Thursday, April 25, 2013


Now for a brief post because tomorrow is field day. If I haven't mentioned it before my class is composed of 16 little boys and 8 little girls and half of those boys are powered by sugar rolled in corn syrup or rocket fuel or some sort of amazing compound that makes The Energizer Bunny look likes he's asleep. And yet, I love this amazingly, quirky, and profoundly creative group of kids. They make me want to pull my hair out one minute and the next I am filled with tears of joy. Daily,  I realize "This is why I am became a teacher, just to meet these guys and touch their lives." Corny, yes, but I dare anyone to come into my classroom and leave without that feeling. However, teaching with this much raw emotion is draining. My stores are used up early, and I am beyond exhausted. I keep hearing suggestions of a mental health day, but how can I leave them? Co-dependent personalities should not become teachers.

Well, tomorrow we will have a morning full of sunshine and fun. Something bizarre will happen, but that's okay; I'll just spin it into a story. That's what I do best; take frustration, anxiety, insanity and weave it into the stuff that legends are made from. I have made a life, a career out of fostering quirkiness. I am Alice creating her own Wonderland. No, I am not under the influence of anything other than exhaustion. Time for bed.

P.S. I'll take my camera to school tomorrow and take pictures of my kiddos' latest projects. Seriously, they are amazing:)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Let's End With a Laugh

Such a crappy week. The hardest part is explaining it to Caroline. Anyway, let's end it with a few laughs:

1. I was listening to the radio and heard an ad for a new program to reverse hearing loss. I turned it up thinking "That would be nice; Rob and the kids are sick of me misunderstanding them and gee, I would love to be able to understand things again." It turns out the ad was for a new program to reverse HAIR loss. Cue drums! This is true. So basically,  my life is a bad vaudeville routine.

2. It is not advisable to have a dinner of Chai tea and two glasses of Moscato wine, even after spending two hours stuck in horrible traffic due to a terrible accident. It will lead to random dancing and your oldest child shouting "Help Dad! Mom is broken!" Of course said father is also suffering from his own hearing loss and missed the child's remark.

Now that you've laughed, let's hope/pray for a better week. The traffic today was caused by a man who stepped in front of a tractor trailer truck on 95. I can't imagine feeling that hopeless. That poor man and his poor family. I take back every swear I uttered while stuck. Life is too short to get hung up on little things like traffic. There are people in the world dealing with much bigger problems. Keep looking for the positive. Even if you have to poke fun at yourself.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Faith in Humanity

No wonder I have headaches, my emotions are all over the place. Over the past two days, I have gone from heartbreak to elation and back to heart break again.

Today, I took Caroline on a tour of VCU with our Girl Scout Service Unit. I was so thrilled to see her excitement and to picture the future ahead of her. She is absolutely in love. VCU has everything she wants. I loved it there and it is even better now.Then I got home...

I rushed to the computer to finish my report cards and Caroline came downstairs to whisper the news about Boston in my ear. My first instinct was to mentally rage against the world, to scream in my head: "The world sucks! I hate people! I hate fate! I hate cancer" (can you guess what has been the most pressing thought on my brain?). And then a wise friend posted this from Patton Oswalt:

 "Boston. Fucking horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity."

But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.  

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."

And another wise friend re-posted this (she had posted it after Connecticut in December):

 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers

So there you have it, I need to stop raging against the world and fate and everything that I can't control. I need to have faith in humanity, faith in the future. There is no better way to restore your faith, than to spend it with your child. I watched Caroline today and saw all that she will become. She is so ready for the world.  I have raised this amazing and compassionate young woman. She will do great things with her life. She will be one of the "helpers." What more could I ask for?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day By Day

It is a good thing that I don't post here more often. I think it would be the most morose, self-indulgent blog ever, if I posted daily. Right after my awesome mom's day I woke up with a killer panic attack. I should have seen the signs (three day headache, too much time spent in stores with loud music, interaction with strangers, and number crunching). I swear there is a vortex of Melissa worries swirling above my bed, just waiting for me to wake up in the middle of the night. I wake up to pee and dash to the bathroom praying my worries don't catch me.

Two weeks ago they did. I lay there wide awake at 3:00am wondering: "Is the end of the world coming? Are we prepared? What do I do with the dog if the end of the world comes?" (I blame these thoughts solidly on watching The Walking Dead), "Is Rob ok? How is his health? What would I do if the worst happened and I lost him?", "Have we been spending too much money? How upside down are we in this house? Will we ever get out from under?", "The shower leaks, the door knobs are broken, they don't lock or lock when they shouldn't, and they are very mismatched.", " Do we have the money to fix the shower, send Caroline to Great Britain, to college, to pay for braces, for violin lessons?", "Oh shoot, I forgot to have Lily practice violin.", "The girls should be more involved, Caroline is lonely, the girls spend too much time on the computer, watch too much T.V., eat too much junk, not enough vegetables.", "Rob eats too much junk not enough vegetables (this lead me back to the worry for Rob's health)." You get the picture. The hardest part is during a panic attack, I am fully aware of how silly or out of my control these thoughts are; I just can't stop them. The more that I try to stop them, the more worried that I feel. I ended up doing the only thing that I could. I got up, ate a few cookies, and watched T.V.

Things are better now. It is an eb and flow. Some days are better than others. Since spring break I have upped the healthy eating- exercise effort. So far so good. Last weekend the weather was beautiful. There is something about warm weather that inspires Rob and I to get off of our butts and do something. We rearranged furniture and re-caulked the tub. Rob giggled like a fourteen year boy every time I said caulk. Apparently my odd northern accent made it sound like something else. All I know is that a couple of home projects are done and consequently, I have a few less worries.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Taking Care of Myself Inside and Out

In keeping with the "taking care of myself" idea: we had an awesome "mommies lunch" on Tuesday.  My friend Katie came over with two of her girls. I provided cheese and bread, she provided wine. I took time to set up the dining room with our nice dishes for she and I and the kitchen with the nice dishes for the girls. I have spent a lot of my down time watching HGTV. It was so relaxing to make things look pretty. The girls ate and played, while Katie and I sat and drank wine and talked. Everyone was calm and happy, when Katie looked at me, you could literally see the light bulb above her head. "Do you think that Caroline could watch the girls while we go shopping?" Caroline agreed (she needs money for her Great Britain trip next summer). We went to the brand new outdoor, upscale shopping center near us.We got some cute clothes on sale and basked in the loveliness of shopping without kids. When I was in the changing room I remarked that it was wonderful to try on clothes without someone trying to peek under the door or whine about being bored. The sales clerk asked "Mother's day out?" We ended with a stop at Starbucks. That night I was happy and relaxed. I forgot how wonderful it is to do something that I want to do.

Next stop, my outside. I have vowed to try really hard to exercise more. The weather seems to be breaking. I took lots of long walks and don't intend to stop.