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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

In My Corner

I had a doctor's appointment this morning. I always kind of chuckle when a doctor asks, "Do you have a lot of stress?"
I never even know how to answer that question. I feel like the answer is YES and at the same time it's, well-kinda, and then maybe a little bit of --NO, not at all! 
I mean, I'm a mom--stress.
I have lots of little people at school who rely on me--stress.
Work never really ends--stress.


There are so many things that balance out the stress and most of the time, I can look at the stress and see it as good. Yes, good stress. The kind that makes me more productive but doesn't make me restless. The kind that makes me feel accomplished and not drained. Does it make me stop and breathe sometimes, yes, but I got this. 

So my answer was, "Yes, but not in a way that isn't healthy."
He said, "How old are your kids?"
"12 and 14...yeah, they're tough and I'm a teacher, that's a lot, but I'm not more stressed than I need to be."

I've got a husband who does dishes. A mom who calls to check on me and love me no matter what. A dad who is always proud of me. A daughter who makes my coffee and fills my water bottle every morning. A son who starts my car and brushes off the snow in the morning (yes, snow already--don't get me started). A friend who helps me in a pinch when I feel like I might not be able to do it all. I might be stressed but I'm also pretty darn lucky and there isn't anything to be stressed about when I think of everyone in my corner. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Day After

Still, so much of that night feels fresh, and yet everything is different. Just like things are when you have a moment like this. Three years is a long time. 

Anniversaries are funny. Not in the haha way but in an odd way. The way a time of year can come around and bring back a flood of smells, images, and feelings. Tears in the back of my eyes sit still, and I remind myself I'm okay.

Today is the third anniversary of "the day after." Our house was ablaze just before midnight, but we still felt like November 5th was the next day for us. We slept at our neighbor's house in their grown son's bedroom. When we walked out of our neighbors front door and into the blue sky sunlight seeing our house blackened, boarded, and broken--a part of us stayed in that moment. Now it comes back in memories.

Today I went on a search for some poems I wrote shortly after the fire. I remember feeling like a member of our family was gone. Two actually. I worried our pine tree would have to come down. But the tree bounced back to life, still wearing its charred parts, and the house was reincarnated. It's so strange to have almost the same house. To this day, we occasionally reach for light switches in the wrong spot. It makes us smile at our silliness, but it causes a pause in thought. And yet, it was only a thing. People always say things can be replaced. This is true. They aren't quite the same though.

The poem I wrote to our house when we were living in a hotel.

I sometimes wonder if you miss us.
I feel bad that you are left there
all alone
I wonder if you know what happened.
I wonder if you're sad.
I don't want you to worry.
We are okay.
We miss filling you with laughter,
good smells, and barking.
But just you wait
Pretty soon...

The poem I wrote to the house about the pine tree and the days leading up to the remains being torn down.

Did you see the tree?
That tree was like your partner
You'd been friends since birth
It's a long time to live together
She might just make it
I'm sorry you didn't
They are coming to take you away pretty soon
I don't think I'll watch
I'd rather not see you like this
I like picturing the first time I saw you
Knowing you were the one

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A Normal Day

This morning we set off for school guided by strings of headlights and morning commuters. K-pop played quietly in the back seat while my son listened to music on his phone next to me, eyes closed, his fourteen-year-old head against the window. Looking in the rear-view mirror, my daughter gazed out her window at the blackness. I looked ahead, awaiting an unexpected deer, awakening raccoons, or the frequently misidentified dancing leaves on the pavement. 
What is that?
Did I hit a toad?
Oh, it was just a leaf. There's three more rolling across my path. 

Drop off was typical:
Middle school entrance, 7:05 a.m.
"Bye, sweetheart, love you. Have a great day."

Pull around to the high school, 7:06.
"Remember to check with your lit/comp teacher about that test you missed last week and have a good day. Love you."
"See you later."

I made the four-minute drive across town and parked at my school. A staff meeting would be starting around 7:30, so I had just enough time to do some final prep for the day.

As the meeting began, there were the usual announcements and a summary of what we hoped to accomplish. 


"Oh, and by the way, I think most of you probably have heard already, but in case any of you have not one of our first graders lost their home to a fire yesterday. His mom works in the cafeteria over at the high school. It sounds like some staff members there will be putting out some calls for assistance to help the family...(continues to talk--as I start to slow my breathing)."

I am listening, but I'm not listening because, in my mind, I am reminded of the day after our fire. The day I stood in Meijer (our everything grocery store here) with an empty cart wearing my neighbor's clothes, shoes black with soot, and no coat. I stood there quiet, like I was in this moment now, thinking--What do I do? 

Just as my eyes started to feel like they might fill, the meeting moved on, and I was able to reset my thoughts. Remind myself that I had an average morning. That today, for me, was not the day after one of the worst days. That we are far past the heaviness, but this family is right at the beginning. I hope I can offer support and comfort. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Click, click, click...






Click, click, click...

Lap, lap, lap...



It was a long night. One where it felt like I didn't sleep at all. I know that isn't true, but I was sure all I did was toss, turn, listen to the dog get up and walk around, toss, turn, listen to the dog get a drink. I could not get comfortable.



Blanket too lumpy.

Blanket too uneven.

No blanket.

Leg out.

Nothing worked.
I didn't dare check the time--ever!
I had no thoughts in my head.
No worries.
No dreams.
My mind was blank.
So tired yet unable to settle.

I'm looking forward to settling tonight. I have a plan.
Step one: Make a cup of sleepytime tea.
Step two: Read some poems from my favorite book by Mary Oliver.
Step three: Turn the lights off earlier.

Let's hope it works. I wish you all a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Yesterday and Today

Back in July, my husband pre-ordered the movie Yesterday. He had thought it was available, it wasn't, so we waited. Both my husband and I are pretty big Beatles fans. Both our parents had many of their records, we listened as kids, and have enjoyed the music as the timeless treasure it is. So, naturally, when we realized last night that the movie was finally watchable (for who knows how long), we started it even though we knew we didn't have time to finish.

Spending the past 40 minutes today watching the rest, not only was it confirmed for me as an adorable, sweet, feel-good, and fabulous movie, it was also what I needed after a tiring day.

If you haven't seen the movie Yesterday, I won't spoil it for you, but the end made me get all the feels. It affirmed some things, and I just absolutely loved the way they chose to close this sweet story. It wasn't the most incredible movie I've ever seen, but it was the best movie I could have watched today. I'm so glad I did even on a busy school night. Time well spent before diving into my reading goals binder of notes to update, running records to log, and spelling inventories to analyze.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Hardware Store

Do you ever see something and think, "Huh, I bet there's a story there?"

I've been making multiple trips to the hardware store lately. My husband took on a bookshelf project for me which, and as projects do, it turned into days upon days of tedious work. In my mind, since we were getting the boards cut at the lumber store, this was going to be easy peasy. I'm usually right about things (wink) but I should have known better.

I didn't take into consideration all the clamping, squaring, and precise thinking necessary for making a bookshelf. This bookshelf was being made to work in potentially any classroom in my district. The specifications were not on any plans except a grocery list paper with numbers written on it from June created by yours truly.

I knew it would take longer. NO biggie. But I didn't realize it would take over so much space in my anxious, school is almost here brain!

Now, the shelves are complete and ready to take to my classroom. I don't have the final pic yet, maybe that'll be next week when they are also covered in beautiful books. (It better be next week because kids are coming!) But on one of my many trips to the hardware store, I couldn't help but notice a beautiful splash of aqua on the newly re-surfaced parking lot.

Made me feel a little better about the uneventful trip number five to the store and I wondered, "What's the story there?"

Sunday, March 31, 2019

True Slicing Fashion

Here I am, 11:48, almost out of time. I have been a late slicer almost all month. I still somehow made it here every day. It's kind of a surreal thing, writing every day about your everyday. Like I said though, I can't really go on too long because it's now 11:49 and the clock is ticking.
I did a lot of things today, I could list them out, but mostly what I enjoyed was feeling a bit closer to my daughter. At one point today we were all cuddled up together playing a word game on the couch. She claimed to be bored, we played, getting closer and closer. She's not too huggy these days. She's a bit distant. But for a moment today, it felt like she was my little cuddle bug snuggled up next to me. I didn't dare say a word, instead, I just leaned into her a bit. She didn't seem to mind.
11:52, still time to spare.

So, here is a moment of thank you. A thank you to all who participate in this challenge. Even if you only started, if you made it half-way, if you made it 30 days and not 31 because of some pestering obligation. It all matters. Every story you wrote, every word you thought, every moment you shared. It mattered and is taking up a bit of space in the universe now. You can feel pretty proud of that.

11:54--I don't think I'll push it any longer. Time to hit publish.