Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Desire to Bolt

I'm a few chapters into Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth and already have  been faced with some revelations.  Although, I have a clear definition of who God is and how to know God personally and don't agree whole-heartedly with her expansive definition (after all, Jesus did say that no one comes to God except through Jesus, himself: John 14:6), she has made some good points about relationships.  I know some of you may not agree with that, but I stand by it. So, I guess we can agree to disagree, but I do hope and pray that one day you will embrace this.  Because of my life experiences, I know this to be true, but now I'm getting off topic.
Many of you know that I have had a particularly strained relationship with my mom, who at one time was my best friend.  We stopped communicating around December due to a very heated argument, which had been building up  for a long time.  My mom and I don't see eye to eye on many things anymore; the hard part about children becoming adults is that the parents have to let go.  But I guess I expected my mom to always support and be proud of me, no matter what.  In fact, I expected her, more than anyone else, to go above and beyond for me when I needed her, especially now as grandmother, but that has not happened, and I've been hurt by her lack of involvement among other things.  There are two sides to every story, and I know my mom has her side, so don't be quick to judge anyone.  But all in all, I imagined that when I grew up, my mom would always want to be there, and the fact is that she simply doesn't, and she has her reasons, which I know are valid in some cases.
Here's the deal, I have a habit of bolting from relationships that are too tough.  I have done it to many people, friends and family.  In my mind, I have never wanted my presence in someone's life to be a burden and a source of pain, so I figured that if I removed myself then I would be removing their pain and frustration.  I'm starting to rethink this.
As a teenager, I experienced the pain of an eating disorder.  It was retched, and I would never wish it upon anyone in my life.  Some people drink and do drugs, and some people obsess over food or a lack of it.  All in all, it's a symptom of something beyond the food and drugs, some pain that I didn't or couldn't deal with at the time; something that I was trying to bolt from.  I must say that to this day, I hate being weighed.  It brings back bad memories as a dancer, especially.  In a turn of events, I had to go to the doctor for the plantar fasciitis that I've been experiencing, and lo and behold, I had to get on the scale.  I weighed much more than I expected, and considering that I've been working out everyday for the past month, truly got to me.  Fortunately, I'm wise enough to not go back to those external behaviors of my old eating disorder, but in my mind, I was sad and frustrated.
I decided to pick this book up because I heard about it on Oprah, and it related to things I've experienced.  I don't agree with her spirituality, but I thought it would be worth a shot.  I thought I would pick up some quick tips about accepting my 35 year old body as it is, but I'm discovering much more.
Perhaps my pain over the freaking scale is due to my desire to bolt from my relationship with my mom.  Obsessing over my body when seeing that number could be a way to avoid the huge rift in my life, in which I participated in.
So, now I'm up to the part where I need to face these feelings and as Geneen Roth says, to give myself a chance to discover and become the person that I can be by dealing with the root of the matter rather than bolting from it and not trusting that I can do this (paraphrased, of course).
Good Lord, that's a lot to wrestle with, but she has a point.  I have not given myself a chance to be the person that I could become by seeing this relationship through.  To get right down to it, that's what Christ did for us.  He accepts us as we are and sees us through it all in order for us to transform into the people we can be, so He can use us to do His holy work.  And now, here it is being applied to my own life, and I missed the boat.  Maybe I can swim and catch up to it.

Well, I guess I have some work to do and a scary road to face with my mom.  I'm scared, I'm not gonna lie.  I'm scared that I could be hurt again, scared that I'm not gonna know what to do when I'm disappointed, etc...  The reality is that I have to face the situation rather than bolt from it.  It sucks, but I'm gonna do it.  I'm grateful for that stupid scale moment because I do think that it forced me to look in another direction: to God, to truth.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Week 2: Day 5

   I have been praying last night and this morning for my daughter, Alex.  I love her so much, and although at times, she frustrates me to no end, she is my baby.  She is a total combination of my husband and I.  She has her daddy's gifts of looking ahead and organizing things and being her own social director (just call her Julie from the Love Boat), and wanting to play with her friends 24/7.  On the other hand, she and I share a deep sensitivity for what's really going on in a situation (she feels the "layers"), a strong intuition, and a strong sense of justice and fairness.  Putting all of these things together, Steve and I have a beautiful little girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, loves people, and wants everyone to play fairly and nicely.  We love her so much for that.
The challenge with this has come twofold:  she's learned over the past few years that sometimes you have to negotiate with friends in order to feel like everyone feels good about playing (i.e., you can't always get what you want; a part of the only child syndrome, which she has learned well) and that you can't take justice into your own hands when you feel and see what's really going on.  This is something I still wrestle with, and I'm 35, not seven.
So, here's the deal: seven year old mean girls suck.  There's a little girl that Alex sees around the neighborhood from time to time, and to be honest, she seems to straight up not like Alex.  Although that's stupid right there, I know that some kids just don't have chemistry, and I can handle that.  Unfortunately, this little girl has learned to whisper secrets about my child in front of my child (I've seen it happen).  She has also flat out told Alex that she won't play with her.  What the heck?  Did my kid fart in her face or something?  Yesterday, while my kiddo was down at the neighborhood pool with some other friends, it unfolded again when this other little girl walked onto the premises.
I have to tell you, my kid is not stupid, and I trust her intuition.  I've seen this other kid whisper in front of her to every other little girl and turn to Alex and tell her that she can't listen.  So, my kiddo starts crying because all of her "friends" have now allowed this little one to whisper in their ears and leave Alex out.  Now my kid is labeled as the "drama queen" and the "cry baby." It's a lose-lose situation for her.
I've heard many parents say, "kids will be kids," or "you have to let kids work it out," and I don't whole heartedly agree with this.  We live in a messed up world with messed up people (very much including everyone in my family, especially me and my kid), and it's absurd to think that it's ok to let seven year olds work it out on their own.  What do we them to learn from this?  That it's ok to treat kids like crap when they feel like they want to?  To be honest, we all feel this tendency, but it takes our maturity and wisdom to not do adults.
As a teacher of adolescents, I see what happens to kids when they are not parented through these situations; they turn into mean girls.  They think they are entitled and feel no empathy for anyone else around them, and it's totally ridiculous.  But as the adults and parents in society, we allow this to happen and fester by carrying a philosophy of, "kids have to work it out on their own."  In my opinion, that's just putting your head in the sand, and I don't agree with you if you feel that way.
When my kid messes up, which happens more often than I would like, she messes up big time, for the whole world to see.  And although it sucks, because the whole world sees, at least I know her heart, and I can handle it right then and there.  I hold on to the small smidgen of hope that I know my kid isn't getting away with anything; it's out in the open.
My kid also asked Jesus in her heart a few months ago, and again it's awesome and tough because she has a strong conscience, which I know is the Holy Spirit.  When she messes up, she feels it BIG TIME.  It doesn't excuse her form getting out of consequences in our home, but she feels so bad when she does something not good, especially when it hurt someone else.  I know the blessing is that Jesus isn't letting her get away with anything.  He's really challenged Steve, Alex, and I to see things as they really are and take responsibility for guiding her through all these situations with love and discipline.  It's harder than it sounds, trust me.
My charge to you is to pay attention more than maybe you have.  I know that I was mean girl here and there throughout my childhood and adolescence, but it wasn't ok then and it's not ok now.  It's not ok to choose not to see how our kids are treating others because we don't want to get involved.  Well, I'm sorry to say, but it's your job to get involved.  Don't take the easy road, it won't get your kids anywhere except down a road of self centeredness and selfishness.
I say this with love.  I hope everyone knows that.  Sitting on the other side of the fence stinks because it's a lonely place to be, but at least I know what side I'm sitting on.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Week 2: Day 4

My guilty pleasure over the summer is to watch So You Think You Can Dance.  Those dancers are so amazing; it definitely brings me back to my glory days dancing in the city.  As much as I loved dancing, I hated the life of a dancer.  It wasn't for me.  I loved going from class to class at Steps, but I hated hated hated the auditioning process.  I just didn't fit the type, ever.  I always felt out of place, and didn't know if the choreographers wanted me to dance it my way and see my personality or their way.  It was tough.  Also, growing up without knowing if the bottom was going to drop at any moment, I couldn't handle not having any stability.  I think any starving artist gets really good at waiting tables, and Lord knows that I'm THE WORST waitress ever.  The whole lifestyle didn't suit me.  It was great while I was a teenager and didn't have to worry about bills, etc.  But as an adult, it was the most uncomfortable thing ever.  I'm glad I had the time to explore it because now I know for sure.  My dream was to be discovered immediately and not have to worry about the down time in between jobs, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way.  Most people have to pave the road for awhile, especially in between jobs.  Everything happens for a reason, that's for sure.  I was meant to have Steve, Alex, and soon TJ (by the way, we're #6 on the list!).  I was meant to be a teacher and use the gifts that I've been given in a classroom.  This I know for sure.  All in all, I love to watch this show anyway because these people are beautiful, and as any dancer knows, it's about heart.  I get this and love to watch it through they eyes of a dancer, again.
On the other hand, Alex and I slept in until 9:30 today, which we cannot make a habit.  There's much to do, and I'm behind already.  I didn't get to jazzercise, so I'll have to walk/run it off later.  Also, I have four centers to work on for compare and contrast.  I love putting all this together and pretty much creating my own curriculum with my vision for this class.  It's awesome.
On another note, I went to the doctor for my feet.  She didn't want to do the cortizone shots because they break down the fatty tissue to cushion your feet.  I agree with this.  So, she sent me to the chiropractor to do some laser therapy, which at first thought worked, but it hurt all the same about an hour later.  I don't think I'll continue down this route.  Instead, I've opted to go to the podiatrist in a week and a half to possibly get fitted for orthodics.  Also, I'm gonna start swimming laps again a few times a week to get off my feet.
I'm reading How I Live Now as recommended by Carolyn the Librarian.  It's kind of weird.  I'm not really down with the whole kissing cousins thing, and therefore I kind of want to put it down.  I'll see how it goes today.
That's all I got; peace.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Week 2: Day 3

Jeez a louise! Alex woke up in the middle night with an asthma attack; here we go again. I hope this bout will be a short one. Girlfriend is ready to get this show on the road. Keep her in your prayers.
Today I have a doctor's appointment for my feet, and I'm not dodging this one. I'm actually hoping they give me a cortisone shot.
I'm also working on a my centers for cause and effect. I'm glad I have the summer to do this because it's a lot of work. I know it will be worth it in the end.
For the past two days I've been listening to my favorite radio station: K-Love. Jars of Clay has been raising money for a cause they feel very close to: access to clean water for people in Africa. The link to their cause is They are raising money to build wells for villages in Africa. They've been informing listeners over the radio of how they've seen people dig holes in the dirt and put their head in there in order to get a drink of dirty water, and of people walking for miles to get a few gallons of water. I believe in this mission, and I encourage you to check out the link. I also learned that 1 American dollar can provide clean water for one person in Africa for an entire year. It's unbelievable the access that we have to something we take for granted everyday, me included.
They continued to talk about how people have challenged them by asking why they aren't doing something for people here in America, like New Orleans, etc. It's a valid question, and I've been asked it myself about our adoption. Like Jars of Clay, when we looked at adoption my heart was immediately drawn to the children of Africa. There was a joy and excitement that was in my heart, and I felt convicted that my baby was there. It's not everyone's calling, and I understand that, but it's mine. Just as we all have different interests and passions, it's the same in this situation.
I respect everyone's calling, wherever and whatever it is. Just follow your passion. Pray for God to lead you where you're supposed to be. Keep your heart open; you never know!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Week 2: Day 2

Thank God! Alex is feeling better. She woke this morning and ate a piece of toast and a chocolate chip waffle...a good sign. We're now sitting in front of the tv watching her new favorite show: Full House. How funny is that! I've definitely made a connection; doesn't Kimmy on Full House remind you of Sue Sylvester from Glee? Just a thought.
After dropping by school yesterday after a week, I am now ready to rumble and start working. Today I'm working on all my lesson plans for main idea; working on centers for my Response to Intervention class. I'm really looking forward to it, but it's going to take a lot of work to get it going. It will be worth it, though.
Today's day will be topped off with Jazzercise...nice.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week 2: Day 1

My poor baby has the stomach flu. What the heck? It should be against the law of nature for kids to get sick on their summer vacation. She's vomited three times and has barely had a sip of anything. So stinky!
I finished Commencement, and I'm now finishing a YA novel entitled Just Like That. Commencement finished in an awkward way; not the ending that I hoped for. I wanted more resolution and more of a statement about the relationships women make. One of the characters, Bree, said something very important that went along the lines of: if you let your mother's vision of you rule who you are, then it will; it can't have that much weight, or you'll likely to not be who you are meant to be. Very true.
Today I sat on an interview committee for the temporary position we have in the English Department. We interviewed three candidates who have worked with us for the past year on temporary contracts, and now they're all competing for one. They are three candidates with unique gifts as educators, and it's really hard to imagine that we will lose two of them. This cut throat atmosphere is a strong reminder of how hard it was to get a teaching job when I got out of college... there just weren't jobs available for all of us young whipper snappers. That's what brought me to Orlando; a job. I couldn't imagine not teaching once I got started, and I wasn't gonna wait around for a few years in New York.
Anyway, when Steve gets home, I'm off to Jazzercise to take a break from Alex's stomach flu. I hope she gets better real soon!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 3 of Summer Vacation

On the agenda:
1. Jazzercise: Alex is coming with me this morning; she's already dressed in her dance outfit for her mini "recital." I'm praying my feet don't kill me during class this morning.
2. Lunch: I am going full on vegan starting today. What's really pathetic is that I realized that I could do it when I discovered that my favorite coffee cream is actually non dairy.
3. I would love to finish readingCommencement (Vintage Contemporaries). It's so good and really reminds me of my relationship with my mom.
I'm not sure how I feel about how the girls hold one another to this crazy standard without giving one another room to breathe and find their identities outside of one another. My mom and I are struggling with this right now. Apparently, I'm a little disappointing to her. I see this happening with these girls as well; it's eerie. I think it's important to allow people to discover new dreams and live out their ideals through the breath of each day. Each moment and each choice is a part of all this coming together. One must allow people to weave and paint their picture in their own style.
God knows what this canvas looks like from a far. He has the perspective, and it's not for others to assume that they know what this big picture looks like, because honestly, they don't have the power to know how it will all turn out... and that's all I have to say about that. We'll see in the end what the author's perspective is on this.
4. Swim practice for Alex.
5. On a side note, there are a few kids who were caught cheating in my school district and now it's all over the media. I am praying that these parents are not making excuses for their kids just so they don't have to suffer the consequences. If as teachers we don't stand up for what's right, then who will. It annoys me to see bitter parents who make excuses for their kids. This is the downfall of society, parents who pass along the idea of entitlement to their children. It's time to get over it and face the music and dance.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 2

Day Two of summer vacation consisted of p squared: play date and pool. After dance camp, Alex had her pal over, and we went to the pool...until the torrential down pour. What are you gonna do?
I am reading a great book entitled Commencement. It's about four unlikely girls who ends up rooming together at Smith College, and their lives after their commencement. I like it; it's smart and realistic of the way girls view and judge each other as they grow into womanhood. I'm interested to see how it ties together at the end.
Now, I am going to end my day with the Housewives of New York and Pizza King. I must say that this season of the Housewives of New York is stupid. Kelly Bensimon makes no freaking sense to me. I guess it's inevitable for me to be a Bethanny fan. As with many, I'm sure they feel like kindred spirits with her. Surprisingly, I have become an Alex fan as well. She's honest and caring, and that's all I can say.
Aside from that, I'm enjoying day 2.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 1 of Summer Vacation

Those of you who aren't educators, I'm sure, wonder what the heck teachers do over the summer vacation. Before I get into that, I want to uncover some common misconceptions about educators...
I don't complain about my pay as a teacher. I appreciate what I have, and I don't think twice about it. Many people say, "Well, you have two months vacation." No, actually, I don't. I get paid for the ten months I work. I don't complain about my salary either. As a matter of fact, most teachers I know do one of two things: they either get a second job over the summer, or they are constantly planning and working on their education to stay on top of their game. That is time well spent in my opinion. I don't know of people with other professions who spend their time off reading about their profession to make them better. I'm sure some do but honestly, many don't.
Also, I am grateful for the time over the summer when I can be home and catch up on home stuff and be a mom, etc...Last night, I actually stayed up until midnight. That's huge for someone like me who craves to close her eyes around 8 pm. Tonight, I actually plan on cooking dinner as well.

So, today, I woke up got my kiddo ready for her little dance camp, drank a cup of coffee, and off we went. After taking Alex to camp, I went to Jazzercise. By the way, I am battling planter fisciatis in my feet, which is no fun. It hurts like double hockey sticks. My doctor's appointment is Friday. I raced home for a quick shower and picked Alex up before lunch. We dropped old clothes off at Goodwill and made did some returns at the local mall. In an effort to get Alex into reading, we visited the public library to sign up for the summer reading program and get some books. From there, we headed home, did some summer worksheets, read, and did some chores around the house. We are now getting ready for swim practice and gonna get some dinner in our bellies.
Dinner has posed a new challenge since I've decided to become a vegetarian a few weeks ago. I honestly don't miss meat, but I'm trying not to be too much of a pain in the butt w/ my own family. I don't expect them to go there unless they want to. Tonight, it's cheese tortellini since I haven't given up cheese, yet; I'm getting there.
I have a lot to do this summer besides keep my kiddo active since she's very social and needs STRUCTURE, or she'll drive me CRAZY. As we prepare to bring home our new baby from Ethiopia, and I will sure to be out of school, I want all my plans set. I am teaching something totally new next year, and it's important to me to have all my ducks in a row.
Well, that's day one in the life of a teacher on summer vacation. Hopefully, the mystique about teachers and their summers will be clear.