Grieving

His absence is like dead air – empty waiting to be filled.

I go visit him at his resting home as much as I can. I can’t go alone. I take the girls, too.  They miss him dearly. They cry with me. “Mama, when will we see him again?” I do not respond. My throat hurts. My eyes water. My heart aches.  My husband comforts. We leave to go home. It is a long ride home. I look for a sign that he is ok. He sends a rainbow. I haven’t seen his sign in a while. I wonder what he’s up to.

He hasn’t been to visit me for a few weeks. I wonder what he is up to. He said once, “You are the strong one, the sensible one. They will need you.”  I told him I did not want the role. I hope he is not angry with me. Maybe he’s busy visiting the other ones. I wonder if he watching over the girls and me. Does he remember us? If so is he concerned, like I am, about baby brother? Baby brother has been absent from the family since he left. Baby brother feels responsible. He’s been told it was not his fault. It was time for him to go to another place – better place, so some say.

Big sister is stressing about her cancer diagnosis. Does he know? Can he comfort her? Maybe he’s trying and she’s not accepting of his help. She has been an emotional roller coaster. Maybe he’s busy with her and cannot visit with me now. Big sister truly needs him. My issues can wait. I wonder what he’s up to.

Mom has been thinking about him. Her calendar tells me so. It stays on the month he left. She writes the date in her journal. I think it is her way of remembering – not forgetting the day, the hour, the call. She won’t forget. Does he know this? Does he visit her? I’m sure she’s wondering what he’s up to.

I wonder often if he’s truly in a better place. Does he want to come back to us? Does he need to be comforted?

He will forever live within my heart, my mind, my soul. I will always wonder what he is up to. 

What Day Is It?

Saturdays are fun days, no work days.

Saturdays are sleep in days, no alarm clock days.

Saturdays are sweats days, no business attire days.

Saturdays are zoos days, no class field trip days.

Saturdays are family days, spending every moment with family.

Anticipation

I have been waiting all week for this day.

Each morning, I counted down the days, the hours until this day.

As the week crept to the day, my anticipation grew like a child’s anticipation at Christmas time. It has been boiling over.

One day before, I created my list of things to do on this day. The list went like this:                               (blank list).

I plan to do nothing, I mean absolutely nothing.

Tomorrow is my day to do nothing.

Yep! I am excited to say, my favorite day of the week is SAT-ER-DEY. No work, no meetings, no phone calls, no visits, no alarm clocks. Just a whole bunch of nothings.

I can’t wait until tomorrow. I will go to bed now to prepare for my day of nothings!!!

A Hard Lesson

Her black is beautiful…. I want her to be comfortable in her skin.

Her black is beautiful…I want her to be proud of her history.

Her black is beautiful….I want her to walk with her head held high, hands on her hips, confidence in her stride, and determination on her face.

Her black is beautiful….I do no want her to be ashamed when her history is taught in school. Her ancestors were strong, proud people. They contributed a lot to this land we now call home.

Her black is beautiful….I want her to know that she adds value to this thing we call life and everyone has something to offer including her.

Her black is beautiful….I want her to know that some will envy her, hate her for no reason, try to crush her dream but there are those who will uplift her, celebrate her, and love her unconditionally.

Her black is beautiful….I want her to know that Mama got her back.

This is dedicated to my oldest daughter who is starting to experience this hated word: racism. She will know how beautiful her skin is and the value of her worth.

Her black is beautiful!!!

Slicing Away

This all seems so foreign to me. This tap, tap, tap, I keep hearing.

This all seems so large to me. This thing about a small moment of my day.

This all seems so right to me. This typing my words, letting my thoughts flow.

This all seems so like…I need to get back into the groove of things. This slicing about my life.

I think my mojo has returned. This all seems so right to me!

Monday Blues

Life as a sibling is never easy. There is always someone with their empty hand stretched out ready to receive your goods. There is always one who never does anything wrong but wonders why she has so many issues with people. There is the one who is not officially diagnosed as mentally out there, somewhere in LaLa Land, but needs the diagnosis to receive the proper medication. There is the one who was given a gift and keeps crying about it. Then there’s me who has to keep them all together. These sisters of mine give me Monday Blues. 

Life as a administrator is never easy. You have to deal with students whose parents play around with their mediactions which causes them to act out. You have to deal with uncustodial parents not returning the child to the custodial parent after their assigned visit. You may have to deal with the media coming to your school if the parent fails to return the child. You have to deal with parents wishing to home school their child and want the school to provide the curriculum because they do not have time to do their research. You have to deal with divorced parents  who blame each other when their child is in crisis. Then you have to deal with situations that make you sick to you stomach and not show any emotions when you have to deal with these situations. That’s a hard task for an adminsitrator who is truly caring and wants the best for everyone. Teaching/leading gives me Monday Blues.

Life as mom is never easy. You come home to clothes placed outside of the hamper. You come home to dinner not ready but dad needs an idea to get started after his show goes off which started at 7pm. You come to an hour and half of math homework because there is a test on Wednesday and she needs to complete the study guide. You come to the question about sex education because the teacher sent home a notice explaining the students will study this in the coming weeks. You come home to permission slips to sign and no cash to place in the envelope because you never carry cash. You come home to the second child complaining about an earache and not wanting to complete her math homework. She said she needs to rest a bit. After all the fires are put out, you come home to an unmade bed because you were rushing to get your sister to her oncologist appointment and did not have time to place the covers in the position that would invite you to bed to sleep peacefully. Parenting gives me Monday Blues.

Life for me has not been easy today. I call it my Monday Blues. 

Inner Voice

While I was busy being nosy on Facebook, I came across a post that struck me:

“The WAY we talk to our CHILDREN becomes their inner voice.” By Peggy O’Mara

Surrounding this quote were statements such as:

  • You can do it!
  • You are the best!
  • You are a star.
  • That’s my champ!
  • Awesome! Good job!
  • Idiot!
  • Shut up!
  • You’re such a mess.
  • Stop bothering me!

After reading these statements, I thought about my inner voice. My parents always stressed to me the importance of an education. My dad definitely stressed that he wanted us to use our brains on the job and not out hands. So any job that required me to cook, clean, carry stuff was definitely out of the question. My mom told us, “Don’t let anyone take your joy or dream. Whatever you choose to do with your life, let it be your choice and no one else. Make sure the decisions you make are the ones you can live with.” During high school and college, my parents’ talks spoke to me often. I was going to graduate with honors. I was leaving college with a degree and a career that required me to use my brain. My parents’ talks encouraged me to excel. They believed in me which caused me to believe in myself. I do not recall my parents ever belittling us or telling us what we could not do. They wanted the best for us. They were our biggest cheerleaders, our biggest promoters. 

These statements made me think about my children, our students, our future. The words we say to them is so impactful that they can build up a child or tear a child down. If I want a child to feel that he can succeed, I have to words that encourage him to succeed. Celebrating the child’s successes is one way to encourage the child to keep trying, to keep pushing onward. The words I use with children have to be words they hear when things get sticky, messy, rough. This post reminds me to be caution of the words I speak to our students, to make sure the words I speak leave a positive message in their minds, for their inner voice. 

Parent Teacher Conferences

My daughters received their report cards earlier this week. Today was the DAY to meet with their teachers and talk about their progress or lack of progress, strengths and weaknesses.

When the notice came for me to schedule an appointment with the teachers, I had a flashback to my youth when my parents attended my conferences. Our conferences were always on a Sunday (I guess the archdiocese knew some kids were going to need a prayer or two). We attended family mass and then walked next door to the school with a prayer in my mind to meet with our teachers.

As we dressed for mass, I remember my mom calling each one of us into her room as she dressed (she was slow to dress) and asked if there was anything we needed to tell her before she met with our teacher. Of course, our answers were all the same, “No, mom. I was good.” My mom cared about our grades but she was big on DISCIPLINE. She never wanted to hear anything negative about her kids. Each morning before we exited her car, she would warn us, “That nun better not call me about your mouth.” I would pray each day that she did not call my mom. God sometimes heard my prayers, most times they fell on deaf ears.

After attending mass, and on our short walk to the school, my mom would ask again, “Is there something you need to tell me before I meet with this teacher?” The answer was no again as I looked up to the sky with a pleading face and a prayer in my heart.

My conference was always FIRST, always. The teachers had great things to say about my academics, my willingness to succeed. My mom would nod her head as she waited patiently for the ball to drop. Sometimes it did not, so my mom would have to help it drop. At the end of the conference, my mom would ask that dread question, “Is there anything else I need to know about Colandra?” She had opened Pandora’s box, she allowed negativity to enter the conference. As the floodgates opened, my mothers face went from smiling, head nodding to frowning to feet shaking. WHY?! Why did they have to express how much talking I do? I always received good grades. On paper, I made our school look geat. Plus, I always received a chocolate chip cookie each quarter from the principal because of my excellent grades. My mother did not care about grades, cookies, principal’s praises, or my willingness to help others. She just cared about my talking – my excessive talking.

I enjoyed talking in class.I guess it was a distraction to the teachers and to the learning of my peers. My mom wanted a silent child with good grades. That was it! Although, I received excellent grades and should have been rewarded for that, I was punished for talking too much.

Each one of my teachers reminded me (often) how my mother warned me to speak when spoken to. Ugh!!! I just could not do it. My mother never stopped trying to get me stop talking and I never stopped praying that God would throw me a bone.

As I enter my children’s conferences today, I asked them the same question my mother asked me. My children answered correctly. One enjoys talking. The other enjoys being a model student. So, as I entered the conferences, I smiled and nodded kindly, waiting for the ball to drop. It dropped and my child was accurate. She enjoys talking – a lot.

Although, I asked my girls the same questions asked of me before parent teacher conferences, my approach to their disruptions is a bit different. For one, I thanked them for being honest, and I ask if they could minimize the talking and save it for a time when it is appropriate. I even kept the smile on my face as I heard the news of my excessive talker. I decided to show her a little more love and understanding with the hopes I do no have to turn into my mother.

Stretch!

When I wake up in the morning, to shake the cobwebs from my head, I STRETCH.

Before and after my workouts, I STRETCH.

After sitting for a long period of time, I STRETCH.

When taking a flight to a new place, I look for a seat where I can STRETCH my legs.

I look for opportunities to STRETCH. More importantly I look for the word STRETCH in my clothes.

Stretching helps me – it helps me a lot.

The Look

It looks at me, I look at it.

My husband says stop looking at it and doing something about it.

It looks at me, I look at it.

My legs move towards it but stop abruptly.

It looks at me, I look at it.

My mind says try again tomorrow.

It looks at me, I look at it.

It powers on and says, “Welcome back, Colandra.”

It looks at me, I look at it.

I wave my flag, I give in, and now my legs are burning.

The elliptical machine WON! I won, too!!

It looks at me, I look it.

I say, “See you tomorrow.” It says, “Good job!”

It looks at me, I look it.

We are friends again.