Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Wake

Wake 2
Originally uploaded by CaptPiper.
How I long for the simple life of summer again.

Have you ever woken up at 1:35 in the morning, suddenly wide awake, realizing that earlier that evening you said something unbelievable stupid? And now there's not a thing you can do about it?
Tonight was parent’s night at the school. Parents and students came around, doing a fast version of the student's daily school schedule. Teachers can talk about what to expect in that class, and how the parents can best help their children.
Two parents, new to the school, came early while everyone else was still in the auditorium. The mother had come to talk to me last spring, considering our school, and asking how I challenged the bright students in my classes. She mentioned that she taught writing at the U of M. Over the summer, I considered her question. I don't really do anything to challenge the brighter students, and I realized it's because I'm already teaching at a high level. My problem is making allowances, modifying tests, and creating extra credit assignments for the students who can't handle the level of challenge already in place.
Anyway, I now had my chance to say this. And I did.
They tried to get their son to say something in response to this, but he wasn't being communicative - typical of a freshman guy. I said my son was like that -- kind of a... [I tried to think of the right word]... lugubrious guy. The father wanted to know what that word meant and I said it meant responding with as few words as possible - a word from our Tale of Two Cities vocabulary.
"Oh," he said. Laconically.

Soooo at 1:35 AM I wake up, and suddenly I think, "I wanted LACONIC, not lugubrious, which actually means the opposite."
I'm sure the father realized that and now is chuckling all the way home and thinking what an idiot his son's English teacher is.

Why couldn't he just correct me?

I also realized that I was talking too fast. I think it might have had something to do with that big glass of ice tea I had before all this, and my nervousness as I met the parents, who, ultimately, are your judge and jury.

I wish it was still summer. Or maybe I need a different job. One where all I have to remember to say is “Would you like paper or plastic, Sir?”

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My Best Agate

My Best Agate
Originally uploaded by CaptPiper.
We are back from vacation in the Upper Penninsula - one of my favorite places to play.
This stone I found on the beach of Lake Superior. More later.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Em at Three

Em at Three
Originally uploaded by CaptPiper.
Tomorrow we are taking Emily, our first-born, to college. She will live in a dorm, and only come home for visits. It feels like the beginning of the end. Sam is still home. Well, not much, actually, now that he’s sixteen and has his license, but officially he still lives here and comes home to take showers. And sometimes he sleeps here. But I digress. The future seems so empty. I feel so sad, and yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But it’s hard.
Last night I woke up and began thinking about Emily not being here and I couldn’t sleep. I don’t drink, but last night, I think I would have had several glasses of wine. If I could have tolerated the taste. And if we had any in the house.

When I was eight years old, my mother died from cancer. Ever after that, I was haunted by a sense of loss of a family, especially after my older sister, living with us temporarily to take care of me, moved away from home and into an apartment with her husband and baby. Even when my father remarried and my step mother moved in, that connection was never really the same. Then my step mother died when I was twelve, and it was just my dad and me for a long time. I knew that I could not change the past – I could never get my mother back. But I could become the mother.
I waited patiently as the years passed, believing that God would restore what had been lost. I went to college, graduated, and began teaching school. I waited. Around me, my girlfriends were marrying; couples hooked up and began families. I waited. I dated guys, but none of them seemed to fit that picture in my head of my husband and the father of my children. I began to worry that it might not happen for me.
Then Tim came into the picture. He was right in every way. We married. He was 31 and I was 27, almost 28, so we didn’t want to wait too long before starting a family. Months passed and still I did not become pregnant. After a year had gone by, I started seeing a fertility doctor. Eventually I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I began a series of treatments: drugs, fertility pills, hormone treatments, tests, laser surgery… I read books on the subject of fertility. I was ready to do whatever it took.
Each month, when I discovered that I still wasn’t pregnant, became a teary session of longing and prayer. Eventually, I came to a place of faith in which I believed that God wanted me to be happy. Whether I had a child or not, He was building and developing my faith and trust in Him, and that should be my goal, not endless longing for what I envisioned my future should be. I relaxed, calmed down, and sought His will. Then I got pregnant. Finally, after two years and four months of various treatments and intense hoping, I became pregnant. Then came a kind of joyous, edge-of-your-seat type waiting, again praying that I would not lose the child, but at the same time trying to be submissive to God’s will.
Nine months later, right on schedule, Emily was born: A beautiful healthy child and the joy of my life. Then two years later came Samuel, no hassle whatsoever. There was my dream - right before my eyes. I felt so blessed, even though being a stay-at-home mom was possibly the hardest thing I had ever done – especially when taking care of an infant and a toddler. Wow.
So for the past eighteen and a half years, I have been living that life I envisioned. Tim is a great husband and father, and both my kids are pretty good, too. Not perfect, but no serious concerns like drugs or drinking. And I know I have not been the perfect mother; that goes without saying. But we have been happy.

Now I need to begin to create a new vision for my future, so I don’t get this black hole vision when I think about the empty nest. Back to the prone before God position.

Monday, August 07, 2006

After the Storm

After the Storm
Originally uploaded by CaptPiper.
I've been scanning old photos, mostly for my daughter's graduation slide show, and I came across this photo that I took when I was visiting my aunt and uncle on the farm in Iowa in 1975. There had been a fierce storm, and afterwards the sky turned gold, so I went outside with my dad's camera and took several shots. This is not photoshopped! This is the actual color of the sky after the storm. My cousin, who was married and living in Nebraska, had a large wall photo made from the slide and had it on her wall in her livingroom for years.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Some Road Some Where

Some Road Some Where
Originally uploaded by CaptPiper.
Monday morning, I forced myself out of bed and hit the road, searching for misty spots and pretty pictures again.
I saw seven or eight deer - more bucks than does, which is unusual. Tons of rabbits. It was an enjoyable morning. I'll have to do it again after the heatwave has passed.