Friday, May 25, 2012

Full Circle

Today was the last day of school. Whew. It has been a good year, good students, but it is time for a rest. I was honored this year that two former students sent me graduation invitations. I am always humbled that the kids remember me so many years later to send one to me because after graduating three times myself and getting married, I can tell you that invitations ain't cheap! And those kids are worrying about college odds and ends and who knows what else. To remember me during this time is a big deal. And they may realize it, and they may not. It is a sign that I actually made a difference. It is a sign that someone in that sea of little adolescent faces was listening. Heily has asked me to her AVID ceremony tomorrow to give her the medal she will wear over her graduation robe on Sunday. I am the teacher she believes made the biggest difference in her education. Way back in 6th grade. I remember her as the sweetest, most determined to succeed young woman I had ever met. You could see it in her eyes. 97 was not good enough if 98 could be had. Cody and his three best buds, three brothers, have come back often for big bear hugs over the years. And they lift me p literally off the ground and spiritually with their huge grins and their plans for the future. Tyler Junior College, TCU, and Texas Tech. A framed, signed poster from TCU hangs in my classroom. These boys were in the classes that wrote to the players that got us the poster. Now, one of the boys starts summer classes at TCU next week. And the one favor I will ask is a new signed poster to hang next to my first one. Students like these make look forward to what may be next year. Thank you, my darlings.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Downloading Excuses

Working out has not been an option for a few weeks.  My heel has hurt so badly; it felt like Thor had hit the bottom of it with his hammer.  I ignored it for as long as I could, but eventually I went back to the doctor. 

Thanks to some stretching and some steroids, the pain is almost gone.  I will shortly have to be seen in a bathing suit in public, so I need to get back on my treadmill.  Like yesterday.

I decided that I would need to walk at a higher elevation instead of running.  I have a bad feeling about running any time soon. 

And as walking will take longer, I am likely to get bored.  To try to stave off the boredom, I decided to download a tv show on my iPad as my Kindle Fire was charging. 

That sounds easier than it actually was.  On the iPad, the download was taking forever.  So I stopped that download and decided to give the laptop a try.

It has been awhile since I had been on this iTunes account. 

First there were updates to download for iTunes.  After 10 minutes ticked by, I decided I could live without the updates for tonight.  I just wanted to download something to watch while I walk!

Then I could not remember my password.  After satisfying the password moderator (you must have a capital letter, number, 8 characters long, first born child--you get the idea),I reset the password, only to have to reset security questions as well. 

I finally get to the iTunes store and pick the new pilot for that cop show starting on USA.  I click on it, and it says the download will take over an hour. 

Seriously?!  I just wanted something to keep me entertained while I walk!  While I decided what the new course of action would be, I did a few planks.  (Mine don't last very long, but I made the effort.)

So here I sit describing my cyber download adventure and an hour has gone by.  The hour I had planned to walk on the treadmill.  Sigh. 

Technology has failed me tonight (mostly) and the dependence I have on technology has definitely not escaped me.  I don't know whether to just embrace the addiction or to feel slightly ashamed and go get on the treadmill now, and suck it up with the music on my iPod. 

Probably just go fold some laundry and hope I can find a swim suit that forgives A LOT of sins this weekend.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day.  Happy Mother's Day to those of you lucky enough to have started your families.

It's a bit of a difficult day for me, to be honest.  It's never really bothered me before, but as Brian and I are finally, finally in a place to start a family and it hasn't been as easy as falling off a log, so to speak, I am a little emotional about it.

Oh yes, I have my dogs and my cat.  And they are quite child-like at times, but I have found as I age (more rapidly than I would like), even brilliant dogs and cats are not quite the same thing as a child of your own.

I try to stay positive.  These things do take time.  God has a plan.  I am still young (my ovaries are laughing even as I type).  I have 100 children every day at school, many of whom stay in touch and believe that I have made a significant difference in their lives.  We can always adopt.

You name the platitude, I have heard it or said it over and over to myself, little mantras to get me through the next menstrual cycle.

I used to roll my eyes at the little dresses in the department stores.  I shivered at kids throwing fits in a restaurant.  And while I do still fear the tantrum, I wouldn't mind taking my turn at handling one.  And I can't wait to have a closet full of little pink dresses...or little football helmets or whatever in the spare room closet instead of the random crap that's in there now.

I am touched but ever so slightly bothered by the fact that I was included in Mother's Day twice today.  The intention was completely pure in both cases, but I felt like such a phony.

Our minister's daughter passed out a flower to all the women in the congregation at church today.  A simple, sweet gesture. But I am not a mother.  I don't have that honor, that responsibility.  Nor can I say that I ever will.  I appreciated not being left out, but I felt like an imposter.

Then at lunch, there was free cobbler for the moms.  The waitress brought a bowl to my mother and me without even batting an eye.  And while I really wanted the cobbler, I still felt like a phony, a little dishonest.  (Don't you worry, I ate it, and it was good.)

And I know that it's silly. I know if you are reading this right now, in your mind are the same platitudes I am thinking.  Have been thinking. 

Don't worry, some day you will earn that flower and cobbler plus some. 

And you have no idea how right I hope you are. But as each month brings only another bottle of Midol, it gets more difficult to be patient.  (Still not my best virtue, even with all we've been through.)

So, here's hoping by Father's Day things will be different.  We need a new adventure.

Smells Like Sunday

This Sunday I was called back to Bridgeport for the first time since Christmas.  It's Mother's Day and the church was dedicating a memorial sidewalk to my grandparents. 

I haven't dealt well with their passing, and the only explanation I have is that we are such a close family and they were so much a part of my life that no matter how old they got, I was sure they would always be there.

I have intended to go back to church, despite the drive, several times.  I just kept thinking about the last time I had gone to church before my grandfather's passing.  My grandmother was mentioned quite often in the service; my cousins were baptizing their little girl and most of the family was there.  I couldn't make it through the service without blubbering, and I REALLY hate crying in public--happy or sad tears.  I mean, REALLY hate it.

I was amazed by all the improvements in the church since last July at Grandpa's funeral.  There is a new kitchen, back entrance, and new floors throughout the Fellowship Hall.  The fund set up in my grandparents' name helped pay for all of it.  It's beautiful.

I took a deep breath and breathed in the smell of Sunday.  I love the way that church smells.  The smell of coffee permeates the building from the kitchen to the sanctuary.  Everyone smells their Sunday best and the perfumes and colognes dance invisibly to my nose in time with the reassuring smell of the pages of the Bibles and hymnals and the wax of the candles. 

First Presbyterian of Bridgeport has smelled that way for as long as I can remember and as I sat there, once again trying not to cry, I had to smile.  We don't have my grandparents' house anymore.  We have divided their things and each member of the family has their favorite item now in their homes to remind them.  Their things are scattered hither and yon, but they, Nonnie and Grandpa, are still very much in that church. Just as they were for 60 years of their earthly lives. 

They are in the songs of what we like to call "The Last Chance Choir." They are in the stained glass and the organ.  You fully expect to see them waiting for you with a cup of coffee and a cookie in the Fellowship Hall between Sunday School and worship service. 

I never realized how much of our history is linked to that little building.  We were all baptized there.  Family weddings were there.  And, like it or not, funerals were there.  And it will go on.  And they will be there, in the bricks of the sidewalk Nonnie would be so thrilled with (no more tromping through the grass from the back door to the front), in the bulletins, in the guestbooks. 

And I have to say that I hope I can get back to the smell of Sunday a little more often, so I can find what I have missed so much.