Monday, September 25, 2017

People are Surprising

I am constantly amazed by people.  Normally not in a good way.  I get a LOT of emails from parents that think I am little more than a servant.  I get a lot of  "Send home...."  Not a lot of please or thank you.  They ask me to do time intensive tasks, when my day is planned down to the minute.  I don't have time to take an unscheduled potty break, let alone get all the papers together that their student decided to crumple in the backpack and then throw away instead of turning them in.  I'm sorry that your student didn't write down their homework and ripped up the newsletter, but texting me on the weekend because you have my number from church is really not cool.

 Sometimes they are down right rude, but most of the time parents just don't realize that I am BUSY.  I don't always have my papers copied for lessons a week in advance to accommodate their last minute, week long trip to Disneyland.  I don't have time in the week to re-teach every lesson their student missed, no matter how much they think I should.

Today I had the opposite.  It was actually very needed.  I've been feeling down about my job and it was just a happy moment to kind of help me through.  One of my students is the son of one of the Vice Principals at the Junior High.  She met Ethan and Ella at my school after the first day of school and has kind of kept an eye out for them.  Being teenagers, it's probably not their favorite thing, but they think she's nice, and say hi to her.

For back story: Ella is still struggling with anxiety, but for the most part she is managing.  We talk through her anxious moments and try and talk about perspective, but it's still there.  Her big triggers for panic attacks are being late and meeting expectations.  She's been doing really well, and is luckily really good at time management.

Today that was tested.  She was let go from a class late, because a student was giving a presentation.  When she got to her locker, it wouldn't open.  She needed a notebook in it, because the notebook was due for grading.  She zoomed to class, left her backpack hoping the teacher would see she wasn't absent, and went back to try her locker again.

As she struggled with her locker, I'm sure very close to a meltdown, the Vice Principal rounded the corner.  Seeing Ella's distress, she offered to open the locker with her key.  They got the locker open.  She could have stoped there.  She could have sent her on her way, but she went the extra mile.  She walked Ella back to her class so she wouldn't be counted as tardy.

I know this is little.  It's not a big deal to be late one time in your entire school career (because it would be the first time), but to Ella it seems insurmountable.  It would not only ruin her day, but she could end up spiraling, dread a similar thing happening again, and give her self anxiety every single time she has to leave a class and open her locker.

I am so thankful for this mom, who took 2 minutes out of her day to help Ella.  It was 2 minutes for her, but a week saved for us.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Failing Downward

I will never be one of those people that fail upwards.  My mistakes don't make me more endearing and my job will never get better if I do it poorly.  I'm not traditionally "lucky" like my brother-in-law who wins every drawing that he enters.  I won't suddenly have a windfall that solves all my problems or have a million dollar idea after trying for years and failing.

I plod.  I plod like the old farm horse that has been plowing the same field year after year.  Things get very slowly better for us, because we work our tails off.  My students are successful because I work 60-70 hours a week teaching and preparing lessons.  My kids are nice because I have spent years drilling in manners.

Today was one of those hard days.  The type that make you want to move to Australia.  The kind that make you want to quit everything and give up.  I sat here thinking about writing it all out, complaining about how hard it was, yelling at how bad today sucked... but then I thought of a conversation I had yesterday.

I was sitting next to a woman from my ward and I shared a story with her and she told me I needed to write it down in a book of remembrance.  I don't have a book of remembrance so I guess I will write it here.

We were talking about our sons, who are both in young mens.  Ethan is about a year and a half older than her son and was Deacon Quorum president when her son came into young mens.  She said she was so appreciative of Ethan because he came over that Sunday to talk with her son and walk him through all of the things they do.  She said he taught him what to do when passing the Sacrament, and how they do fast offerings.

I laughed and told her about how shy Ethan is.  How it has been physically painful for him, at times, to go out of his comfort zone.  I shared that Eric and I were both worried about how he would handle being president and having to talk and coordinate so much.  We were happy for him, and thought it would be a learning experience.

It was, but for us.  The minute Ethan was set apart he was different.  When it came to his calling he was confident, proactive, and organized.  It was amazing to see the immediate change, and to watch him grow so much in that calling.  He is an amazing young man.

I didn't think about it last night, but my friend from the dance place comes every week to church with her three kids, and her husband isn't there.  I have known he was inactive, and I've admired her for her faith.  What I didn't think about until just now was that Ethan probably filled in, in a place that she needed a little help.  Ethan had Eric to walk him through all that stuff.  I'm proud Ethan was there for her son.

We aren't "lucky."  We won't win the lotto.  But man, we are blessed.

Monday, April 24, 2017


I had a nightmare last night and I wanted to write it down.  I'm not sure why.  No one reads this anymore since I've only written once in almost 2 years, so this is just for me.  I don't want to post it on Facebook and have people commenting on it.  It's too personal, but I do want my grief recorded.  For me, for my kids.

I had one of those horrible dreams last night.  The kind where it feels so real that you would swear it was happening.  Not the floaty feeling, time has no meaning dream, the kind where every minute is accounted for and it is happening in real time.  The kind you wake up from and you don't realize you've been dreaming for several minutes.

I dreamt that a beloved family member was sick and getting sicker.  I dreamt that I couldn't accept that it was real and happening.  I refused to believe that she was just sick and I needed to accept it.  I traced down medical records, interviewed people, contacted the police over and over again, and risked my life in an undercover operation to reveal the culprit.  Things got hairy, but in the end the villain was revealed and taken away into justice.

Walking away from the scene, I ran into my cousin, and bruised and bloodied I was able to tell her I had fixed the problem.  I had found the horrible monster and he wouldn't be poisoning our wonderful family member any more.  We hugged and turned to walk down the street together.

Then I woke up.  I felt elated.  I felt invincible.

Then it hit me.  It was a dream.  I didn't save anyone.  My aunt is still gone.

And I cried.

I cried because I miss her.  I cried because I didn't see her much in her last year because I was always sick from having to work around 8 year olds.  I was mad that I couldn't go to Thanksgiving to see her one more time before things got bad.

I cried for the sound of grief I heard come from my grandpa at her funeral that I will never forget as long as I live.

I cried for my cousins that lost their biggest cheerleader and champion.

I cried that my kids would have so few memories of someone who helped shape me into the responsible hard working person I am, and loved me even when I wasn't.

And I'm still crying.