former students

They are 6 years old today!! The twins are 6!! I remember the day they walked into my classroom. 2 years old, one crying for Mom, the other dumping the bin full of dinosaurs with a determined smile I would get to know well. They were so… tiny.  I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with both during ESY two years ago, and again last year. Still… 6 years old!!!

Tonight, while shopping for Easter stuff, I ran into another former student. (Strange day)  I am always surprised at how big my former students are. Age may be more of a shock than size, though. When you meet a child you haven’t laid eyes on in 14 some-odd years… The 4 year old I knew is replaced by a young man. A young man, taller than myself, who speaks in sentences that have nothing to do with dinosaurs and toy cars. A young man who’s face grows redder by the minute as his doting mother recounts his life’s accomplishments to me, his preschool teacher.

This is the first year I have had a job with that strange potential of seeing former students on a regular basis, and I am as excited by the prospect as I am sad. There is something to be said about the unexpected surprise, the doting parents, the shy, embarrassed child, and the swell in my heart as I see one more.


negative vs. positive

Positive Vs. Negative

A negative sees a positive, and it must attack.

The positive can see all that the negative lacks.

The negative jumps into the ring, ready for a fight.

The positive bobs and dodges the negative all night.

The negative swings, wildly determined to win this bout.

The positive sidesteps, and so the negative knocks itself out.

– Nick Cannon, Neon Aliens Ate my Homework.

I read this poem last night, snuggled up with my son in his bed. (We read books of short stories or poems, facts or amazing feats together each night before the lights are turned off.)

I have been so negative this past week. Stress, and pressure have pushed me into a corner, and I feel as though I’m shrinking underneath it all. I went to the gym this morning to box, hoping to punch or kick my way through.  Usually, I’m able to focus my frustrations and stress onto the heavy bag, but I’ve been bombarded from so many directions lately, I haven’t been able to find that focus. The negative is determined to win here.

So today, after a less than satisfactory bout at the gym, I sat down in front of my computer to take one of the stresses off my plate, and organize my day. One bob and dodge for the positive

Later, I took my daughter to meet my son at the library. My boy loudly protested, not wanting to get off the computer. He did, (he’s mostly bark), but then ran out of the library, frustrated at how unfair Mom is. My daughter and I stayed behind, roaming through the stacks, looking for adventures to carry us through the week. He came back 15 minutes later (as always), crying, inconsolable… He’d lost his cell phone in his mad dash to escape his own stress and frustration.  We found the phone 10 minutes later at the police station. (It was strange, my son walking next to me, holding my hand, while his phone was moving down Curtiss Avenue on the map. Find a Friend is a great app.) There are honest, and genuinely good people in this world. Either way, I had the most important piece of that duo with me. The negative was swinging wildly, but the positive sidestepped.

To celebrate the good and honest people in this world, we went out for dinner. I did not have to do dishes. Knock out.

It’s a matter of perspective. I do know this, but sometimes I need a reminder.

A conversation

“Why don’t you take your coat off and stay a while?”

“I want to go to the library. Can I go to the library, Mom?”

“Not today. Let’s take a break from Minecraft tonight. I’ll take you tomorrow.”

He grumbles and shouts, “That’s not fair!”

He calms a bit, and adds, “You don’t get a say! I’m going to ask Dad, he can trump you!”

At which point I laugh, and get myself into more trouble. (His statement is rather funny.)

Currently, I am listening to my son’s whining (I have officially ruined his whole day), and his Ferby’s singing. It’s an interesting combination.

The whining will stop. The Ferby….  There is no “off” button.

What Beautiful Is

Carpet on the toilet, soft under my feet.

Light bulbs all around the mirror

Just my Grandma and Me

Do you know what beautiful is?

Grandma closes one eye, then the other

She uses three different colors.

Close your eyes, my Bethy.

Beautiful is your heart.

Grandma makes a fishy face,

And uses her big brush to put on rouge.

Make a fishy face, my Bethy.

Beautiful is your mind.

Grandma chooses a color.

She puckers her lips, and glides the stick over them.

Pucker up, my Bethy.

Beautiful is your smile.

Grandma touches her big poof to my nose.

She closes her eyes, and powders her face.

Close your eyes, my Bethy.

Beautiful is your strength.

Grandma pulls me next to her.

I see our reflections in the mirror,

She winks at me, and I giggle.

You are beautiful, my Bethy.

When it rains, it pours.

When it rains, it pours, and I am in the midst of a mild thunderstorm right now. Not a monsoon, at least, but today is definitely on my list in the “not to be repeated” category.  Some things that happened today were outside of my control, and my own responsibility lies in my reaction. I was pretty good at thinking on my feet, though, so no thunderstorms on this account. I actually had a rather brilliant idea today!

Other things were the consequences of earlier decisions. Yesterday’s decisions. Yesterday morning was full, my brain was fried, and I should have stopped there.

Still, other pieces involve incidences I was not involved in. Ones involving my son. While these incidences were outside of my control (I was not with him at school today, after all), I have found that nothing is outside of my control when he is involved. (I do hope I don’t make my student’s parents feel this way.) Worse still is the fact that I received a call, and an email, from the program director. His teacher was not at school today, but I didn’t get a call from the social worker (She likes to call me!), or the principal, or anyone who was in the building. I am hearing, and reading, this story from a third-party source.

Tonight, I will take my son to therapy, and read another chapter in the novel I haven’t picked up in nearly a week. Tonight, I will fold and put away the laundry, and then have a glass of wine. Tonight, I will be in bed by 10:00. (a lofty goal)

Tomorrow, I will deal with my son’s program director, armed with my list of acceptable reactionary statements. Tomorrow, I will carry through with that brilliant idea I had today.  Tomorrow, will be good.

Snow, melt away

Oh the weather outside is frightful,

I’m sure the roads are terribly undelightful,

I don’t want to venture out today,

Snow, melt away.

Snow, melt away.

Snow, melt away.

I was dreaming of warm and sunny weather,

but white snow and ice I see forever.

I have to clear my car off today,

Snow, melt away.

Snow, melt away.

Snow, melt away.

When I finally get in my car,

I have to turn on the heat and defrost.

The roads are slushier by far,

I can see all the cars’ exhaust.

It took me over an hour,

The day is looking very dour.

The sky is a very dark gray,

Snow, melt away.

Snow, melt away.

Snow, melt away.

Peaceful expression of sleep

There is something serene about watching my son sleep.

My son is constantly moving while awake, and his intensity and restlessness, whether happy or otherwise, is exhausting. When he’s happy, he bounces around with complete joy and excitement, blissfully unaware of the intensity of his emotion and actions. When he feels loving and sweet, he curls up in a ball, crushing next to me, wiggling all the while to get even closer.  When he’s stressed, upset, or angry, which all look very much the same, he stiffly paces around the house, throwing his hands and arms around, needing to get the negative energy away from himself, or perhaps wanting to share it with us, hoping we understand.

The peaceful expression of sleep on his face, his body momentarily at rest, curled up tight around a balled up blanket. He moves, and spreads out wide, taking up as much space as he possibly can, the balled up blanket tucked in close to his face. He would be much more comfortable in his bed, but he fell asleep next to me on the couch, and I’m not ready to move him quite yet.