I have two friends who were recently both injured at their jobs. The first one sent a lasagna to the second, just as the second was getting ready to drop off a lasagna for the first.
That what we do.
You drop off delicious homemade eggplant parmesan after my son is born. When you have your first little girl, I drop off a rotisserie chicken from Wegmans along with a bag of salad, Italian bread and cookies (because I don’t cook).
I find your three-year-old who has climbed over our shared fence in my kitchen looking for a snack. Years later, you come home to find a giant pair of sneakers by your front door and my son, home from college, hanging out on your couch eating a bowl of cereal.
On the way to work, I see your son who is rushing, super late for school. I pick him up and deliver him safely, and on time. When my son forgets his keys you let him stay at your house and feed him dinner when I am running late.
When I get home from summer vacation, you have replenished my fridge with milk and bread. When you get home from Thanksgiving vacation, I have turned up your heat so you’ll come home to a warm house.
When I am far away, visiting relatives, my dog who is staying with a dog sitter becomes seriously ill and his body starts to shut down. You take him to the emergency vet and pet him and tell him what a good boy he is while I sob over the phone—I still owe you for that one.
I have tissues and hugs ready for when you need a good cry. And you have the same ready for me.
Thank you friends, women, wonderful people. So glad I have you to trade lasagnas with. Couldn’t do this without you.
When I was pregnant with you
I couldn’t wait for you to be born
Because I was so excited to meet my baby boy
When you were born and I held you
You looked at me with those big eyes
And then peed all over
I smiled and said, “Hey Kid, nice to meet you. I’m your mom.”
Hey Kid, I remember you in your baby seat and our cat Ellie
Doing some silly thing
You looked over at me and we smiled at each other
Sharing our first joke
Hey Kid, we spent many hours exploring the world together
I got to see through your eyes as we fought dragons with sticks
And collected beautiful rocks and looked for crawfish in the pond
Coming home muddy and tired and so happy
Hey Kid, I comforted you when you were sick, or sad, or hurt
A snuggle and a Band-aid
Band-aids were magic
Able to heal any broken heart
Hey Kid, today I watch you walk across the stage, ready to leap into your next adventure
I am so proud of you and excited to see where you will go
But I am the one who today
May need a magic Band-aid and a snuggle
We all start our careers somewhere and unfortunately have a lot of on the job learning to do. I know when I first started out as a special education teacher I made mistakes, and I still do. As a mom of a 13-year-old who is currently struggling in school, I also have the perspective of a parent who has to be a strong advocate for her son. And guess what, it’s freakin’ hard. After being a special education teacher for almost 20 years, I understand that advocating for my own child is very different from advocating for my students. There are so many feelings involved including fear, sadness, anger, love and frustration. With this perspective in mind I would like to offer the following apologies to all of the parents I have worked with:
- I am sorry if I ever made you feel judged.
- I am sorry if I didn’t have the confidence to admit when I didn’t know something.
- I am sorry if I ever called you “mom” or “dad” at a meeting instead of using your name.
- I am sorry if I didn’t focus on your child’s strengths.
- I’m sorry if I didn’t also let you know the struggles though because you deserve to have all of the information and not be blindsided at a meeting.
- I am sorry if I didn’t fully believe you were the expert on your child.
- I am sorry if I wasn’t brave enough to argue against rules and decisions that were not in the best interest of your child.
- I am sorry if I didn’t make sure to show that I truly liked your child.
- I am sorry if I didn’t make sure you knew I was on your side.
- I am sorry if I did not make communication and teamwork a top priority.
Teacher, mom and oh-so-human being
I spent the weekend with girlfriends at a Women’s Adventure Weekend Camp in the Adirondacks. We had a wonderful time sleeping in bunk beds, taking hikes, eating in the mess hall and sitting by the lake chatting. We have made this trip together for about 9 years and it’s always a nice time to catch up on each other’s lives and spend lots of time laughing. This year we all described our individual fantasy apartments. You know, the ones we design in our minds during an especially crazy day with grumpy kids, messy houses, burned dinner etc. It’s interesting to see what we all find the most comforting and relaxing. Here are some of our apartments.
The Sparse Apartment
All white with very little furniture. One book, one plate, one cup, one fork, one spoon and knife. Nothing at all that needs any care or nurturing. No plants or pets. A space for a yoga mat next to a little fountain. No clutter.
The Jungle Apartment
Full of plants and pets. No kitchen. Lots of books.
The Hobbit Hole Apartment
Full of bright colors and cozy furniture. A fireplace and lots of soft blankets. Stacks of books. Dogs to curl up with on the couch. A coffee pot.
What does your fantasy apartment look like?
I bought a carrot cake tonight in anticipatory celebration of my boys completing a successful first week of school. And what exactly constitutes a successful first week of school. Well thanks for asking…
1. They got there every day.
2. They had clothes on. And as far as I know, even clean socks and underwear. I know! Crazy right?
3. They even ate something before school. And I’m pretty sure they were totally healthy pop-tarts because I bought the ones without the frosting.
So my point is, we pretty much rocked it out this week. Congrats to all of the other families who were back to school super stars like us!
Have you ever plucked a strand of spaghetti out of the boiling water and flung it at the ceiling to see if it would stick? I love to do that. And if it sticks then it’s done, or if it falls it’s done or if it sticks and then falls it’s done, or something like that. Well my parenting style is kind of like that. I just keep flinging my parental pearls of wisdom at my children and hope that some of them stick. For example:
1. One day, years ago, while driving my 3 year old to preschool, he suddenly pipes up from his car seat in the back to ask me how water turns to steam. My budding scientist! I start in on a long-winded explanation about molecules getting cold and moving slow and turning to a solid and then heating up and moving faster to form a liquid and heating up a lot and moving fast, turning to steam. I don’t know if this is actually a sound scientific explanation but I figured it was good enough for my 3 year old. Then silence from the back seat; crickets in fact. And then, “Mom, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
The spaghetti fell
2. My boys are fighting…again. “He said _____! He touched my ______! He looked at my _______!” I talk to them about what being brothers means and how lucky they are to have each other. How they need to treat each other nicely and how we don’t whack each other in this family, for the millionth time!
When they are 12 and 15, my older son has a group of friends over. One of them goes upstairs to play Xbox with my younger son. He comes back down awhile later and says to the big boys laughing, “I made your brother cry.” My older son looks at him briefly and says, “Not cool dude.” He stuck up for his brother, in front of his friends! Yes!
The spaghetti stuck
So, I guess I’ll just keep winging all of that stuff out there about kindness, compassion, safe sex, healthy eating, education, responsibility, blah, blah, blah, and just hope that some of it sticks!