one month, ONE STINKIN MONTH after I toss my quilling supplies — saved, stored and sorted since the 70’s (I’m never gonna quill again, havent quilled for years. blah blah blah) I find a picture of a wonderful Christmas ornament on Pinterest that is — wait for it — quilled. damn.
On days like today, especially at times like 6:59 this afternoon, I am so full of pride and admiration for my youngest daughter that I don’t know how to tell her without sounding sappy or condescending…. so I write.
This daughter of mine is without a doubt the strongest, most resilient, independent young woman I know. She has battled many demons in her 30 years — eating disorders, assault, being the “youngest” child, high risk pregnancies….loss and betrayal. And yet, she rises. She falls and gets back up. And shows very little the worse for wear. Her strength and resolve, her joy and love, are astounding. And something to be in awe of.
And I am. continuously.
Love you punk. to the moon and back.
I work for an organization that provides workshops for young women in middle and high school. My staff delivers programs based on issues that affect today’s youth: self esteem, college and career preparation, diversity…the list goes on and on.
We cover the state. A small state, admittedly, but we reach girls in all three counties. I don’t do direct service — my staff does that. I don’t get to spend much time in the classrooms or auditoriums where they do their magic, but every now and then an opportunity arises where I get to slip in, watch and maybe comment a bit.
Today I left the house while it was still dark to travel the full length of the state to meet my newest employee as she presented a workshop to a group of 12 young ladies. It was impressive. They were involved, silly, pensive, soaking in every word that she said. Three quarters of the way through the staff person at the site showed me her cell phone. The words “bomb threat” jumped out at me.
Now I’m what you might call a “seasoned” professional. Retired almost 3 years ago after 25 years of teaching in the public school sector. I’ve seen my fair share of bomb threats. Seen dogs sniffing through lockers. Led kids to the auditorium, or the stadium or to whatever place we had previously determined would be the most “safe” in case the unthinkable happened. Today was different. I wasn’t staff. And instead of being pushed into action, I was escorted, along with my employee, out of the building to my car. They were concerned about our safety when all I wanted to do was get in there and keep those kids calm. It was unsettling for someone who has told kids over and over “they’d have to get through me to get to you”. But it wasn’t my gig, my school, my class. So I sat in my car for a minute and watched the line of kids, maybe 4 abreast, marching quietly out of their school, onto the sidewalk and then onto the median — down the road, away from where there might be danger. I counted 7 police cars at the entrances to the building.
And as I watched I felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow. Not dread. I was as sure as I can be that there was no one going to do these kids harm, this day, but sorrow. I hate that they have to endure this. I hate that they know how to do this, to line up and walk across the street to who knows where. When I was in school we sat under our desks with our heads between our knees in case “they” dropped the bomb on our school. Not likely. When my kids, now in their thirties, had bomb scares they drove to dunkin donuts, played frisbee or softball in the parking lot. Today, kids march, quietly, across the street. Cell phones in hand, calling their moms. Worried that this might be the day that they face danger. And with the world the way it is, they have cause to worry.
There was no bomb. There were calls to, last I heard, 5 schools in our state today, 7 yesterday. Sorrow. Just sorrow.
you wake up early and the day is yours. Anticipating a peaceful morning, a productive afternoon and a romantic dinner — a celebration.
and then it all hits the fan and nothing goes the way you expected. i hate days like this. And the knowledge that there will be more of them.
It may be time for a change or two.
Its been crickets in my head this holiday season. Usually prolific and ready to drip words all over the page — I found myself pensive, quiet, and dare I say, introspective….
It was a wonderful 2 weeks. Grandchildren and children, warm weather and thoughtful gifts. Easy conversations and good food ….
punctuated, of course by bricks to the head. jobs and relationships, fear and anger, bit into our joy, but were, thankfully, beat down by the penchant this family has to love each other, and forgive each other , laugh together.
And, for some reason, at the end of the day, I didnt feel the need to wax poetic on wordpress.
Ah well. such is life. at any rate, my wishes are for all to have a healthy, peaceful New Year.
We have seven grandchildren. spread amongst 3 families — our two daughters and one son have been busy the past 7 years.
We plan a lot of family things. Pumpkin patch, visits to the tree farm, outside barbecues. Lots of noise and silliness, inevitable tears and frequent boo boos. Its work, but worth it, important to us that they grow up close, loving for and taking care of each other . Understanding that they are linked. forever.
And then there are days like today, when youngest daughter drops her two boys off so she and her husband can finish up their Christmas shopping. Her oldest Jax came in carrying a bag of marshmallows –and shortly after they left he and I went into the kitchen and made hot chocolate for him, his poppop and me. Little brother Ryder was asleep on the couch, so the three of us got to have a precious moment. Watching him sit there at the table, surrounded by Christmas decorations and homemade cookies, sipping his hot chocolate through the special candy cane decorated straws I bought for moments just like this — well, thats just probably one of the best things that will happen this season. unplanned, uncluttered and special, just for us.
I had a really rough day at work last Friday. for many reasons — coworkers, staff, deadlines and expectations all whirled together into one perfect storm that set me off my axis. Truly. i struggled with a task the whole afternoon. The. Whole. Afternoon. i felt myself obsessing, working in circles, producing nothing but chaos — I shut my door so my staff wouldnt have to endure my mood. My immediate supervisor said something like “thanks” and I imagined sarcasm, criticism, doubt.
It sucked. At the end of the day, when everyone should have been readying for a nice weekend, I called a coworker in and said, please help. I cried. Cried. the tension and self doubt bubbled over and out and there wasn’t much I could do but wallow. She was amazing. Used that voice you use when someone you care about is teetering on the edge of a breakdown. talked me down, through the problem. Sat with me for almost an hour assessing, addressing and validating.
When I finally was able to put two words together and she felt it was safe to leave me, I sat at my desk and stared at my computer for another half hour. Enveloped in self doubt and anger. Picked up my little solar turkey and threw it across the room. then, embarassed, picked up the pieces and tossed them in the trash.
when i finally got myself together enough to go home and unload on my husband, he said ‘screw em, you dont need that job or any job. Give your notice.”
Now Im not going to do that, i love this job and have no intention of leaving, but hearing those words made such a difference —
And then I was able to keep the demons at bay long enough to enjoy Halloween and spend time with the kids and my sewing machine…but that feeling of incompetence brought back memories that have laid dormant for years — i didnt like it. I have to work to make sure i dont let myself go there again.
Old habits die hard.
The term “self-care” has been a buzzword in my life lately. The doctor, my trainer, friends…everyone seems to be on this kick and determined to pull me in ….
So yesterday morning, after I self-cared my achy old body to the gym and completed a nice self-care filled workout, complete with squats, viper work and rope play….
I put up a Christmas tree. First of the season — okay, I know its not OFFICIALLY the season, but it’s two months from Christmas Day, so I figured, what the heck. And, Christmas Decorations are my favorite things in the world, so I feel like yesterday was a win.
it happened again. Kids killed in school. In a community college. in the center of a little piece of America where people are just trying to do better. And the news covered it — for a minute. And the President pleaded with America to fix things — for a minute. And I shook my head and lowered my eyes in prayer — for a minute.
And today it may happen again. Or tomorrow. How do we continue to send our children off to school with this happening. How do we do nothing.