Journal of a wife, mom, and first grade teacher

The Challenge

The challenge has come to an end.  I must say it was daunting at times; deciding what to write, what to share. Will fellow writers embrace me or will they chalk it up to another first grade teacher looking for something more than sight words and shapes recognition?.  Will I be seen as a forgetful mother who sometimes can’y keep it all together?  I can’t remember the last time I have felt so vulnerable.  

I am so grateful to you all.  You have taken me in and warmed me with your comments.  I have been validated in my writing and feelings.  Isn’t this our human nature?  We all just want to be heard, listened to and told we are okay.  I realize this writing bunch has asked of me what I ask my students.  Take a risk, put it out there, let us all in.  

Although I haven’t met the challenge in that I missed a few days,  I met my personal challenge.  Thank you for inviting me into your lives.



Big Day

Today is a big day in my family.  Today is one of those days I call my father and brother across the country.   I ask how they are and remind them to keep busy.  Don’t lie around and think.  Just do so you don’t have to remember.  I have spent the week moping around my house.   I managed to venture out once or twice with the boys, but just couldn’t bring myself to leave the pity chair.  Oh how I wish spring break had been another week.  I would much rather prefer to be working this week especially today.

This day, six years ago, I held her hand.  I whispered into her ear, “It’s OK mommy, you can go now.  Your sister and daddy are waiting for you.  We’ll be alright.  We will take care of each other.  It’s OK mommy,, you’ve fought long enough.  I love you.”  I held her hand and let her go.

Today is a big day.  One I wish had never happened.  A history I wish I could rewrite.  


You Were Born

You were born in the early evening on March 2nd.  I was excited that you were to share a birthday with the famous Dr. Seuss.  This was a sign to me of your brilliance.  Our first glimpse of each other was a joyful meeting.  I, the one who had been eagerly awaiting your arrival for almost nine months, feeling your every move, sharing your every emotion.  Five pounds ten ounces of you!  How glorious it was to finally meet you.  You wedged your little body under my arm as if you had always been there, a permanent resting place made just for you.  I cried.  Your daddy held you.  I watched him gaze into your beautiful eyes and you back.  “Hello Daddy” you said.  “So nice to finally meet you.”  You and I were already old friends, but daddy was new.  He was yours at first meeting.

My beautiful first born.  My son.  What will you be like when you are one?  5?  10? 16? 21?  Will you always let me hug and kiss you?  Will you like school?  Will you have friends?  Will you always love me?

There is so much I want for you.  So much I promise you. 

Dear God, thank you for this gift.  Thank you for my sweet baby.  I promise to love him and raise him in your light.

Dear Nolan, thank you for choosing me as your mommy.  Thank you for your gift of love.  I promise to love and cherish you always and forever.

Spring Break Day 1

Last night I came home and thought, “Ahhh….no bags to pack for tomorrow, no laundry that has to be ready, no outfits to pick out.  Day one of Spring Break.  What will we do?  Where will we go?  Maybe to the Children’s Museum, maybe the Shedd, maybe a shopping trip to the mall.  Oh my choices are endless!

I fell asleep in the recliner last night with dreams of spring break excursions dancing in my head. 

2:30am: Awake from my slumber in the cushy recliner thinking, “It’s OK to watch a movie, I don’t have to work tomorrow!”

3:30am  I think I fell asleep.

7:30am  Wake up to find my three year old lying next to me. ” What is he dreaming?  Could it be of the excitement of the day to come?”  He looks so darn cute in his little teddy bear pajamas.

8:00am  Get the 18 month old who is awake.  Change and dress him.  The Physical Therapist will be here at 8:30.  So serve up a bowl full of cheerios and a banana.  Yummy!  “Eat up little guy!  We have a big day!”

8:30am  Three year old gets up.  Serve up a sippy of milk and pull up some Mickey Mouse Club on the tele.  Need a diversion for when the therapist is here.

8:45am Physical therapy ensues.  “Please excuse my pajamas.  I haven’t had a chance to change yet.”

10:00am Three year old is hungry.  Change him…”keep my jammies on mommy.”

11:00am 18 month goes down for a nap.  Three year old wants to play a game.  Switch some loads of laundry.  “I’ll shower and change when we are finished.  Then we will begin our spring break adventure.  Where should we go?”

11:30am  18 month old awakens.  Wants to nap in my arms in the recliner. ” Oh, my little baby.  You miss mommy during the day, don’t you?”  Three year old demands “On Demand”.  The movie “Frozen” is ordered and three year old wants a picnic in mommy’s bed of string cheese and pretzels.  “Do you want to change out of your jammies?”

12:30pm  18 month old wakes up.  Serve up some reheated pizza and strawberries.  Make some much needed telephone calls, catch up on emails.  Fold laundry and put away.  Now is a good time to pull out boys clothes that are too small.

1:00pm Eat some pizza.  I’ll shower and change when the laundry is finished.  I need to go to the grocery store.

2:00pm  Husband has a flat tire.  Oh No!  He will get it fixed and be home around 4pm.  I will go to the grocery store when he gets home.  It is too hard with both boys in the store.

2:30pm Look some dresses up online for upcoming gala.  Enter in monopoly codes at  Watch boys play with each other.  “They are so sweet together.”

2:45pm Pull three year old off of his brother.  “No, you cannot put a blanket over his head and jump on his back!  Time out!”

3:00pm  Eat a piece of awesome caramel cake.  I love Spring Break!

4:00pm  Daddy is home!  I’ll get dressed and go to the grocery store after you all eat dinner.

OK, tomorrow our adventures begin!  I hope.

The Girls

I am so lucky.  I have two besties.  I mean really besties.  I have known both of them since we were in the third grade.  Vivienne and Suzy…Crazy enough, I met Suzy through her mother.  We were all new in the neighborhood as it was a new development back in 1978.  I was riding my bike down the street and saw this nice lady in front of her new house.  Being the shy individual I am, I rode up to her to welcome her to the neighborhood.  She was so very nice and told me all about her daughter Suzy (who wasn’t home at the time).  After speaking with her more we figured out that Suzy and I would both be starting third grade at the same school in the fall!  I was so excited!

Fast forward to August, or maybe it was September because I can swear we never started school before Labor Day when I was a kid…oops, I digress.  Anyhoo, there I am, at the back of the classroom (what teacher in their right mind would put me at the back) and I see Suzy’s mom at the front.  She tells this beautiful little girl with gorgeous long curly blond hair (complete opposite of me) to turn around and wave.  Those gorgeous blue eyes turned and she looked terrified!  Well it was definitely my job to introduce her to the third grade class that only I had just entranced upon as well. We then became best friends.  Although there was a punch to the stomach incident, but that is a completely different story.

Then there is Vivienne.  She was new to our neighborhood, heck she was new to our country!  She came straight from the Philippines and new little English.  Suzy and I took it upon ourselves to teach and explain English to her because of course, we were experts!  Vivienne moved in on the same street in between Suzy and I.  Vivienne was always up at the crack of dawn, ringing the doorbell, asking my mother “Can Michele come out and play?”  Needless to say, my mother was not always amused to be answering our front door at 8am on a Saturday, but nobody could resist Vivienne’s sweet nature.

Vivienne has since moved to St. Paul where she is now married with two boys (Sound familiar?) and Suzy lives close by with her son and daughter.  We don’t get to see each other very often as family and work tend to take precedents.  I love these two women as my sisters.  They were there when my mother passed, crying along side me as if they had just lost their own.  Sickness and health, boyfriends and marriage, kids and so much more.

I am blessed with a few other wonderful friends that I have met on my path, Michelle, Karen…all taking such good care of me and my family.  What would I do without my girls?

The family and I are headed over to Suzy’s today for some much needed talk, food and her husband’s famous homemade wine.  Vivienne should be coming to town soon.  The rest of my saintly ladies know who you are…To my girls, I know we don’t see each other as often as we would like but please know I love you and cherish you as my sisters.

Wrecking Ball

My glorious colleagues!  Always there for each other, always there for the kids.

Today takes the cake or should I say donut?!

Two words: Wrecking Ball or should I say Workout Ball?!

You were fabulous!  The kids loved you, I loved you!  Those short shorts and box of donuts were out of control.  I would follow you into fire to watch and listen to you.  You were there for me as a friend and mentor seven years ago.  You were there for me when I was emotionally drained with two small kids at home and zero sick days left.  You give and give and give.  What can I do for you?

You are at school later than any other, diligently working on the next day, week, (knowing you…probably year).  I miss you across the hall waiting for me to step out to take a breath from the latest student crisis.  Please know I am here for you.  I think of you often even though we are on different teams.

Crab soup, donuts, beverages not available in school, screaming kids eating erasers, brushing (you know what I am talking about), first grade fun.

Keep it real, you are gold!

Bangers and Mash and Other Excuses

Dear Fellow Slicers,

I know the challenge has been to slice every day, however I have failed you.  Some may have noticed I have been “off line” these past few days.  I have no excuse but to say I have several excuses.

1. I am tired.  I know…everyone is!  I get it!  Why can I use it as an excuse?  I shouldn’t, but I am.

2. My two boys seem to take up most of my free time.  I know…I’m not the only slicer with kids!  I get it!  Why can I use it as an excuse?  I shouldn’t, but I am.

3. The past weekend and Monday are considered major holidays in our house.  I was busy cooking bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, shepard’s pie, drinking green stuff and listening to music of days long gone.  I know…many people celebrate the high holiday in their household!  I get it!  Why can I use it as an excuse?  I shouldn’t, but I am.

4.  I need to grade papers.  I have a pile on my coffee table, a pile on my desk at school, and a pile in my school bag.  I know…everyone does!  I get it!  Why can I use it as an excuse?  I shouldn’t, but I am.

Please forgive me my dear friends.  I truly hope to make it up to you.  I so appreciate your tenacity and determination to meet the Slice of Life Challenge.  I am honored that you have allowed me into your lives.  You have shared your intimate thoughts, hopes, dreams, and jokes with me.  I ask you accept my weakness and continue to “slice on” with me.