Growing up

I am no longer a spring chicken.

I can no longer stay awake all night and go to work the next day.

I can no longer keep my eyes open past 10 pm.

I can no longer plan a weekend full of events and expect my body to attend each one. 

I can no longer do many of the things I used to do. Well, that’s what my body says to me. 

I am embracing my forties and looking forward to what the fifties will offer me.

I can juggle a career while raising a family.

I can attend my kids’ sports activities and mingle with the carpool moms.

I can fall asleep alongside my girls while listening to them read to me. 

I can do many “mom” things now that I am older and wiser. 

I can do all these things because I am a grown up and my mind can make my body do things it has to do.

He Remembered!

20 years in education – that’s half my life.

20 years in making a difference in children’s lives – I have loved  and educated many!

20 years hearing Hey, Ms. Elbert! Hey Mrs. Hamilton – I have met many students.

20 years of making sure I have left some type of footprint in the hearts and minds of students – today rang true.

As I was pumping gas, I heard, “Is that you, Mrs. Hamilton? Yes, that is you!” A former student had recognized me. This was a student I actually taught who remembered I was Ms. Elbert when I was his teacher. He rememebered I taught him math. He remembered I was also his Dean and Assistant Principal before he graduated in 2004. He remembered me.

Before I could identify where the voice was coming from, he ran over to me and gave me a bear hug. He said his name and that he was happy to see me. He asked about Mrs. Deneka, his sixth grade teacher and Ms. Amraen, his principal. He wanted to know how we were doing and asked about my family. He was full of questions, happiness, and hugs.

We chatted for several minutes, I told him I had to get going. But before I left he said, “Thank you, Mrs. Hamilton. Thank you! You, Mrs. Deneka and Ms. Amraen never gave up on me. I still remember you teaching me math and telling me you will be someone. You and Ms. Amraen helped me passed my constitution test so I could graduate. Mrs. Deneka used to tutor me after school.” Wow!!! I could not believe he remembered all of that. He remembered how three people made a difference in life. It is now 2017 and he remembered all these things. Amazing!!!!! Before he darted back to his car, he informed me that he had written a paper about us. He said he kept it and would look for it and bring it to the school. As he reentered his car, he said, “Congratulations, Mrs. Hamilton, I hear you are doing big things.”

I will never, ever forget this young man. He spent many hours in my office when I was dean and assistant principal. His mother and I became very close, almost friends. Her number was memorized in my head even after he graduated. He help me started my club, Project Graduation. He was going to graduate, even if I had to become his teacher. He was going to earn at least one diploma. He was going to become a productive citizen.

This young man has reminded me how important my role is in the lives of the students who work through our doors. He showed me that they do listen. He reminded me that the words we speak are powerful and can leave a mark on our students. He reminded me of the reason I wanted to enter education – to impact the lives of all students who cross my path.

POP! (A Little Silly Humor)

Moments and memories of my day are so vast that I am having a difficult time grabbing just one of them. As these ideas swirl through my head, I try to grasp one. I have luck but I don’t like the idea so I throw it back into the mix. I try again to grab another one. Once again I grasped another idea. I was hoping it was a good one. NOPE! It was the same idea as the previous one. I try my luck again. Once again I grabbed the same idea. So here it goes:

The email stated to remember to attend the Friday night event at X’s school. Afterwards the volunteers will meet to enjoy in adult conversations as well as adult beverages. Well, I thought I read the words adult beverages. What I really read was the word POP!

It does not take much for me to give up a Friday night to spend with kids because I spend my Friday nights with my own kids. So a break from home, the girls and the boy (husband) is welcome treat to me. Of course adding in a little extra something for me to give up my Friday night is also a welcome treat to me. But this idea to give up my Friday night for a POP, I am not sure if I want to do that.

I love this person like a sister but this idea of rewarding me with a can of POP has not been a easy pill to swallow.  I hope once SHE reads this slice, that has been on my mind all day, she will change her mind and consider an adult beverage for me for my time. 

(This is just a little silly humor needed for my exhausting day.)

Live, Laugh, Love

Now that I am a mother, I know for certain I look at things differently, especially children. I often look at my girls and notice the similarities and differences within them. I look for mannerisms that I feel would help them become successful women in society.  I will continue to fine-tune these qualities. I look for traits that would cause the most patient man to leave them. I hope to break those habits.  More importantly, I look at them with the deepest love that only a mother would understand/give. 

In my 20 years in education, I have seen and heard many things. I want to protect my girls from this world we call reality. I do not want them to know hunger, loneliness, poverty, or racism. I want them to know that this world has many individuals who care about the person they are, the person I have helped mold to become successful, productive, full of empathy for mankind. I want them to know they can accomplish any dream, that the sky should not be their limit. I want them to have the same passion I have for helping others and yearning to learn more because reading is the one of the keys for a better life. I want them to have my problem-solving skills so they know how to overcome any obstacles thrown at them. They will learn there will be many, unfortunately. 

There are many things, I want for my girls. I will continue to instill in them the same values that my parents instilled in me to make me the person I am. More importantly, I want my girls just be to be kids for as long as they possible can. I want my girls to live the fullest life possible, laugh often especially with each other, and to love unconditionally. 

Live, Laugh, Love – these are my wants and needs for my girls. 

What’s the Fuss?

The last week of February, emails went back and forth about the March challenge. The principal sent subtle messages in her weekly bulletin about joining and attending an upcoming meeting. Then the literacy coaches held a meeting and served FOOD to encourage teachers to join the challenge. 

As February quickly slipped away from 2017, I realized that March 1st was here. I knew it was March 1st because my mailbox  (emails) started dinging at 12:01 eastern standard time. I tried to resist the urge to check my email but the sound was tempting. I slowly grabbed my phone and sure enough the overachievers had posted their SLICE to the March challenge. HUNGRY for knowledge and anxious to learn about my fellow slicers, I began thinking about what I would SLICE. 

Then I thought – what is the the fuss about writing for 31 days. For 31 days, a SLICE of my life would be shared with people – some I do not even know. For 31 days, I would allow myself to write about things that have left a permanent mark in my mind, in my heart. For 31 days, I get to try some writing craft. For 31 days, I will learn about my colleagues and be inspired to write for 31 days with them. 

So I guess the fuss is I am stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things, new craft. The fuss is my mailbox will be filled with teachers, administrators stepping out of their comfort zones and sending ME a piece of their life for 31 days. The fuss is March is here and I am writing for 31 days for a challenge called A Slice of Life. 

Surprise 1 and Surprise 2

2005 was a rough year. We tried everything. I do mean everything. When I thought I tried every avenue possible, I was told I was expecting. I had waited for 8 months to hear those words and  I remembered the day as if it were yesterday. I had the doctor to repeat those words. I wanted to hear her correctly. I was thrilled beyond belief.

May 6, 2006 was my surprise of a lifetime. The doctor announced that I delivered a baby girl. I always wanted a girl. I have a small image of myself. Someone to model into a fine young lady, someone to look up to me and say “I want to be like you, Mommy,” someone to shop with and for, someone to love until infinity. Kennedy was my first of many surprises and she was one of best surprises. She has my caring heart and forgiving spirit. 

While enjoying every moment of Kennedy’s first year, I was shocked to learn that I was expecting another baby. This did not set well with me at first – well at least for the first nine months. I was not ready for baby #2. I really was not ready for a baby at all. Nope! I was done. Finished. Close down the shop. Snip. Clip. I was not having it. I did not want another baby. I really wanted to continue to enjoy every moment with my Kennedy

After my stomach continued to swell and then the  labor pains kicked in, I came to the realization that I was about to give birth for the second time. It really hit me that I was about to become a mom again. On the drive to the hospital in a winter storm,  all I could think about was having a baby on the side off the road. An hour and a half later we made it to Rush Hosptial to only sit and wait until my doctor awoke for her slumber to deliver my bundle of joy. (I was also praying, wishing, hoping for a girl.)

On February 11, 2008 I was given the best news ever – I welcomed into the world another baby girl. I am now blessed with two divas (yes they are true divas). Sydney came into the world with a low cry – more like a muffle. But once the doctor tapped her on the button, she made sure the world heard her loud and clear. She continues to make sure her voice is heard. She has my determination, my sassy personality, and my quick comebacks. 

I always wanted to hear someone call me mom. Now I hear it only a daily basis, hourly basis, minute by minute basis. 

I always wanted to grow a child from infancy to adulthood and notice my imprint/stamp on them, in them.  Now I have two mini-me running around in the world.

I always wanted to blessed with at least one girl. Now I am blessed with two.

Every day I am thankful for the surprises bestowed upon me. More importantly I am thankful for Surprise 1 and Surprise 2 – my Kennedy and Sydney. 

No Inspiration – Yet

I’m back!!

It feels like the first time all over again – this writing thing.

I took just a small break. Now I have to find some inspiration.

Let me recap what I did while I was away from my computer for the past four days.

I was in a wedding this past weekend but nothing really exciting happened other than the bride and groom said “I do.”

I almost missed my flight to witness this beautiful celebration of love. TSA had a line that was nearly out the door. The workers were moving as fast as they possibly could. I have no inspiration to come from that minor hiccup.

The airport lost my luggage. I really do not feel like ranting again – plus my choice words would not be appropriate. I truly would NOT “speak with good purpose.”

It was a beautiful outdoor wedding. The weather was not in our favor for an outdoor by the water wedding. I was not properly dressed and my wonderful husband kept the chill off of me.

Every seat on the return flight was filled. This caused me to have an anxiety attack on the plane before take off but after they closed the doors. Deep breaths. Look out the window. Turn on fan to get air. Deep breaths. Look out the window. Deep breaths. Stewardess asked if I was ok. Deep breaths. Look out the window. Husband began fanning me. More deep breaths. Calming down. Slow deep breaths. Breathing returns to normal. Flight begins to take off. Slow breaths. Close eyes. Go to sleep. I’m better now. No inspiration to relive that ordeal.

Husband and I retrieved luggage – thankful that it was not lost AGAIN. Retrieve children from Aunt’s house. Go gorcery shopping. Prepare for the week. Walk out the door to head to the hospital to visit my mom.

I’m at the hospital and I still do not have any inspiration to write. But I AM BACK!!!

VOTE

Katie: “What’s going on?”

Me: “Nothing. I’m working on my slice.”

Katie: “Oh, what is it?

Me: “Nothing. I don’t have one.”

She laughed and walked out the door. I looked out the window for inspiration.

I noticed many people: old, young, tall, short, thin, thick, dark hair, light hair, wheelchair-bound walking/rolling by single-filed, alone. I saw them come and I saw them go. They entered my school sticker-less and exited sticker-proud. They chatted about their candidates and then went about their day.

I remembered I was in their shoes several hours earlier – casting my vote. We were alike yet different. They came alone. I had my young daughters in tow as I casted my vote. I am teaching them early that they will exercise their right to vote. It will become one of their civic duty.

They watched with excitement as I casted my vote. I read aloud (more like a whisper) the candidates.  The names were familiar to them. They knew about the candidates and were able to express their views (my views) about them. They understood it was my opinion, my view, my choice, my reason for choosing the best candidate to speak/work for me and that information will remain with me unless I choose to share.

The ballot officials commented on how “Great” it was to bring them out to vote. “I would not have it any other way,” I said with a smile in a voice and a twitch in my hips.

I want my girls to look at ME as a role model on how to be a productive citizen in society. I want them to model after me about exercising all their rights in a respectful and dignified way. I want them to fight for their rights and not to allow others to take them away. More importantly, I want them to understand that their voice matters, their VOTE matters. VOTE!!!! It is the right thing to do.

My Visit to the City

It is nearly the next day and I have yet to post anything. I have so many slices running through my head at this time. I am having a difficult time grabbing one. As I draft one, another pops into my head.

I was in the city due to a family emergency. I had thoughts of writing about that experience to help me get through this darkness that is hovering over me. But the tears came. So I stopped writing that slice.

I ran into an old grammar school buddy who gave me the tightest hug today because she felt I needed it. I never spoke a word about what I was going through at the time. I wanted to write about our childhood. But then thoughts of my reason of why I was in the city crept back to the forefront of my thinking.

I was going to slice about the happy news my daughter shared with me regarding her math test. But that thought was quickly interrupted with the need of calling the paramedics. Then the reason of why I was in the city surfaced again.

So I decided to write about the reason why I was having a hard time grabbing a thought to write about – my visit to the city.

My mom is sick again – possibly another stroke. She refuses to go to the hospital. So we (the siblings) are playing a waiting game – a don’t let her sleep into eternity game. I am not ready to let her go. Not now. Not ever.

Rejuvenation

I have been awake since 5 am and I have had the opportunity to think – I mean like really think. My thoughts are of spring, warmer weather, sockless days, pedicures and manicures. My thoughts are green grass, flowering trees, birds chirping, rainy days. My thoughts are sunny days, ice cream trips, coatless days, time spent in the yard, favorite beverages on the patio. My thoughts are of Spring – my prelude to Summer. I feel it in the air. Please hurry. I need you to come to help rejuvenate me.