Friday, August 12, 2016

I Run Slow, but that's Okay

I've always been a competitive person by nature; maybe it's because I'm an only child. Anyway, I never noticed how competitive I was until recently. A few years ago I began running and joined a core group of running friends. We do a lot of races together and when we can, we run on the weekends and evenings as well. Everything is great when I can keep up with them or run faster than them, but lately it seems they are getting faster and I am getting slower. It has really been bothering me, but this morning when I was on one of my practice hill runs, I realized something; we all have our struggles. Now I know this may not seem like an epiphany to you, but realizing this was very important for me.
As I was running up the hill struggling to breathe and feeling twinges in my knee, I realized these are my struggles. After three knee surgeries, sometimes needing to use an inhaler when I run, and sometimes just not having time to run, the fact that I can get out there and run should be enough for me. The only person I need to compete against is myself; not my group of friends, not other people I see at races, and certainly not the people who are running past me as if I'm standing still. So whether a person struggles with age, peeing their pants as they run ;), breathing issues, weight issues, or just lack of energy, we all have our weaknesses and we all have our strengths. The only person we need to compare to is ourselves. The funny thing is, as soon as I had that thought I saw a young lady running up the hill I had just gone up as if there were no challenge for her at all (I really struggled to keep my pace). My first thought was, "Oh I hate her", but then I realized what I had said. I realized she has her struggles as well, and I tried to change my thinking to, "Good for her"! Good for all of us.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What my son learned in elementary school

My son has four days left in elementary school.  Four days and then he becomes a stinky, hormonal middle schooler.  I was lucky enough to have my children with me at elementary school, and having my baby go on to middle school is taking it's toll on this mommy.  Not only is he going off to be with big kids, but I won't be there to keep an eye on him.  I've had one of my babies close by for the last nine years, and now they will both be on their own (so to speak).  I know this is harder on me than him and he is ready for the change.  I know this because of what he learned in elementary school.

My son learned to read, write, and do math in elementary school.  He knows the constitution, the history of our country and state, and how to write a paragraph.  He learned to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.  I know he's ready for the academic challenges of middle school.  But my son learned so much more than this.

He learned that life isn't fair.  He learned the smart kids, the well behaved kids, the kind kids, aren't the ones who earn the awards.  He learned working hard and doing well isn't going to get you that trophy or that medal.  He learned the students who really deserve the recognition don't get it.  Really, just ask him.

And in spite of this, he learned working hard and doing what's right is important, even if you don't get the recognition.  Knowing what is right, and doing what is right, that feeling you get, that is more important than the piece of pizza at Principal's Lunch or the piece of paper at the award ceremony.  Amazingly, though he hasn't been recognized for three years for never getting in trouble, having good attendance, or having a grade below a C, being a good student is important to him.

So tonight I thank the teachers at his school.  Not for being supportive (though there were a couple who were), or for being a good role model, but for teaching him a lesson.  Sometimes it really is the "bad kids" who get all of the credit...and the "good kids", well, they are just good because they know it's the right thing to do.  I know this is a lesson my son will carry with him for the rest of his life.  I just wish he would have learned it a different way.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year New Me?

I have been seeing New Year's resolutions all over the place. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter. It's interesting to me how one day out of the year make a difference. Why do we wait for the New Year to make resolutions? If I want to better myself, why not today? I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions. I've never really understood them. If I want to make a change I'll do it now, not wait for the first of the year. I guess it has significance in being a new start, but the change really needs to start with me. One day can't really change my life, that comes from within. The new year is just another day and who I am, that comes from the heart. See, the calendar isn't going to make change happen; I need to make the change. Decide who I want to be and be that person. I have to live for me, and not wait around for a specific day. So, in this new year, I guess I hope that you see who you should be. Not just today, but every day of this year.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Taking Time for Me

It's been a while since I have written a blog post.  I guess I feel like I don't have anything important to say most of the time.  I decided I'm going to try to post at least once a week for the coming year to help me keep focus on my new endeavor.  What is it, you might ask?  I have decided to go back to school (again) to get my administration certification.

If you are like my daughter, you are asking why?  Don't you have enough on your plate?  The answer is yes, and no.  I have spent the last 15 years of my life focusing on the most important things in my world: my kids.  I have been their taxi driver, scout leader, cheerleader, and teacher.  I stayed at the same school for 10 years because my children were at my school.  I've helped with homework, watched karate, swim lessons, and dance practice and listened to them play piano, guitar, sing, whatever their little hearts are into at the moment.  I have spent so much time loving and caring for them that I forgot about taking care of myself.  My children are growing up now and though they'll still need me for a while, I know the days of staying busy for them are coming to an end.

So now it's my turn.  I earned this time.  I am going to do things for me.  I see an opportunity to better my career and I'm going to take it.  The next 17 months aren't going to be easy; my classes are going to take a lot of my time.  I still struggle with the fact that I am often doing homework instead of playing games or hanging out with my family.  But I'm learning that it's okay to take a few hours out of my week to do something for me.  I'll be a better person for it in the end.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I'm having an affair

It's true.  I sleep with it every night, I worry when it doesn't get enough attention, and when it vibrates, I get so happy!

Yep, I'm having an affair with my Fitbit.  We've been together for almost a year now (well, I did trade up when the new Charge came out, but I've been faithful ever since!).  We sleep together, eat together, work together and run together.  I never thought I'd feel this way about anything other than my husband, but, it turns out, I can't live without my Fitbit.

In fact, I even dream about the future with my Fitbit.  I think to myself, will we grow old together?  When I'm 70 year old, will it's little vibrations (at 10,000 steps) excite me as they do now?  Will I strive to get to 10,000 steps every day?  Will I have the cute little tan line on my wrist?

My Fitbit and I have been through so much together!  From those days when I could barley run a mile to now, where we get cranky if we don't run at least every other day.  5K?  No problem!  10K?  Piece of cake!  As long as I get my happy little vibration and my little Fitbit party (as I like to call it).

So, my husband has some competition.  I suppose it's not really fair, since my Fitbit and I are rarely apart.  We'll see how he stacks up.  ;)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

“I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ― Martin Luther King Jr

I haven't really been watching the news lately, it just depresses me too much, but you would have to live under a rock to not know what is going on in Baltimore.  I know that people are angry, frustrated and scared and that I'll never understand that kind of fear because, well, I just never will.  I can't help but feel like society is going backwards.  Black people are afraid of cops, white people don't know who to believe, it's all just getting out of hand.  Here's what I do know:
There are bad cops.
There are bad black people.
There are bad white people.
There are bad brown and beige people.
There are bad Muslims, Catholics, Christians and Atheists.
There are bad teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, waitresses, bankers and investors.
There are bad people of every race, religion and field of employment (and even bad unemployed people).

But, here's what I believe:
There are good cops.
There are good black people.
There are good white people.
There are good brown and beige people.
There are good Muslims, Catholics, Christians and Atheists.
There are good teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, waitresses, bankers and investors.
There are good people of every race, religion and field of employment (and even good unemployed people).

And I believe that the good outnumber the bad in every one of those categories.  I know things are looking dark right now, but what if we all tried to see the good in others?  What if we lifted each other up, complimented and gave praise instead of looking for the bad and criticizing?  I know we can love each other and end violence.  I know that we can be happy and non-judgmental.  How do we get there?  That's where I want to be and that's how I'm going to live.  Maybe I'm just some crazy naive white girl, but I am going to look for the good in everyone I meet.  I hope we all can do the same.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I'll never have money, but I'm oh so rich

This week has been one of those weeks; scratch that, this month has been one of those months, or maybe this year has been one of those years.  I admit it; I've felt sorry for myself, stressed and have been upset.  My life doesn't always go as planned, and, well, it pisses me off sometimes.  My car is making noises it shouldn't be making.  My friends are going on trips I can't go on.  My child didn't get into the school she wanted to;  Sometimes life really stinks.

Yet...most of the time life is so amazing.  I feel like such an ungrateful shit for feeling sorry for myself.  I have an amazing family, a husband who loves me and two children who are really good great kids.  I'm not just saying that, somehow I ended up with these amazing two little people who live in my house, who I really probably don't deserve, yet here they are.  They are smart, talented and well behaved, and they are the loves of my life.

And then there's my job.  I complain about it sometimes, more than I should.  There's a lot of paperwork and some days are really hard.  I couldn't wait to go on a two week break.  But I have to admit.  As I was saying goodbye to the little monsters today, for two weeks, I was sad.  I really will miss them.  And I'm already dreading the end of the school year when I will say goodbye to three of them for good.

For those of you who don't know, I teach preschoolers with autism.  This is my first year after teaching regular education for sixteen years.  I decided I needed a change, so I made a huge one.  The first few weeks I was really afraid I had made a big mistake.  I felt like I didn't know what I was doing and was flying by the seat of my pants.  There are still times that I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, but then sometimes I feel like I am really making a difference in these kids' lives.  

I have seen some amazing things happen with these little people this school year.  I've seen language grow, social skills emerge and even some huge academic improvements.  I've changed lots of diapers (although my amazing aides have changed hundreds more) and I've kissed lots of boo boos.  Today, though, I saw some changes in some of my little people that made my heart grow three sizes.  

I saw a little guy share who has never wanted to share before, offering a toy to another little boy.  I heard another little guy, who could barely talk in August, say my name.  And I got a kiss from my newest little guy who spent hours screaming just a few short weeks ago.  

These may seem like small milestones to you, but to me, they are the world.  We work so hard with our little friends to show progress like this, and today, I saw it working. 

So, I don't have a lot of money, and as a teacher, I never will expect to.  But my life is so rich.