Friday, September 23, 2011

Things are Never What They Seem

I thought I would have so much more time to write when I got this new job. Visions of no lesson plans, free time and leaving concerns about children at school nestled into my brain. The problem with all that freedom is that I took myself with me to my new job.

Those visions of no lesson plans didn't really pan out because I taught a class on Emergent Reading Strategies for the past three weeks. Given that teachers were required to take something and they chose my class, I felt a big responsibility to make it informative, helpful and practical. It was a great class, though, and I learned a lot from the teachers. Hopefully, they took away some tips and strategies to help children learn to read, as well.

Free time? Hmm... Well, we visited Dan earlier in the month for Labor Day weekend. It is so weird to realize that she has been living in Birmingham for over a year now waiting for lungs. And, she is a trooper. She takes each day as it comes. She is exercising daily. Most of all though, she defines hope, faith and love. We talk every night on Facetime (SO much better than Skype).

Sarah has gotten sick recently, and she is currently in the hospital. Hospital stays are easier with Sarah in some ways and harder in others. Generally, she doesn't want anyone hovering over her and staying with her in the hospital. But, emotionally it is rough for her. She is moody and dissatisfied and pretty much annoyed throughout her stay. As CF Mom Extraordinaire I feel a responsibility to help make it better. And, I can't. Learning to live with grace and dignity in the face of formidable odds is difficult for many adults I know, much less a 16-year-old kid who just broke up with her boyfriend of nearly three years. Still, I know that she is in good hands, and while she isn't happy to be in the hospital, Sarah doesn't know how to slow down outside of the hospital, and she needs to focus completely on her health for now.

Micah is three. Three. Years. Old. She's brilliant, funny and active and she makes the world go round in our family. Our own personal sun. Giving her the attention she needs is probably the most important thing to everyone in the family. I have been amazed at how quickly the time goes, and I don't want to waste a moment.

Dave is pursuing his Doctorate. He keeps telling me he will require me to call him "Dr. Dave" when he completes his degree. He still keeps everything going most of the time and serves as my rock. Dave commands the world to be quiet for a while so I can take a breath, look around and realize that it will all be O.K.

Finally, those carefree evenings of a mind unfettered by concerns over children... I'm still waiting for those evenings. Even though I'm not in the classroom directly this year, I haven't stopped loving kids. I take it to heart when my parents (for non-teachers I'm not referring to Mom and J.R., I'm talking about students' parents) are dissatisfied about their children's education. Some kids are hungry, and they only eat at school. Some kids are badly behaved leaving me to wonder what is happening when they leave the protection of school. Some kids are mentally or emotionally unstable. Some kids have to be removed from their homes when their parents have engaged in abuse. And, there are more of them. Their faces follow me home at night. I lay my head down, pray and meditate that God protects the children in my path. I ask that I can, in some small way, help bring peace to the kids I serve.

Still, living life as it presents itself is such a great blessing to me. The opportunities I have been given, and the people with whom I have been gifted have evoked waves upon waves of gratitude. Taking each day one step at a time is a challenge, but one that is wholly mine. And, little by little I'm learning to look past appearances, be kind to myself and take time to look around so that I don't miss the experience. Life is a joy, and I hope I can always see past the rubbish to the treasures that lie beneath.