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Tired Times, School Stuff, and Perfectionistic Progeny

I am exhausted.  Really, really tired.  I’ve been trying to remember  which days I worked this week and I’m having trouble with that.  I’m pretty sure it was only yesterday and today.  That’s really not that much – just worn out, I guess.  But I get to stay home tomorrow, which is good because I have a lot of schoolwork to finish up. 

I’ve had 5:53 am wake-up calls for the past 3 days (from the school).  Wednesday I couldn’t.  Yesterday I did.  I worked with a little boy in Sam’s class that I have worked with several times before.  I felt like I didn’t do much because he gets growly if he senses you are hovering.  Knowing  that Sam’s teacher planned to take today off I asked if there was anything I could do to help her yesterday.  She handed me a stack of third grade letters and asked if I would mind editing them.  Would I mind?!  The girl born with a red correction pen in her hand?!!  It was fine.  And I was nice, since they are only 9 year olds.

Today they wanted me to be 3 different people – not all at once, thankfully.  I found out that all the staff, including the full time associates, have to use up most of their paid time off by the school year’s end.  That’s why there are so many sub calls right now.  I figured those would be slowing down as we got into warmer weather and people would be healthier and not wanting to miss so close to the end of the school year.  Not so much!  I was only supposed to work a half day today.  And then last night I was texted and asked to work a full day.  I knew that was going to happen.  And then I got a text at 5:53 this morning asking if I could do breakfast duty, which would mean arriving about 15 min. earlier than normal.  The kids were delighted because it meant they could eat breakfast at school.

Maybe it’s all these 6am texts (and the fact I don’t fall back asleep again) that are making me so tired tonight.  I know I didn’t sleep so well Wed. night.  I was too warm and my pain levels were especially high.  So last night I took 1/3 of an Advil PM and slept much better.

When I got to school the secretary told me she was trying and trying to get ahold of Will to sub but couldn’t reach him.  I told her I would see what I could do.  So while I opened up cartons of milk and yogurt for little kids I kept calling Will and finally got ahold of him and told him to get to the school as soon as he could.  He arrived about an hour later.  I was already with the same 3rd grader when he walked in and said he was to take my place.  And that was good because this little boy responds so well to Will, I’ve heard.  He will actually behave and do his schoolwork.  In fact, later in the afternoon I was in the resource room with a different 3rd grader when the sp. Ed teacher went down to collect this guy for his scheduled time with her.  She came back – twice – and said that he was working so intently with Will on his schoolwork that she didn’t want to interrupt the progress, so she just left them alone!  He (Will) will be very good at his job someday.

I actually ended up in Ellie’s classroom for about an hour this morning and helped the kindergarteners paint their hands to make “earths” for Earth Day (more on that later).  She was pretty thrilled!  And I did several recesses and worked all afternoon with this other little guy (also 3rd grade) who gets so excited to see me, which is gratifying. And then as soon as I got the last kid on the right bus, walked back to the school, collected my three, walked back over to the high school to where my van was parked, filled up on gas, and arrived home…I had to go to Clive (40 min away) in rush hour traffic and pick up my lawn mower, which I was having serviced.  I feel like I was over-charged for a fuse replacement on the starter and some general maintenance, but maybe not.  Maybe it’s normal to spend more than ¼ of the purchase price every few years in order to get more years out your mower.  I don’t know.  I couldn’t do the work.  And this is the only Toro dealership in the area.

Anyway, no wonder I’m tired!

I have to realize that quite a few – in fact, probably the majority – of the associates are mothers of school age kids.  I can do this on a substitutionary basis, but there is no way I’d want to do this kind of work full time.  That said, I will not be surprised one bit if I get offered a full time job doing this for next year (not going to do it).   I get why it’s an appealing job for moms – no daycare and summers off with the kids.  It’s why I’m doing it!  But it is hard to be with young children all day long at school and then come home and be with your own.  It’s constant noise and demands.  I want to think that homeschooling had to have been hard, too, because I also went without kid breaks there.  But I’m not remembering so well.  Anyway – I’m glad I don’t have to do it full time. 

And, I am very thankful for the opportunity to get a better glimpse into what the kids are being taught, who their friends are, who the teachers are, etc..  Most of the time I feel pretty good about it.  But then, there’s days like today where I’m groaning and attempting to do some massive de-programming when the kids get home.  For example, when I was in Ellie’s classroom they were watching a film on the importance of the Rs – not Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic.  Now, it’s Reduce, Re-use, Recycle!  The film wouldn’t have been so bad but Ellie’s teacher then spent quite a bit of time instructing the kids on the importance of taking care of our earth.  She also spent some time vehemently complaining to me (during the film) about the trees that came down at the school yesterday.  When they put the first parking lot in decades ago they built it around this large, 100 year old tree.  So everyone who parks under it comes out to spattered windshields.  Well, they have begun this massive addition project just in the last week or so.  They have trailers and fencing and porta potties up.  And last night they took down all the trees, about 5, total I think, to make room for the addition and parking lot.  So, anyway, it’s apparent to me that as nice as Ellie’s teacher is, she has bought into the whole environmental junk package and is happily passing her beliefs onto her students.  Since I had to run to get the lawnmower before they closed I suggested to Will he might want to talk to the Littles, which he did.  He took them to the 10 Commandments and explained that when people embrace climate change and tree hugging they are violating the first commandment.  I thought that was a unique approach.  Later, I was talking to Ellie about it and she narrowed her eyes, and said, “Well, how do I know you’re right and my teacher is wrong?”  Argh…can I homeschool again?  But then, she sat there for a minute and finally said, “Well, at Christmas, my teacher also said that Santa is real and I know that’s not true, so…”

One more thing about school and then I’m done.  On to other subjects since I do have a life outside that building!  Today while I was supervising breakfast, the time came for them to finish and one by one the kids dumped their trays and headed off to their classrooms.  But one last straggler stood at the station where they are supposed to dump their trays shoveling cereal into her mouth.  Meanwhile, one of the kitchen workers had come in to clean up and she walked up to the girl and snapped, “You need to obey – breakfast is over!”  I left the room and then I turned right around and came back, acting totally on impulse.  I told the kitchen worker that one thing I had noticed since beginning to sub was that no adult ever used that word, “obey,” and that when I used it with children they often looked at me like I was saying something very strange.  I told her it was nice to hear the word used at school!  She smiled and said she thought it ought to be said more often and thanked me for thanking her.  What a world, huh?  I think we’re more concerned about saving our trees than we are our children…

And now it’s been almost a week since I last wrote.  Super busy.  This is the last week of the term so I have a lot to do this week.  I start my “Aging in America” class next week.  That’s the only one I’ll be taking for the next term.  I am looking forward to the subject material for this one.  My only fear is that we’ll be drawing near to the end of the term about the time of the wedding and I just have to be able to work ahead in this class so I’m not trying to crank out a term paper while getting ready for a rehearsal dinner!  After that I’ll take “Major Figures in American Literature” which should also be good.  I noticed that class has a “4” after the name which makes me think this must be a senior level class.

I’ve found a roofer – after only 3 years of thinking and fretting about this. I got three companies out last week and the last bid came in last night.  I’m going with the first guy.  I don’t even know his first name.  He’s Mr. Valdez, I guess.  He did the roof of some people at church.  Nice guy, heavy accent, though.  He’s involved in a criminal case right now, I read recently.  He’s not the criminal, though.  The former city clerk in Pville (who I used to talk to quite a bit when I started my job and had questions) wrote him a bad check when she hired him to do her roof (which came in at 2 and ½ times the price he bid mine – she must have a really big roof) and got arrested.  I can’t imagine – 76 years old and sitting in jail for theft.  I would have liked to have gone with the Amish guy just because I think it would be fun to have a bunch of Amish guys at my house.  This guy was funny – he had to hire a driver, but he has a cell phone!  But his bid was actually the highest.  And he was trying to get me to go with a steel roof – probably because his brother manufactures them.  The work will be done this summer.

Tuesday Tammy and I went dress shopping.  That was such a special day.  And not just because we both found really cute navy dresses!  We’ve been friends for so long and here we were shopping for clothes for our kids’ wedding!  Three years ago I took her shopping when Nathanael was going to get married.  So she told me then, “When your first child gets married, I’m returning the favor!”  Little did we know then that my first child would be marrying her child!  We also found a dress for her 7 year old who is a flower girl and yesterday I finally found a white tulle skirt for Ellie’s outfit at a consignment store.  It is all coming together!  A couple of times during the day we were asked by the clerks if we were shopping for anything special.  Tammy and I would kind of draw a deep breath, look at eachother to see who was going to answer, and then announce, “Yes!  Our kids are marrying each other!” 

It's exciting.  It’s neat to see things coming together.  And I’m happy.

But I’m also struggling with the blues a bit over this and have for a few weeks.  It was triggered by that dream I mentioned in my last blog, but it hasn’t totally dissipated yet, either.  I’m realizing that I can be sad and happy all at the same time.  I have a feeling that David’s graduation next year will be the same and so will the births of grandbabies.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  I can still rejoice in and anticipate these times for myself, but they will always be tinged by what was supposed to be.

I have a facebook friend, a fellow widow.  Her husband was a pastor and was killed on a snowmobile during a church retreat a few months after Paul died.  She was left with 5 kids, including a baby.  The other day on FB she was having a “down” day and asked her single friends what was “good” about singleness, particularly single parenting.  This is what I came up with for her: Totally get this, Leslie!  There are times I feel so lost in my singleness - most times have to do with single parenting issues.  But here's some things that immediately pop into my mind in regards to your question: 1) Single parenting makes me more aware of how much I need God - how much I CAN'T do this on my own.  I am more quick to run to Him with my parenting questions than when I was married 2) While we rarely argued on parenting, it is kind of nice to be the one making decisions - I don't have to run stuff by my  husband anymore and what I say, goes 3) Along with that, I feel more freedom now to have a more "relaxed" household.  If we end up eating frozen pizza 3 nights in a row, it's ok!  4) While I am quaking in my shoes at times, I am actually developing more confidence in my parenting skills

I'm sure I'll think of more positives the longer I think on this, too.  This has been a real thought-provoking question for me!  Of course, all this is not to say that I would not like to find a good step-dad for my kids someday.  But, I recognize that even if God does send another amazing man, it will never be the same as what I had.  He may love my kids and they may love him in return, but he will not be their father like their first dad was.  I am always going to be the primary parent, no matter if remarriage is in the picture or not.


I saw my neurologist last week – I just needed a refill on my migraine prescription.  I’ve always liked him.  He was the one on call when I had my stroke and I’ve been going to him ever since.  He also has adopted kids so sometimes we talk about that.  This time we talked about why people go to college or into the careers they choose – is it to make a comfortable living or is it because they have a passion for what they do?  He said that for himself, he grew up on a farm and he decided he didn’t want to be repairing fences in the dead of winter his entire life.  That’s a pretty big leap from fence mender to brain surgeon, but I guess that’s all right!  He also seemed amazed that, at 46, my migraine pills are my only medication (and they’re only as needed).  Really?  I wouldn’t think that many people would be on that many drugs in their 40s.

This was the first time to try out my new insurance, which isn’t really insurance, but works like insurance.  I was kind of embarrassed to have to tell them that I no longer have insurance (but all I need to do is remind myself that if I had kept BC/BS I’d be paying $420 a month right now – then I don’t feel quite so embarrassed!)  But when they heard that they automatically gave me a 20% discount on my bill!  Then, when I offered to pay before I left the office, they knocked another $25 off!  I may come to really, really like this Samaritan Health Care…
 The kids had their Spring dance show a few weeks ago.  It was actually very nice.  I know I wrote about some of my concerns when they signed up for this but I didn’t see anything that bothered me.  I was telling this to the director a few days later because both our kids were competing in a Special Olympics event.  She commented, “You must have left at the intermission, huh?”  What?!  I had, actually.  It was already after 8 by then and the next day was Easter Sunday – had to get those kids home.  She explained that a lot or all of the high school girls actually take dance at studios outside of schools.  For this performance, they work up a routine with their dance instructor, not her, and then perform it at the Spring show.  She said that sometimes because of that the moves can get a little iffy.  She said that’s why she schedules those performances for later in the show, knowing that a lot of the younger children will be gone by then.  I’m thinking that if she is the school dance teacher, wouldn’t she have ultimate say over what gets performed?  Maybe I’m not understanding everything here.  But anyway, I liked it.  I got a real kick out of Sam before the show.  All the kids were on the opposite side of the gymnasium waiting for their performance times.  The bleachers were filling up with the spectators and music was being blared for entertainment while that happened.  David nudged me and told me to look over at Sam.  While the other kids were mostly sitting, talking with eachother, and even running around, Sam was off to the side, all alone.

He was dancing his heart out.  It probably didn’t occur to him that everyone could see him.  He was just having a ball on his own!

The kids did fine in their performances.  It got kind of interesting during the high school girls’ jazz routine.  They were finishing up the song when one of the girls went down while the others stayed up.  She had such an exaggerated look of “oh!” on her face that I assumed it was part of the dance choreography.  Until she started screaming.

It was chaotic for a little while.  She was actually the co-director’s sophomore daughter.  Eventually, about 6 adults picked her up and carried her, prone, out of the gymnasium and she was taken away by ambulance from there.  They spent a long time wiping the floor (they had brought ice for the injured girl) to make sure nobody else fell before they started the next part of the show.  As it turned out, she broke her ankle quite badly – had to have pins and plates put in it two days later. 

 Today, Sam’s teacher commented to me about his “perfectionistic” tendencies.  Huh.  I had never thought about him that way before.  She wasn’t saying it in a bad way.  In fact, she was telling me about an incident where he seemed to be telling himself it was ok to not be perfect and she thought that was such a good thing.  It fits.  I had never thought of him as a perfectionist before but I suppose he inherited that.  It would go along with the anxiousness I detect in him from time to time, too.

A couple of weeks ago he kind of blew me away.  I was working at the school and while I walked kids to the buses, he waited in the gymnasium shooting baskets.  I got back and told him to put the ball away, whereupon he proceeded to shoot a half dozen more baskets.  I was not happy with him and informed him of such.  By this time we were in the van.  He was quiet and asked him if he had something to say to me.  “What?” Sam asked puzzled.  I informed him that he needed to apologize to me.  Sam was quiet again and then spoke.  He said, “You know, Mom, you always want me to apologize right away.  Maybe you should wait for the Holy Spirit to convict me first and then I’ll apologize.”   And before I left for the evening (I had plans) he came to me and did just that.  He’s quite the kid.
 Well, I can’t think of anything else to write about.  I was fearful that I was going to have to report that today was Bella’s last day on earth.  She’s been doing so much better since Christmas with her kidney – no more urinating where she’s not supposed to.  And then last night I found a t-shirt with yellow urine on it.  My heart sank.  This morning I was awakened at 6am by a strong urine smell.  I was afraid it was coming from under my bed, but it was the bathroom.  While I was in there later Bella waltzed in and crouched over the bathmat and then was pawing at it like it was her litter box.  Ugh.  So, I called the vet and made an appt. this afternoon to have her kidney xrayed.  If the report came back positive for a stone, I was going to have her put down.  Even as I drove to the vet’s I was mentally running through names in my mind for our next kitty!  But she doesn’t have a stone.  The vet thinks it’s probably just a UTI, which is fixable and pretty cheap.  So Bella’s spending the night (which they don’t charge for) and then I’ll have some medicine for her tomorrow. 

My scrapbooking ladies are coming over tomorrow night.  That means I have to cook and clean my house tomorrow afternoon after I get back from Ellie’s therapy appointment.  I’ll spend all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening finishing up the school term. 

And it starts all over again on Monday!


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