  "I've learned from this" he said "not to make the same mistake with my kids.  I'm not telling them anything!"  Once home, he lay down on the couch and told me he'd like to forget this day ever happened.
  Dad saved the day.  "I told you he wasn't ready!" he said to me.  This from a man who will never admit to knowing the real identity of Santa.  He smoothed things over that evening while I was at work.  Explaining to E. that mom does put some things in the basket (not all).  But he (dad) does believe.  E. seemed willing to accept Dads explanation.  Critics may say that entertaining these fantasies isn't healthy.  Really?  The rest of us seemed to turn out okay.  It's the desire for simpler, carefree, childhood days that we yearn for.  He will know the truth soon enough.  I'm sure he has his inklings.  For now, I will let him enjoy his childhood. He'll have plenty of time to deal with grown up issues.  He's not quite ready to give it up just yet, and who can blame him?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our Song

B and I camping alone, together last summer.  I really liked it, just the two of us!
  I'm not going off the deep end!  I know, it's the second sappy post about one of my kids this month.  But it hit me today.  April is a few short days away.  The school year is almost over.  We all know how fast summer goes by!  And then comes September.  And I lose one more to public schools.
  Since his older brother went two years ago, we let B make his own decision to stay home and finish high school, or follow in his brothers footsteps and go to public. We gave him our opinion, and told him our reasons.  Ultimately,  sports, as with M, were the deciding factor for B. 
  I liked homeschooling all of my kids.  Sure, there were the monotonous days, and the subjects that none of us liked, but I loved having them around all the time!  I like them!!  Today I sat down for my lunch break and to check in on the computer.  The sound of B's guitar wafting down the stairs.  Currently he's working on "A Day in the Life".  It's the daily background noise. The sounds of a house filled with life!  Then he switched to the piano, not sure what he's working on there.  And that's when it hit!  And I sit at the computer and cry.  I won't have the background music next year!
  I kept telling myself, it will be easier with B.  You've already done this with M., I'd say to myself.  But it's not.  When I went through this with M, I spent Labor Day weekend an emotional wreck!  You would have thought I were sending off a kindergartner.  Yes, I know what to expect now, it doesn't mean it's easy.
  I know he'll do well.  Of that I have no doubt.  But I will miss our routine.  I will miss the daily background music.  His life is going to become much busier!  And, I'll miss him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

He's Driving!

He wouldn't let me photograph him for fear of embarrassment
at ending up on a blog (who would do that?)
    I thought I was gonna KILL him last night.  I'm in it deep.  In the midst of the teen years.  Last night was WW III over the dishes!  Seriously?!  I left the house.  I had to go or he never would have survived.  I left the house to meet a girlfriend for happy hour.  She also has teens. felt good.  Just needed to remove myself from the situation so that we could all gain perspective.
  There are a lot of changes going on.  And it's happening sooo fast!  I home schooled him till he was in 8th grade.  In 9th, we put him in public high school so that he could pursue his!  I know, you're thinking, "His passion?  Was changing the method of education worth it, for football?"  This is a kid who writes English papers on the sport.  He puts famous football quotes on his fb.  He made JV as a freshman and Varsity as a sophomore.  It looks like captain is in his future next year.  He keeps his grades up so that he can play college ball.  It's definitely a passion.
    But, yes, lots of changes.  I'm losing him.  Oh, I'm not being mellow dramatic.  I know this is a fact of life.  And it's okay.  It just happened so fast!  I had him all to myself for so long.  Now, his life is so busy.  Mine is busy as well, and our schedules don't always jive.  I have to pencil in time with him on the calendar over summer break!  And of course, he's driving now, and that's just one more step away from me.  I miss him. 
   He's not perfect, like I said, last night I thought I was going to kill him!  In fact, he's a lot like me.   Then he finds his way back into my heart.  As I sit in the restaurant with my friend, he starts calling my phone over and over.  I of course don't answer.  He then blocks his number and calls again.  I know it's him and pick up the phone anyway.  "Mom?"  (in a goofy voice) "I love you!  I'm sorry."  And I start to giggle because he is saying it in a way that he knows will make me laugh.
   I remember being a new mom and having veteran moms give me advice.  These are good times!  You may not realize it now.  The years go by fast.  Your kids are your biggest accomplishment.  It's definitely a tough job, but the rewards are immeasurable!  In the long run, people don't remember you for the job you had or the money you made, but for the person you were and the impact you had on your family and friends.  I'm grasping how true that is.
  Love you Moje.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day

There are 4 things you must never do: lie, steal, cheat, or drink.
But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love.
If you must steal, steal away from bad company.
If you must cheat, cheat death.
And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.  ~Brianne Kelly Darragh

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Beautiful Than Before!

"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold.  They believe that when somethings suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful."
~Barbara Bloom
  I found this quote on the   blog.  I thought it was beautiful for a number of reasons.  (Check out her post.)
  I can't imagine what the Japanese people are going through.  I have heard of no violence, no looting, no rioting in the streets.  The character of  the people has shown through.  They are certainly in my prayers as I'm sure they are in yours too.
  The cracked object analogy brings to mind an event I went to with a friend at her church.  I'm not an eloquent preacher, I speak from the heart.  The evening was sponsored by a group of women who had been in the sex trades, and managed to break free of those chains.  Now, they try to reach women who are in the same position as they were and show them Christ's love.  That they can be loved, cracks and all.  Don't we all have cracks?  Haven't we all suffered damage and feel less than worthy?  I'm so glad I don't have to be perfect  Like the Japanese, Jesus fills our cracks with gold!  And sees us as even more beautiful than before!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's a Great Day to be Alive!

     In my "other life", I'm a political junkie.  Step away from the t.v., and stories of Tsunami's and unions gone mad.  I write on here for health reasons, to lower my blood pressure!   I hate to sound cliche, but I guess the only way to say it is, a conversation like last nights gives you perspective, or, maybe it just makes you happy to reminisce about simpler times.  It is a good feeling to comfort an old friend and to know that they will be there to do the same for you, despite the miles. 
  I've been feeling lately like we take one step forward and two steps back.  Just when you feel like you're getting ahead, life (or Washington) throws something in your path.  Then you get a call from an old friend.   Do you have a friend that no matter how long it's been since you've talked, you can pick up right where you left off?  It's just that comfortable.  I do.  We met in 6th grade.  She was new to the neighborhood.   Mary has always been, "What you see is what you get".  I liked her from the start!  Two years later, I moved away.  We've kept in touch ever since!  It seems like we see each other every six or seven years.  (Which is far too infrequently!!)  But I spoke with her last night.  I haven't talked with her since last August.  Turns out, her father passed last November.
  We spent the next hour and a half on the phone.  I soo wish she lived closer.  I guess it makes us appreciate the times when we do get together, all that much more.
  Mary, know that I'm praying for you and that you make your dad proud.  He will live on in the stories you tell your children.  A man not afraid of hard work and above all else, loved his family.
Mary and I back in the 80's!  Goofy, I know!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

...Still Winter

  Today started out raining.  I was optimistic!  This will be the end of the snow.  It will be washed away!  Things don't always go according to my plan.  By 7:00 p.m., we had an inch of fresh snow on the ground.  Ahh well, soon enough.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Children Aren't Disposable!

   Yesterday morning I had a heart wrenching conversation with a friend of mine.  She works as a para-pro in her local school district, in the special needs classroom.  Having heard her stories from class, I know that this is an emotionally draining job.  For the past two years she has been in the early elementary classroom.  A thankless job where she essentially does the same work as the teacher, but gets paid much less and her position is perpetually on the chopping block because she doesn't have the seniority of others in the district, (despite the amazing job she has done, and has been recognized for, by teachers and administrators!)
  I listened as she told me the story of one of her students.  This child (and sibling) came to school in the beginning of the year.  Both in a new foster home.  Both had been born to a drug addicted mother.  My friends student is 7. 
  When the child fist came to the classroom, he acted like an animal.  He'd sit in a corner and grunt.  Because, lets face it, that's how he'd been treated.  Social skills were non existent.  But he had a good heart, and he wasn't stupid!  My friend began to work with him, and slowly started making progress.  He began to read.  He began to interact with other children.  His outbursts became fewer.  He began to bond with, and trust his teachers.  Trust doesn't come easy to a child who is bounced around the way he's been.
  One day at school, my friend mentioned the busy morning she'd had, and the breakfast she had prepared for her kids.  The boy looked at her intently and asked, "You make pancakes for your kids?"  My friend replied, "Sure!  I make pancakes for my kids."  "Do you love your kids?" he questioned.  Feeling her heart wrench, she answered, "Yes, I love my kids."  "I want to go to your house for pancakes!"  It was then decided that the following week in the classroom, there would be a pancake breakfast!  At Christmas, a photo album was made for him with pictures of his classroom friends, teachers and the pancake breakfast!  It doesn't seem like a lot, but it was.
  This past week the foster mom decided that caring for this child was too much for her.  She was returning the boy, and keeping the sibling.   My friend asked to say goodbye to the boy,  the foster mom denied the request, saying that they hadn't yet informed the child.  The plan was to bring him to supervised visitation with his mom, and leave.  (Without telling him he would be going to a new home)  When he was done with his visit, new foster parents would take him. 
  I'm not comfortable giving any more details. Let's just say that any more information wouldn't make you feel better.  I think you get the picture.
  These are the questions that ran through my mind... (let me preface by saying I have met some AMAZING foster parents who are in the trenches for all of the right reasons!)  But, have we as a society made it just too easy to walk away from our responsibilities?  Is there no accountability?  We can walk away from a mortgage we've promised to pay.  Companies get bailouts.  And we can even walk away from our kids if it gets too tough!  Have we become that self obsessed?  The ever present "safety net".  Is it helping?  Or hurting?  Has it become too easy to walk away? 
  We've created these safety nets with good intentions, but it's backfired.  You can't pay someone to love someone else.  We don't have to work for anything and we deserve everything!
  My friend was paid to assist in teaching reading and math.  The love she shared, poured out freely from her heart!