Monday, February 28, 2011

Blank Slate

A blank slate to write our thoughts upon...but not a coherent thought in our head! I often have an inspiration for a post during the week; during a session with a student, a phone call with a distraught parent,a meeting with an angry administrator, a couch visit from a weary teacher or sometimes in the car with my Mom. My world is full of options for posting, I interact with a hundred people each week. The number of stories overwhelms me sometimes. Yet when I have the time to sit and process I cannot seem to pick out the nugget of inspiration to share with you. I admit to occasionally writing all my jumbled thoughts on the screen and editing later, attempting to create an interesting, honest version of my week. Usually this helps me see the real topic of the post, sometimes it just adds to my confusion on what to say. I love writing. I'm not good at it I know, but that is not important.
 The writing process helps organize my thoughts and I think helps me to do better work with my kiddos and others. I also write to have a record of my days and what was going on in my head at this time. The more time I spend with my mother as she falls deeper into dementia, the more afraid I become of losing myself as she has done. Yesterday she told me she thinks," I am worse than I thought I was". We had a good afternoon shopping for Courtney and Mackenzie's birthday presents. Over two hours in one store, just like old times, Mom picking up every item, looking, judging, putting it back. Over and over throughout the store from tops to pants to jeans to jackets to sweaters to dresses and shoes. She loves shopping, the crippling back pain recedes, the clouded thoughts clear when she smells a bargain. But in the car, minutes later, she asks what we bought, remembering nothing of the afternoon. This scares me and breaks my heart. But we end our day on a happy note. Laughing about how easy it is for Mom to curl up on her nest and rest. Something that never happened in her first 80 years. She spent those years in the kitchen preparing meals, doing laundry, making her home. Most of the snapshots of Mom are in the kitchen; standing; washing dishes, washing fresh vegetables, washing delicate sweaters and lace bras, preparing her special fried chicken, potato soup, beef and noodles, corn bread. Never sitting, never resting. All those years waiting for others to come in that back door and allow her to serve them, NO, making them let her serve them. No one ever left her kitchen empty handed or empty bellied. She force fed her grandkids handmade milk shakes, cookies n milk, full meals even as after-school snacks. They all know what it means to enter Grandma Helen's kitchen. All who enter take home a baggie full of something. Now whenever they go, she is in the small TV room at the back of the house, usually asleep, always on her little nest on the couch. The kitchen is dark, the stove is cold, it doesn't feel like Grandma's anymore. But she is still there, the light in her eyes is dimmer, but still there, she still speaks of all those days, not remembering our shopping, but reliving the first 80 years.
ISTEP begins tomorrow, so I am spending today at home resting up. I test our 504 kids and That becomes an intense morning. All of them become distracted so easily and it requires awhile to settle everyone. We allow them all the time they need and some days it might be 3 hours. Ofcourse, some days it is 3 minutes and they all are finished! I enjoy working so closely with a few students at a time and most of them try so hard to do their best. This type of testing places to much sress on kids. They cannot be judged for one test on one day. There must be a better way. Trusting good teachers' judgements might be a start. These next few weeks will be an interesting time in Indiana education. Someone let the fox in the henhouse in Indy.
I've spent several hours looking a summer rentals for the family. We have such a wonderful time each year, but finding just the right home for all our needs and interests can take a little work. Have to have a private pool for the teens and little guys, need lots of open space for everyone, I need at least a view of the ocean, good restaurants within 30 minutes, a terrific grocery close by, big equiped kitchen for Nina and me, bicycles for Shay and Maddie...the list goes on and on. And amazingly, we find a perfect one each year! Cannot wait to celebrate Cabe's birthday at the beach again. He believe's the trip is an extended celebration for him! Love that little Pretty Boy, can't believe he will be 8 this summer. And my Sweetie Gavin is 6 already. My babies are growing way too fast. 
Stephen King has been sick for 3 weeks, but he is on the mend today. He has plans for the next several days just to catch up on his activities. He loves retirement and does not handle illness at all. I am thrilled to see him up and out again. One body lying around the house is enough. He makes a great care iver, but a terrible patient.
I'll post this now, I've managed to fill the blank slate once again, Ladies. Hugs and kisses to Alison for organizing the Spring Gagglefest in April. Take care. Love


Courtney said...

Thank you Mom for the beautiful description of Grandma's house...then and now. I didn't have the words. Love you

Alison said...

Spring Gagglefest can't get here soon enough. ISTEP is such a trying time for us all and add to that sectional week, and it's a disaster. I just broke the news to the boys they can't go to the sectional game tomorrow night, as our tip isn't until 8:30. Why on earth would they schedule it that late? We've had that late of a tip, especially during a testing week! Poor Jordan is devistated. He's not missed one of his dad's games since kindergarten. He's very proud of that. I can't in good faith let him stay out until 11 the night before ISTEP, even if it is just Social Studies. Please tell me if I'm way off base here. I'm feeling pretty guilty. :(

Hedy, I love that you are able to put things in to words so well. Your descriptions are wonderful. I can smell the wonderful smells and see Grandma cooking in the kitchen. Makes me think of all of the fun times had with my grandmothers. What special memories it brings up. Whoever told you that you aren't a good writer was wrong!!!

Love you all. Hope everyone is recouperating/staying well. Thinking of you all often. XOXO

Janelle said...

Hey girls! I am getting very excited about our spring gagglefest. I am definitely looking forward to a day or two away with some of my favorite people. :)

I am finally turning a corner and starting to feel so much better. I think somebody should have warned me before this whole surgery just how major it was....I really thought "give me a week and I'll be back to my normal self." Wow, was I wrong. BUT, with that said I have so much to be thankful for and I have reflected on that daily. God is good. I go back to the doctor on Monday and find out then when he will release me to go back to work. Hopefully, he will let me go back right after spring break if not earlier.

Thanks for all the prayers....looking forward to seeing you all very soon!