On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Set Me on FIRE!

I enjoy spinning fire poi, a new past time I have picked up.  It is cathartic.  It makes an incredible sound when they are lit and spinning.  WHOOOOSH   WHOOOSH
It is mesmerizing, actually.

Of course, fire is mesmerizing so being able to wield it as an art form is spectacularly freeing. Then moving in tandem to a song that speaks my soul for me so I don't have to come up with the words on my own?  --> -->

Even better.

I'd like to tell you that my soul is as free as WG and the seagulls are in these photos.  I'd like to tell you that I was able to hang onto that happiness from last week.  I'd like to tell you that it hasn't turned into liquid rage flowing through my veins.  I'd like to tell you that I don't want any bridges to burn.  I'd like to...but I can't.
(photos taken in March during our annual It's Finally Spring! beach trip)

I'll tell you that this past weekend I had fun.  Friday night I took C~ and another exchange student from Brazil to their first drive-in movie experience.  Saturday I slept ALL DAY (seriously.  all day.  until 5:30?!?) then I picked up C~ and we had ice cream and walked with Carbon around the park.  Sunday we went to the lakehouse (kids' biofamily has an annual memorial day event) and it didn't take a whole lot of bidding to get me to jump off the top deck fully clothed.  SO MUCH FUN.  Then whipping about the lake dragging people behind body boarding and of course, the ubiquitous laughter when they wiped out.

Then home to my kids and my friend S~ telling me her horse died unexpectedly then reality.  School is out, the kids are home all summer, I have no job, my house hasn't sold and a few days of reprieve from the fun simply isn't enough to fill my cup to overflowing again.

It's too much.  It has been too much for me and I've been saying so for a long time.  Someone recently told me that I am one of God's special creations.  Oh...I really don't want to hear that.  I really just want to be plain old me and to have fun and be carefree and to have my troubles and my worries be dialed back to "normal life crud" status.  I'd like Sissy to have appropriate resources and help.  I'd like to not be alone at the end of a every day, knowing I will wake up in the morning and it will all be the same as the day before and always be me, only me, nothing but me, all.the.time. With a few rare breaks every now and then.

My sister texted me a meme: Worrying is like praying for exactly what you don't want
I made it my cellphone wallpaper.

I read an anecdote from"Outrageous Openness" by Tosha Silver.  She addresses the idea of speaking what will be.  Therefore I should be positive and try to transform my energy to be directed only on the things I want to be so those will manifest.  She suggested making a "God Box" and putting any worries I have on a paper and into the box so that whenever I worry I should declare, "it's in the box, it is already taken care of"

I listened to Ju'Light who told her listeners that what we speak will be.
Ok then.  Fine.

My House is Sold.
I am Hired for a New Teaching Job.
My New Life has Already Begun.
I am Not Alone.
I have Hope.
I have a Life Partner.
Sissy and AB have Sufficient Resources.
I Am Happy.

Except all of this sounds like rubbish and nonsense and more feel good rhetoric. Pick a religion, a paradigm, a creed, an ideology, a philosophy, all of it is feel good nonsense that we are told to recite to lift our mood and encourage us.  True, there is some scientific evidence that this alters brain chemistry by increasing seratonin levels and it shifts where the thoughts are occurring in the brain.  Does it actually make the changes happen?  NO.  There is no magic trick for that.  What wants to come will come, what wants to go will go.  Period.  And I have modified my wants and needs many, many times the past few months. 

I'm not supposed to say the negative things, apparently, so I won't tell you that I have no creative drive, that I haven't quilted in eons because I can't find the desire. I'm not supposed to say that I'm angry so i won't tell you that I would like to kick, hit, scream, punch, yell and break things.  I'm not supposed to say that I am stuck, withering, fading and disintegrating before my very eyes so I won't tell you that dried worms on hot concrete after a hard rain have more vitality than I do.  I'm not supposed to say that I am empty so I won't tell you that all the beautiful, lazy, crazy fun I had this weekend was barely a drop in my empty bucket and no where near enough to sustain me or get me over the hump.  I'm not supposed to say these worrisome, troubling thoughts that wander through my head like a mentally ill homeless person that speaks to people that aren't there so I didn't.  I haven't.  I won't.  

I think I'm supposed to be learning something?  yeah.  I have one choice phrase for the sentiment.  It's not polite.

I think I'm supposed to let Universe, Source, Creator, God take control, trust that it will be OK and let it go.  I have another choice phrase for that sentiment.  Also, not polite.

A year ago I was picking up the pieces after a brutal divorce proceeding that left me holding the bag with little recourse.  A year ago I had climbed my way out of suicidal thoughts, remodeled my bedroom and bathroom and breathed my way through a long summer alone with the kids.  A year ago I was planning on getting my degree to get certified and get out of Georgia.  A year ago...

I'm exactly where I was a year ago.  And it pisses me off.  No.  I'm where I was a year ago but with another year of battle scars to heal from.  A year later and the only thing different is my clothing size.[1]

Let it go, trust, let it be, relax, breathe, be patient, grow, change, modify, hang on, hope, have faith, it is already in motion....

These thoughts and so many others echo in my head, chasing that mentally ill homeless man in my brain.  He bats them away with vehemence and impatience because their voice interrupts the voices of the imaginary people he is listening too, the voices that tell him all the worrisome, troubling thoughts. I don't want to hear it!  I don't believe any of it.  I don't want to be some amazing person or strong or what EVER!  I don't.  I just DON'T.

I want to burn it down.  Burn it all down.  Set it on fire.  
Set ME on fire.
None of this makes any sense and I'm tired of waiting for it to change.

What do you need in this moment?  (This is what my sister asked me)
Does it even matter? Ok, for the sake of argument, and assuming that THIS time what I need will actually happen, I need my life to change.  I have done all of the steps to put it in motion and...*crickets chirping*

Yeah.  exactly.  One more lie?  One more and I will do it.  I will...


Maybe anger will go further than tears
Maybe rage will buy my freedom
Maybe fire will assuage haunting fears
Maybe ashes give me reason.
Maybe burning will light the glowing flame
That scorches the simmering pain
Maybe coals ignite the end of this game
That soothes the soul like gentle rain.
Maybe fire, maybe flame, burn it down!
Rise from ashes and be made new
Emerging in flashes of white, a gown,
Drapes my form from pain now made true.
Burn it down, Set me on fire.
(poetry is original work, copyright laws apply)

[1] but hey, if I burn it down, at least there will be less to burn.  Since last august I have lost 50 pounds. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I think I found it?

Packing up my classroom last Friday was definitely hard.  A little panicky moment there and some tears and then I went home and sobbed.  Such a huge leap of faith, this moving-but-i-don't-know-where-or-when-yet thing.  So I blogged the Bridges post, journaled (there is SO much in the private journal that will never be bloggable but that is as it should be), talked to friends and family, had a glass of wine and called it a night.

Saturday I woke up and said Ok self.  Let's do this.  I took the kids to the barn for riding and surprise!  I got to ride!  I didn't have trouble remembering my posting but my 2-point?  Eh.  Not so much.  I had so much fun!  Then off to feed Jack, my buddy.  He's a retired quarter horse and he gives the most awesome hugs.  Then home to the housework to show the house to a potential buyer, lunch at McDonald's then just me and the kids again.  I started to panic.  crap.  alone.  again.  Picked up the phone and started texting.  *cue tentative smile*  C~ was going to her first ball game.  Minor leagues.  "Can we go too?"

Then home to work in the garage and chatting on the phone with my big sister and neighbors playing in the yard and off to the baseball game, listening to One Republ!c on the way, singing along and... I think I found it?

After the 11 inning Game, our team won! 
 Nicest family photo since my birthday in October!
 Selfies with C~ and me!

Yep, that's right.  I am SMILING.

Sunday, packing, cleaning, hard work in the garage.  I just keep believing this house is going to sell and I can be on my way finally.  Lots of researching a different location, jobs, resources, exhausting!  Monday.  Busy busy busy.  No time to stop.

Tuesday?  KAPOW!  A jolt of adrenaline filled with love and amazingness.

1.  AB had to have a fasting blood analysis done to check his liver function with one of his medications.  On the drive to the lab, AB told me about a dream he had the night before.  In his dream he went down into hell, through black roots.  When he got there, he pushed the devil away.  Then he went to heaven and met my father, who has been deceased since 1986.  According to AB, my father told him to tell me that I was doing a good job raising my son.  *smile*

2.  I took him to class, still beaming and drove straight to the grade school. WG was getting an award.  The Presidential oustanding academic achievement for straight A's the entire school year.  *smile*  ok... and some tears of pride.
WG all dressed up for the ceremony.
This is a BIG deal because 90% of her clothes are boys items!

3.  Then home again to get the mail.  The letter from AB's psychiatrist arrived.  She has requested that our new puppy, Hydrocarbon, be registered as an Emotional Support Dog. This means, no matter where we move to, no landlord can deny Carbon, regardless of their personal pet policy.  Emotional Support Dogs are covered under the American Disability Act/Fair Housing.  *smile*  ok... and some jumping up and down and squeals of happiness.

4.  Then a bit of a rest and, off to graduation ceremonies.  Well, I think the pictures tell the story.

Group photo with some of the faculty and administration

(L to R)  English, Math, Science, Art

 Faculty, staff, Director
 Director, Principal, ME!  
I have worked for the Director since February 1997!!!

 G~ and Me!!!
(she's from Pennsylvania so of course, I love her!!!)

 Me, 2030 Presidential Candidate [1], English Teacher
 Smiles, Smiles, Smiles

OK... so after graduation I went home and was tearful.  It was my last commencement with my school after all.

But, there it is.  In color.  A smile.  On MY face.  After so many months, so much personal struggle, so much learning, leaning on others, trusting, crying, processing, sorting, thinking, feeling, grieving, worrying... a smile.  MY smile.

I don't have answers today.  In fact, after so much yesterday, my head isn't in the game to find answers right now.  I can't do a dang thing until the house sells anyway.

Who will buy it? *shoulder shrug*
Who will hire me?  *shoulder shrug*
Where will we move to?  *shoulder shrug*
What will our new life look like?  *shoulder shrug*

I know only ONE thing.  Moving out of this state is imperative.  AB and Sissy have new therapists (again) and once again, the care they are getting is WORSE than before.  A Nigerian immigrant with a strong accent working with a predominantly autistic client base?  Right.  How many autistic teens are going to talk to her?  AB has a hard enough time articulating as it is.  A B.A. Social Work with only two other RAD cases under her belt and NO clients with crises, she didn't know what triangulation was, and she thought Sissy would learn to shower appropriately if I bribed her with cookies.  Uh...I don't think so.  My RAD daughter is 49/50 on the RADQ.  She needs Master's level therapists on her case at the very least.  And she needs to see her psychiatrist more often than once every three months!  *shaking my head*

So, with no answers and nothing but a smile on my face at the moment (well... at this EXACT moment it's a bit of a smirk because the mosquitoes are eating me while I type this on my back porch), I will leave you with a long overdue AB story [2]

I was in the garage, packing and rearranging and gathering things for a yard sale.  AB came up to me, pacing and scratching the back of his neck (his stims.)  "Mom? Mom."

"Yes son?"

"How will it work?"  He was eyeing the growing mountain of stacked boxes.

"How does what work?"

"My stuff.  In the boxes.  How will I get it in my room?"  Then a look of panic on his face before I could answer.  "Are you going to sell it?"

"No AB, I will not sell your things.  They are in the boxes, just like we put them there.  They will stay in the boxes until we move."

"Then what?"

"What is the question you need answered?"  He often has a hard time phrasing his thoughts so I wsa unsure what he wanted to know.

"Then what happens to my things.  In the boxes?"

"Ah.  Ok.  So... we will put the boxes on the moving truck or in the van and drive them to our new house."

*interrupting*  "Where will that be again?"

"We still don't know."

"Oh.  right.  Maybe Pennsylvania."

"that's right.  so we will move the boxes to our new house."

"And then?"

"We will put them in your room."

"But is that the best way?"

"The best way for what?"

"Getting my things into my room."

"We will carry the boxes off the truck and put them into your room."

"We won't take the things out of the box and carry the things?"

"nope.  Just the boxes."

"But... is that the best way?  How will I know it is my things in the box?"

"The boxes are labeled."

"Oh yeah.  I forgot."

"So we will open the boxes in your room and take your things out and put them all away again.  It will be like we moved your whole room to another house.  Ok?"

"Ok."  Then he hugged me and walked away.

and this is how EVERY conversation with AB goes.  He paces the entire time, scratches his head or his neck and rarely makes eye contact.  If he is satisfied, I get a hug.  If he is not satisfied he will persist.  Sometimes he walks off angry.  So it is.

[1]Another Chemistry student, we had a running joke all year that he would be the president.  In fact, every student in chemistry class was assigned a role in his administration.  We did the math and figured the earliest he could run is 2030.  So keep your eyes and ears open.  This student will go far.  No lie.

[2]for Aunt J~ who has been missing the ABisms i would tell on my old blog.  xxoo to my BFF!!

Friday, May 16, 2014


Endings and Beginnings
poetry is original work of blog author copyright laws apply 
The school year draws to a close, 
My classroom packed away. 
I wish my students, books and faculty 
Hope for a bright, new day.

For learning things and making friends, 
For laughs and tears alike. 
For songs and tests and merry ways, 
To inspire soaring heights.

Since mid January, the 2.5 miles I have driven to class every day has been delayed, detoured or hindered by the widening of the bridge.  Built in 2008, the road was altered and the new bridge created because there had been so many deaths from collisions or from vehicles going over the narrow, old bridge.  In 2008, I was married, Sissy and AB were attending a grade school that was not serving their IEPs (which later necessitated a waiver to a different school), WG was only 4 and came to class with me to be babysat by students in a work/study program and I was driving through that construction daily.  Now, just six years later, the traffic has increased exponentially, rendering the new bridge obsolete and in true deja'vu fashion, I am traversing the construction zone again.

Construction has been swift.  It has been fun to watch the metamorphosis of the landscape a second time; the giant trucks in action and the colossal cranes in motion.  Some days, when it has been single lane traffic guided by flag men and pilot cars, I have opted to take the detour through the meandering subdivision roads.  Today, as I packed up and drove home from school for the last time, believing in faith that I would find the bridge I will traverse to my next job, home, state, and new life, traffic was halted again.  This time, for the installment of the enormous concrete girders for the new bridge. Two over-sized loads cautiously navigated the intersection, driving past me.  I took a moment to ponder the connection and to receive the blessing - girders are on their way, for the literal bridge and for my figurative life bridge.  There will be safe passage for all, once more.

I have traveled this road indefinitely over the years.  I have laughed, daydreamed, hollered and cried as I've driven it from home to wherever and back again.  I've cranked up the jamming tunes to sing along and I've turned off the sad ones that have made the tears fall, blinding my vision.  Our subdivision is right at the intersection so when we are outside, we can hear the traffic at all hours.  Once, when driving home, I pulled into the turning lane to catch my dog Gracie, who just happened to have escaped our yard and was running into oncoming traffic at the moment I was driving by!  A road named for our county, a bridge too narrow for the traffic, a life traveled on the rubber that meets them, it has been my connection to hopes and dreams, to laughter and pain, to home and love, to work and play, to everything.  If the bridge is getting it's girders, so will I.  

My road hasn't been easy, or fun, to travel.  The daily crying has slowed some, in part because I intentionally took all of last week to process, feel, acknowledge and allow the hurts.  Speaking to my wounded soul, I stopped fighting and let myself feel the hurt.  I concluded the week with a fire, writing all of my anger, bitterness, resentment and pain, then burning the missives.  This week I have felt some emotional relief but I know I will likely do this process a few more times.  The hurt is that deep.  I didn't know.  I didn't see it.  I just kept burying it and assumed it was inconsequential.  My soul has literally begged me to stop and feel.  So I have, I am, I will.

Last Saturday's "Freedom Fire"
I recited the following as I watched the letters burn:

I give the relationships with the people who have hurt me to Divine Order.  it's in God's hands to sort it out.  I give the last 18 years of life in Georgia to Divine Order.  It's in God's hands to sort it out.  I need not fear in letting them all go because my needs have always been met.  I send blessings of peace to all who have hurt me and over the last 18 years while I have lived in Georgia.  I receive blessings of peace for myself. I receive the inconceivable things Universe has planned for me because they are all good.

The next morning, I woke up and I was still sad.  So I wrote again...

Dear Jennie's hurting Soul:
I know it hurts you.  So much.  I know you wanted happiness and love and I agree, it sure did look and feel like that's what you were getting.  And maybe some of it really was real. But I think you have to let that go too.  It wasn't the kind you seek or need because so much pain came with it.  Real love, the kind that is safe, whole and beautiful doesn't hurt like this too.  OK?  Concentrate on the love and light you get from people that don't hurt you shortly afterward.  You will find it.  And it will be more amazing and wonderful than you can imagine.  But you can't find it if you cling to this false love.  It wasn't real.  I know you wanted it to be real.  I know it felt real.  I know.  But so much more waits for you.  It can't come if you can't release this.  So practice.  Release with your left hand, receive with your right.  I love you.  I love that you care and love this much.  I love that you are so precious and giving and kind and all of the beautiful things you strive to be every day for everyone.  Now can you do me one thing?  Be all of that wonderful goodness for yourself.  you are light, you are love, you are healed, you are whole.  The inconceivable plan is already in motion.  Let."

What I haven't shared on my blog, is that this past fall I was in a sort of relationship with a friend from my childhood.  It was fast, it was beautiful, i was so happy and we discussed so many plans.  There was hope, there was light and I thought, love.  He came to visit in November.  Then at the beginning of January, the kids and I visited him and his son.  After many months of sharing so much of our lives, all-day texting, fb msgs, phone calls, emails, skype, visits, he dialed it back to friendship immediately after my return to Georgia.  At the beginning of this whirlwind romance, I had promised that no matter what, I would be a friend because at his admission, he was worried that if we pursued something else, it would ruin our friendship, that it was what always happened with his previous romances and he didn't understand why.  Fear of losing a friendship is the reason we didn't try dating as teenagers.  But that's not the kind of person i am.  I am loyal.  I have always cherished him and his friendship, even in the times of our lives that we lost touch. 

I am still uncertain of what happened, to be honest.   I know only that he has been cruel, cold, angry and lied about many things.  I am saddest of all that we are no longer friends, that by his words, he wishes me well, "the same as he would for any random person he meets on the street."  I am heartbroken.  I have so much love and light, so many people tell me I'm so amazing but all I can hear in my head is the hurtful words, that I'm a "bastet" to him but that I should "stay out", or his text "to be blunt, you can't be on the side" which is a reference to me not being the f!ck buddy type.   To him, I'm a plague.  I think?  At the very least, a nuisance that should be made to go away at all cost because "he tried silence but that didn't work so he tried to be blunt but that didn't work either."  And to that, I am still so confused.  I thought his self-imposed silence was so he could think, process and sort his life, not so that I would take a hint and go the f!ck away.  I thought he was hurting and needed the type of friend that would stick by him.  I was trying to do that all while trying to understand and deal with my own pain of instantly going from his girlfriend that he told everything to, to being...nothing at all.  Overnight, the flirtations and kisses and hugs and poetry and kindness evaporated. In 24 hours time I was getting texts of how I was missed already as i drove 950 miles home with three children by myself to an angry "we're just friends!"

Which was quickly followed by another angry text from someone else telling me how upset I'd made him and that I should back off.  O.o

yes, I know.  I fell for another abusive relationship again.  And that is the other sad part, that I still have not learned what is healthy in love and what is dangerous.  I haven't mentioned it on my blog because I was tracking his IP address on my sitemeter.  I wanted to be sure he wasn't still reading.  In the end, it was my cousin that defended me, intercepting his email of how he no longer wanted to know what was happening in my life.  Her response was unkind but deserved.  I had endured enough heartache at his hand.  It was time he understood how unjust he had been.  That was five weeks ago.  It still hurts.  I still cry.  I had to stop playing the RPG he introduced me too because he said "if i see you on the game, I will be neutral."  Neutral?  wow.  25 years, a romance, sharing our children and our lives...and he could only muster the ability to be neutral toward me on a role playing game should we be logged in at the same time?  WOW.

The struggle has also been in recognizing how abusive my marriage was.  For all of the pain and heartache I have had, discovering that my childhood friend is no friend at all, and perhaps, that not only is my love for him unwanted, neither is ANY of anything I have to offer, in the beginning, he still offered so much more love, light and joy than my ex ever did.  OMG. OMG!  Can you imagine...  that by comparison to THIS recent deluge of pain, it was still better than the abuse of my marriage.  SHOT TO THE HEART.  Thus the intense grief and mourning.  Even as I type this, tears streaming down my face, if he emailed me today and apologized, I would forgive and accept his friendship.  That's all I really wanted in the end - was to be friends no matter what, to go through life's ups and downs together the same as I do with any of my other friends.  My ex?  well.  he can bite me.  In the end, I mailed all of the beautiful things he made and gave to me, to his sister who says she is my friend regardless of her brother's actions.  I couldn't destroy the things he made, the energy and light he put into them, but neither could I have them in my home anymore.  I cried every time I looked at them. I also sent her the necklace he gave me for graduation when we were 17.  17, when we promised that if we were both single at 40, we would get together...now the bridge is burning and I didn't light the match.

(sent this poem to a friend i met on the RPG who has stayed in touch even though I can no longer play) 
Falling Rain
poetry is original work of blog author copyright laws apply 
Pop! Snap! The droplets fall
Making music of it all.
Rain is falling from the sky
Falling, falling, me, oh my!
The sound it soothes my jagged edges;
Keeps me from the heights and ledges
So I don't fall in like kind
And leave the pain of Earth behind. 

 My new nook where I process and journal
It was my quilt corner - now packed up

Journal entry from 5/10: why do I run toward relationship with men that will hurt me when I am so loved, cherished and respected by nearly everyone else?  Why does continued abuse feel like "love" to me?  How do I break this cycle so I can be free?

So much soul searching.  So much pain.  So much loss.  

Journal entry from 5/7:  Dear Jennie's Soul, I am sorry for your suffering.  I am sorry I threw you in the trash believing that's what you were.  I'm sorry I let others treat you like trash.  I'm sorry I rejected your love and light. I'm sorry that I spat on you and told you you had no worth.  I'm sorry I didn't believe that Universe would have an inconceivable plan for me.  I'm sorry I didn't believe I was sacred or worthy of aid.  I'm sorry that I caused you to suffer.  I want to recover.  i want to receive.  I want the fullness of life and love you have been striving for all this time - the same life and love I have subconsciously squelched because i didn't believe you were worthy of it.

An example of pictures I draw when I'm too hurting to journal

I pack up a house that hasn't sold and a classroom I won't teach in again.  I take it one moment at a time.  I breathe.  I try to let go and not control (that's another big lesson for me!)  I look forward and I hold on to hope that what I need, what I want, what i dream for will come in the right time.  I try to trust (sigh...lots and lots of life lessons going on here).  I stay in touch with friends and family and reach out when I hit lows which thankfully, come fewer and farther between.  I'm always afraid that I'll be a pest and annoying when I tell friends and family ONE.MORE.TIME. that I need them, if even to rant or blow off steam because my history with abusive relationships is that eventually I will be annoying and a pain in the ass and someone that just needs to go the f!ck away already.  I push my fears away (yep.  learning learning learning)

My classroom, packed up
A bridge burned - I lit this match

There is a bridge that keeps me tethered, the kids, the new puppy, my friend's German exchange student.  

Hydrocarbon, 8 weeks old, the day we got her
 10 weeks
 HOLY COW!  14.2 lbs and growing - 14 weeks
 AB and carbon when she was 12 weeks
 AB at the barn with his favorite horse, Mia
 WG's silly face 
(i was talking on the phone with a friend and used foul language)
 WG doing her science using Mom's science book
 WG upset that she can't go swimming
 Sissy on a rock at a gas station some where in Virginia

C~ - she's going home to Berlin in a few weeks!  :(
yesterday she told me that I'm one of the most amazing people she's ever met :) 
LOVE U C~!!!
I've promised I will go visit her next year so I can see her and because I have dual citizenship in Germany

Friday, May 9, 2014

Listen for the Harmonious Song

My chemistry students threw me a surprise farewell party today.  Pizza, pecan pie, soda, and gifts! I am so blessed, loved and honored.  Did we get in any review for the exam next week?  Nah... ok.  I think we covered about ten problems from last year's exam and maybe made a joke or two about entropy, phase changes as the ice melted and some discussion of pressures of gases in the soda.  That counts.

Good thing we still have Monday for review. 

Mug - "you are a gift, you make everyday a present"

The card says, "Dear friend, in case you're wondering, I notice how much you give, never expecting something in return.  I notice that you never forget to listen or laugh or simply look on the bright side...and in case you're wondering, I notice how incredible you are - at being a cheerleader, a therapist, and still finding time to be an amazing friend to me.

gifts included:
flowers, mug, two new scarves, headbands, earrings, decorative box and starbucks
(I'm an easy person to know how to shop for.  These are all perfect!!!)
Signature in the card: "I can't express to you enough how fortunate we all have been to have you as a science teacher throughout the years. You're one of the strongest people I know without a doubt.  Nothing can make my day more than hearing your VERY loud laugh that leads to tears!  It's going to be so weird and upsetting without seeing you and your uplifting spirit.  You'll definitely be missed!!"

Selfie in my new scarf and headband

Signature: "you are amazing.  I love you."

Signature: "I love you more than anything"

Signature: "thank you Ms Jennie!  We'll miss you!"

 Didn't intend to take a grumpy full selfie
I have a sinus infection but really, I'm so happy!!!

Signature: "thanks for teaching us this year.  You are an amazing, wonderful person and dont' ever forget that!  it'll be OK" [1]

Talented artist, Nikki Ackerman drew me in the TARDIS
Signature: "best wishes to you in all future endeavors.  Good things will follow you wherever you go.  You will always be missed at ECA."

Signature: "It won't be the same without you, friend. I'll be sure to see you on our next trip to PA!"

So much love and light.  When I go about my day, doing what I do all day long, I stay in the moment, never thinking too far ahead because it overwhelms me, in particular during this journey of grief I've been on.  I never think that I am giving off so much love and light, let alone that it would be reflected back.  I only think wow, I sure do love teaching!    I love my students, I love being in the classroom, I love learning and I love science.  There are days they drive me crazy but I hope that even on those days, there are teachable moments even if it isn't about science. 

There has always been something about Chemistry class though.  I've never been able to put my finger on it.  My major was in Biology and Physical Science is like candy to my brain (really - i just love love love teaching 8th grade physical science  - god's honest truth!).  But Chemistry?  Maybe it's the age of the students, mostly juniors and seniors?  Maybe it's the content?  Maybe it's the fact that it's the last class of the day?  I don't know.  Haven't done a scientific investigation to determine which is the dependent variable in the equation but the product is always a fun class.

Of course, I've been thrown a party but I have yet to sell my house or find a job.  So far there have been no offers on the house and I have had only three interviews, two already confirming that another candidate has been selected.  All of the other resumes have been rejected.  I know I'm a good teacher.  No, I'm a GREAT teacher.  It is a strength I'm proud of.  I can't imagine doing anything different.  So I am sad that in order to move, I might have to contemplate something other than teaching.  What would I do?  *shaking head*  It's in me, in my blood, in my DNA.  Teaching is who i am and what I do.

I will miss my school.  I've taught off and on for 17 years at  ECA.  The staff has always been flexible when it comes to the issues that pop up with my kids, in particular this year because Sissy's EBD program ends at 1:30 so she spends last period in my classroom every day.  My Chemistry students have "enjoyed" having her.  LOL - at the very least, they have a true appreciation for why moving to a state where we can get better resources is vital, despite the fact that they will miss me next year - and I, them.

So... I don't know.  it remains to be seen yet.  Which, admittedly, drives me crazy.  I have no control over a house selling or another school choosing to hire me.  I can't use students as references. ;)

Every day I process a little more of my pain and sorrow.  Today I wrote on my hand a reminder to recite when the ennui creeps in (and it does, many times a day, and sometimes it overtakes me and the tears just drop like rain without warning)


I am overwhelmed once again, as my students and my school have affirmed that I am light.  I am love.  We create harmonious songs together.  Thank you.  All of you.  xxoo


[1]0K for chemistry students means absolute zero or zero Kelvin, an ongoing joke we had in class
[2] Tosha Silver - "Anyone you mesh well with has a complementary vibe.  A harmonious song is thrumming in each of your souls"

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tell me when it's safe

We wrapped up instruction in my classroom this week.  Concluded the year with lessons about reptiles, birds and mammals.  For the day of the reptile lesson, I made a mad dash into the art room and snagged a pottery turtle a student had made, painted in a lovely red and yellow checkered pattern.  I dashed upstairs to my classroom and put it on my desk in time for class to begin.  Of course, the students were curious about the turtle and I feigned ignorance, claiming that I thought it was cute, it made me happy and I just wanted to pet it.  Then halfway through the lesson they all groaned and rolled their eyes.  Nope, nothing a teacher does is arbitrary.

Personally, the turtle was a fitting symbol.  Oh how I want to dash into a turtle shell and hide!  I want to sequester myself in a hard shell house and come out only when I think it's safe to do so.  Truth, I have only myself to blame for the recent upheaval, planning to move the kids and I so far from all they have ever known, to a state that I am certain will get us more assistance for their care and therefore improve my ability to earn income to support the four of us.  OK, I also want to be out of Georgia, so it's personal.  But when I have so many doctors and therapists agreeing with me that this is a right choice, how do I not follow through?

Still, I want to turtle myself.  I'd prefer a purple shell over the red and yellow checkered one a student made.  This is one enormous leap of faith.  Sell a house, find a job, move the kids and me so far, and relocate to a different state to start fresh.  All.by.myself.  what's more, I want to be in PA but I'm having a hard time landing a job however, Syracuse, NY contacted me for the second round of interviews for the public school district.  I don't know anyone in Syracuse!  but...a job is a job...


I think I'm crazy.

Darn it, I want to go HOME! Or at least to the land of the functional humans.   And wow, I'm lonely.  Unless you've been a single parent of disabled teenagers that are ages 2 and 8 comparatively and a rambunctious 9 year old (who is functionally my oldest child), you have NO idea how lonely it can be.  Get out to mingle with adults?  Pbft.  Yeah. not happening.  I am texting and calling people all day long and on the weekends crying and practically begging them to spend time with me so I have contact with functional adult humans.  I text a morning funny to everyone and last night texted a picture of a glass of wine to toast to my friends (since they weren't with me drinking it too).  *sigh* This weekend I got lucky.  Spent time with my friend G yesterday and with S and C this evening.  That doesn't normally happen.  (thanks ladies! xxoo)

And let's talk about the crying thing, shall we?  *rolls eyes*  It can stop anytime it wants to now.  Today?  No tears.  *cue squeals of congratulations* But this past week?   Let's say, I bought two more boxes of tissues today. I know, some of you are concerned and actually, I'm very grateful for the concern.  My friend A is worried that this is more of a mood imbalance and a reader is concerned that I should consider hospital care.  *nodding head in acknowledgement*  Rest assured, I am doing a self-check daily, sometimes throughout the day, to be sure that i am safe.  I always text or call someone when I hit the low spots.  I journal, I talk it through.  I use the coping skills I used in all of those years of therapy.  I stay on my medications and herbal supplements.  I exercise, eat healthy, balanced meals and get plenty of sleep.  So what's the deal?  In my daily reading (all therapeutic or affirming volumes from various sources), I came upon this:

"Recovery requires acceptance of what you are feeling and embracing these feelings in order to heal them. Your emotions are powerful tools because they provide you with messages and signals if you know how to listen to them. They are screaming at you now to take notice, and to go within and heal yourself. That is why they are so 'loud' and have reached this level of pain, because until now you were ignoring them." ~Melanie Tonia Evans

Sadness, fear, loneliness, pain, sorrow, heartache, anxiety - all of these plague me daily.  I can't satisfy them.  They speak so loudly.  The question becomes, how do I meet these needs so they will go?  I need to find a way to speak to my broken parts and heal them once and for all.  I didn't cause these events in my life.  I can't cure them and I can't control them.  I must learn to love myself.  I must learn to trust.  I must learn to receive what is meant for me.  So, that is the deal with all the crying.  If I push it away, it will come back again and success, happiness, healing, hope and love will avert my grasp again. 

Meanwhile, Sissy is beginning a new medication as soon as the doctor completes the prior authorization to have medicaid approve it. With C's help today, we cleaned Sissy's room, removing two 30 gal trash bags of refuse from her 6x8 safe room and discovered many items she has stolen or claimed as her own from other persons or from around the house (she never wears things with pockets and I usually pat her down after we have been out.  HOW is she pocketing these things?!?)  AB has changed how he doses one of his medications and we have added a PRN because he is beginning to spend more time in fantasy than in reality (read: watching for schizophrenia). WG is still struggling with peer issues in the classroom but after an entire school year, the teachers have finally worked out a functional behavior modification plan. (seriously?  with four weeks left?!) We will likely have to rehome our chihuahua when we move.  The new puppy will become a certified emotional support dog for AB so we can keep her.  I am wrapping up another school year.  I've packed (with help) more than 25 boxes.  The house is listed with a realtor.  My inbox in inundated with job positions to apply for.  I have steam-cleaned the carpets. I'm having a yard sale on Saturday. And all the daily nuances of life still occurring in the midst of it. Then spice it up with the crying jags and that about sums it up.

My head hurts.  My body aches.  My ears ring.

Anyone want a cup of tea?  I'm going to hide in my lavender turtle shell.  Tell me when it's safe to come out.