Reminders

It’s funny how a story or a memory sneaks up on you. This morning, as I was trying to leave for the gym, both kids needed to ask me something. Their father is standing right there, next to them. Yet they need to ask me. This man who has changed diapers, taken them fishing, cooked 95% off the meals that have kept them alive, and will be taking them to school was not allowed to answer any questions. So late to my class I was, all to answer questions he could have.

Which reminded me of this sweet moment in time with my youngest.

My house has an open floor plan. When you walk in the front door, you enter the family room. The living room is up four steps to your left, the kitchen/dining is straight ahead and up four steps. Beyond that are the kids bedrooms (six steps). My bedroom is up another six steps from that. I joke that it is a tudor on the outside, a split level in the middle and a two story at the back. There are no walls until you go upstairs to the kids bedrooms.

My son, who was 8 at the time, wanted a glass of milk. He was in the living room. He walks up 4 steps to the kitchen, walks through the kitchen and up 6 steps to his bedroom level. He turns and goes up 6 more steps to find me. I am in my room folding laundry.

“Mom, can I have a glass of milk?”

“Sure, go get it.”

“I can’t.”

“Why can’t you? I’m folding laundry. Where is your father?”

“It’s too heavy. Please can you help.”

“Where is dad?”

“Don’t know.”

“Ok. Give me a minute.”

He goes downstairs and starts pulling out a glass and the gallon, which was full. I enter the kitchen to see my husband cooking dinner.

“Have you been here the whole time?”

“Yes why?”

“Jack walked past you to ask me for a glass of milk, and to get it for him.”

To which Jack smiled and said, “I didn’t see dad.”

So this morning when only mom answers will do, I was reminded of this moment, when only mom pouring the milk will do.

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Alexa

I was sick 2 weekends ago. The kind of sick that you don’t move from bed for two days, binge watching whatever you are awake you see. While I was quarantined from my family, my husband purchased an addition to our family. We now have Alexa. I do not understand the necessity of having such a device. But he and my kids both think it is cool.

“Alexa, what is the news?”

“Alexa, what is the weather?”

“Alexa, play _______.” (Whichever music said person enjoys.)

My husband also says christmas is from after thanksgiving until it ends on January 2 when we put the lights away. I often turn on the outside lights in March just to mess with him. Now we have Alexa.

“Alexa, play christmas music.”

Hearing his exasperation when he walks in the room makes me laugh. I now see the necessity of such a device.

Today

Today was a day.

An ordinary, extraordinary day.

A hang with my daughter day.

A volunteer in my community day.

A be excited about reading day.

A Wrinkle in Time day.

A perfectly ordinary, extraordinary day.

War

I went to war today. My war is personal. My war does not involve blood, but does involve destroying.

This is a staged attack. Last week I tried dish soap and baking soda. That removed the smell, but not the stains.

This week I attack on a second front. Clean the slop sink and prepare for battle. A long term skirmish of an oxyclean soaking is in my future. There my white uniform will lay while the oxyclean goes to work. Will this be the time my uniform goes from dingy to sparkling white?

If this does not work, I will regroup, research, and study the enemy closely, determining another attack. I have heard of peroxide, and liquid bluing. One thing is certain, I cannot use bleach.

And when this war is over, the gray of my white uniform will be no more.

Last weekend

Last weekend I was reminded of how great my husband is. He cooked, he did all the laundry, he got the children to help him clean. He went to the grocery store. He mopped the floors. He loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the kitchen. He took the children to where they needed to be. He did everything, including let me sleep because I was sick.

Field Trip

3 years ago I left the classroom to teach in an entirely different way. My business is growing, but what has inspired me today is the freedom that decision has made. I left the classroom to spend more time with my family. Working 14 hour days was literally killing me. Today I get to choose what I do during the day, and I chose my oldest child. I am the field trip mom. I, along with 5 other moms, get a private concert from her band. They have gone to the local college to receive feedback from the music professor there. 7th and 8th graders receiving college tutoring as a band is something I never got at that age. Sitting here in the chapel listening to them play is beautiful. Knowing I get to be there for my daughter is priceless. This is my gift to her, but what she doesn’t know is that it is a gift to myself. Today, I get to choose, and I chose the band trip, and I chose her.

Contemplative Question

To my future self,

I am writing today, March 31, 2017, because I am truly wondering what the answer is to this question.  Have we moved so far to the right or left that there is no room for the independent, middle thinking voter/candidate?  I have been contemplating this idea for the past few weeks.  You see, in December I filed paperwork to run for my local school board.  I have always thought myself more democrat than republican.  Saying that, if I look at the larger picture, I am currently staunchly in the middle.  I agree with some aspects and ideas of both sides.  This question stems from my struggles over the past few months to “win” endorsements.  The local conservative group has thrown their support behind 4 other candidates, all of whom have spoken of more conservative ideas.  The local liberal group has thrown their support behind these same 4 people.  Which leaves me befuddled and wondering.  I speak of having an educator’s background (so does 2 of the 4 that have support from these groups).  I speak of owning my own small business and maintaining fiscal responsibility (as does the other 2 of the 4 that have support from these groups).  I do not make knee-jerk reactions, or split second decisions.  Instead I choose to view the world through discussion and experience. I choose to contemplate and listen to both sides of a discussion.  I would think this would make me a stronger candidate.  But when I find myself feeling like an outsider, seeing others endorsed for the same beliefs I hold, and watching “newspapers” print information that I know is completely false, because I am living my life and know what is true and not true, I begin to wonder exactly how this political process works.  If the same 4 people are endorsed by far right and far left groups, has the narrative changed so much that there is no room for someone in the middle who is independent.  Is this what a true “independent” has become?  The election is April 4th.  In the grand scheme of things, whether elected or not, I will still attend board meetings, I will still be active in my child’s school, I will still ask questions and choose discussion over reaction.  I will take all that I have learned and apply it to my daily interactions.  I have joined groups on Facebook to stay more apprised of current thoughts and ideas and I will attend their meetings because I see value in these groups.  I see value in conservative ideas and liberal ideas.  Yet I wonder.   What will happen in the next few years? Does anyone else see value in an opposing viewpoint?  Have we moved so far to the right or left that there is no room for the independent, middle thinking voter/candidate?

Sincerely and Thoughtfully yours,

Your current self

Still Waiting

A few years back I wrote a post about waiting for my turn to head off to Master’s Camp.  For those who don’t know, I left teaching 2 years ago to work full time in our family business.  We own a Martial Arts studio.  I traded teaching reading, writing, and math for teaching self-advocacy, self-confidence, and character development (along with kicking and punching).  Teaching has never left my life.  I run our after school program and get to see all the marvelous things my fellow educators are doing in the classroom.  I get to engage with students about how wonderful school is, outside of the classroom setting.  I get to encourage them to never give up, to fail forward, to try and try again.  And now I find myself at a crossroads again.  I am 2 people.  I am the martial artist striving to be a better individual.  I am the educator, knowing that I don’t know enough.

Over the years I have seen and trained with many different people.  When I started, I was in the back of the room.  We line up by rank: highest rank goes first, lowest rank is in the back.  Over the course of my 16+ years of training, many people have started, some have stayed and some have left, some even came back after some time.  I have slowly moved up the ranks, moving closer to the front of the line.  Until today.

My husband left this morning for Master’s Camp.  He is testing for his 4th degree master’s rank this weekend.  It is not an easy or quick process.  He will test again next year at this time as well.  The thing that leaves me contemplative and thoughtful this morning is this: he is the person in line ahead of me.  He achieved his rank one year prior to me achieving mine.  Which means that if he went this year, I could be going next year.  This is both frightening and exciting.  He and I share everything.  We work together, raise a family together, support each other, and push each other.  But in this, I have kept quiet.  I want to share my feelings about what it means for me (selfishly) that he is going.  I want to analyze what will happen to me as an individual within our martial arts world.  I want the conversation to be about me, about feeling left out, about when he thinks my time will come, yet I have held back. This is his time.  He gets to go and experience this first. (Admittedly, I am a bit jealous.)   And I am here at home, waiting for my invitation to this camp.  It may come next year, or it may come in three years.  That is the thing, you won’t know when you are tapped to be invited.  Until then, I will teach the classes, run the after school program, take care of our kids, and wait……and wait for my time to join him.

Dad Machine

This past weekend we had another karate tournament to attend.  My children have grown up around them.  They know the rules.  Keep your stuff together, don’t enter the ring, play with your friends, and follow all directions because if you don’t everyone in that gym knows who you are.

During these tournaments, my children roam free.  They can find me at the head table at any time.  And I know that one call over the microphone will bring them running to me.  Most likely they are in a corner playing with friends, or watching others compete.  But this weekend we have graduated to getting our own snacks.

I was walking the gym, making sure things were running smoothly and I found my son.  My wonderful, friendly, comedic son was sitting with a friend eating twizzlers (at 10 am).  I asked him where he got the twizzlers, hoping to return the favor of shared snacks to another family.

“from the vending machine.”  (This cannot be good).  Now I wonder which mom or dad I owe money to for allowing my son to purchase said snack.

“Where did you get the money for the twizzlers?”

“From the dad machine.”  And he breaks out in giggles and runs to tell his father what he said.

The rest of the day was kind of like that, moments of hilarity, definite camaraderie.

And my son was the happiest because he got money from the “dad machine.”