Friday, September 21, 2012

A parent's gift

So I've started this blog about three times this week I think. Just like it's been for the last month it's been another week or highs and lows. I always feel like in the beginning of the week I got this working mom juggling act down and then by the end of the week I feel like ducking down and covering my head to keep all the balls from bouncing off my head. But I know I am not alone on this struggle. I follow many of my friend's same struggle through either their blogs or facebook posts or telephone calls as is the case with my sister, and they give me hope and inspire me everyday that this is possible and we are doing right by the choices we've made. For many of us, our own mothers were able to stay home with us and we are the first women in our families to be full time working mommas. I look up to so many of these women, whether they're the veteran moms I work with or my coworkers that completely know the balance we must have with our job and families at home or my long time friends that are experiencing similiar situations with new babies and full time jobs. It is a tough job but one that is so worth it everyday for so many different reasons.

I will often say to my husband how maybe I should stay home but even as often as I say that I know teaching has become a part of who I am, and I really couldn't walk away from it as easily as I say I could sometimes. At this point in my ninth year of teaching I have probably worked with close to a thousand students, and as challenging as they can be sometimes, I also find their stories heartbreaking but so inspiring at the same time. And the thing I find so achingly sad is how many parents are too busy for their kids. I've coached five different seasons and after reading countless personal narratives and poems, it absolutely breaks my heart to hear over and over again how sometimes the only thing these kids want are for their parents to come to their game, come see them sing, come watch them in the school play, but they're too tired, too drunk, too busy, or just not there for whatever reason. People that don't truly know and understand teenagers will bad mouth them and talk like they're all these crazed, angry adolescents, but a lot of them really do respect their parents and just crave their positive attention and when you show them you care and listen and be there for them, they're good kids just waiting for someone to listen to their story and cheer them on in their endeavors. Some of these kids have experienced things many will never have to experience in their lives, some of them are here in this country alone chasing a dream of opportunties that too many of us take for granted, and it's their perseverance that inspires me that anything is possible.

I look at my own daugthers everyday and know that the best thing we can give them is our unconditional love, shower them in positive attention, and be there for them in every endeavor them embark upon. Unfortunately, from mine and my husband's experience with teaching I feel that a stable home is less common than an unstable home. I know now how incredibly lucky I was for the upbrining I received and that it was incredible gift my parents gave to me and my sisters, and for reasons that are understandable and reasons that aren't this is not always possible.  This is a gift I know my husband and I work so hard together to give our girls.

I listen to all our struggles as I mentioned earlier and just as most thing in life are never really easy, I know I am surrounded by strong, inspiring women that understand everything that goes into filling this role that we fill. Even though the adjustment back to work with two babies has been rather rough at times, I'm going to focus on the positive that I have amazing people in my life that make everything I do totally worth even the craziest moments. First, my students because I continue to teach because many of you inspire me, my fellow mommas because I look up to you whether your babies are grown or newbies, my own mother and father because they also made me who I am whether they like it or not (haha) and provided us with a beautiful childhood, my sister and cousin, who is like another sister, for always being my first supporters and listening ear as the three of us have embarked on motherhood together,  my husband who is my rock way more than he realizes and who has been through all the ups and downs and crazy moments these last eight and half years, and my beautiful, sweet daughters that make me want to be the best for them to show them that life is beautiful and still full of hope and dreams.

                                                           My big girl starting preschool
                                                          Kenzi cheering on the Steelers
                                                          Family date night at Port Discovery

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A mother's worst fear

As a mother there is no doubt that we all share the same worst fear. And that fear is something happening to our child(ren). Earlier this week there was a school shooting in one of the other high schools in our district. Not too long ago, we all listened in horror to the details of the Batman shooting rampage in Colorado. I also learned of a classmate who passed away recently, just a few years after his younger brother. Once you've become a mother, none of these deaths, even though you may not even know the child, goes unnoticed.

News of these incidents strike horror into your heart and the first person you think of is that poor child's mother. And father because I know without a doubt my husband, the father of my children, would be just as devasted as I would be. And I will continue to think about them often. A friend's 10 year old cousin died from a brain tumor years ago, and I still think of that little girl and her parents often. The weekend I was going to get married, the younger sister of a girl I knew years before, drowned in a flash flood. And there are many more I remember. Both mine and Nate's grandparents have had to experience the loss of a child  that died in their early 40s, as well as my friend whose mother has lost two of her children already, and even though they're not 10 or 16, their deaths are still heartbreaking and just as hard to bear. A mother still lost her child.

These stories haunt me and in a lot of ways even though I may not have known some of them personally I think they will forever because as a mother now it is my very worst fear that I will experience the unbearable pain they've had to and will continue to  experience. And the awful thing is every time you hear one of these horrible stories, you're heartbroken yes but thankful it's not you and praying  that for whatever reason you are spared from having to experience the most devasting experience imaginable.

I am a firm believer in God, but it doesn't change that I don't understand. Why are some given so much heartache and others spared? I believe we continue to live on once we have left our earthly bodies, and that those that have passed have gone on to a better place, but even the reassurance of that doesn't lessen my fear. And I thank Him every day for my family and the incredible blessings in my life and pray that He keeps my children safe and healthy. And not only do I fear such a horrible event in my life but I fear what it would do to my relationship to Him. I wouldn't doubt his existence but I don't know if I'd ever get past the anger of why.

So what do we do? Do we hide our children? Do we never let them leave home? We can't put them in a bubble. It's a scary world out there. I tell myself to trust in God, have faith in the good of humanity, and raise my children to have faith and make smart choices to avoid situations that put them in harm's way. But the darkness of the world always lurks there in the background.

My heart aches for all those parents out there that have had to experience such devastion. I hope you have found peace. I learned long ago, at the age of twelve to be exact, when I saw a parent, a brother, a sister, a daughter and son, wife, lose their son, brother, father, and husband, that nothing is guaranteed to us in this life. And to tell the people you love that you love them,and make the most of every moment because no matter how long the people we love are here for it's always too short.  God bless.