Tag Archives: school

Finding A Way

3 Jun

It wasn’t intentional but it happened anyway. I stepped away for a minute.

Apparently I’d been carrying a heavy emotional workload and was unaware of this burden. It was emotionally draining and produced an unexpected writing sabbatical.

The last week of school happened and emotions were fully charged in everyone’s hearts.  Some fifth-grade moms in tears, some fourth-grade moms with emotional anxiety of what was to come next May. I overheard countless conversations about how these moms didn’t know how they were going to handle their kids graduating from elementary school, how their kids turned 10 this year and how fast that decade passed. This realization hit them as the school-year came to an end.

But this wasn’t something that made me sad.

The year hadn’t gone by fast at all. Our family had the power to stop time when life was good, with gratitude talks at night and notes in The Jar of Awesome. We also found a way to move ahead when life was crappy and things didn’t pan out the way we had hoped. The year moved at just the right roller-coaster speed.

But I was happy the school year had ended.

While it was an amazing year of triumph, growth, energy, and awesomeness for my daughter, it was a time of heartbreak, rough edges, disappointment, and life lessons for my son. This year was the most difficult for him and we haven’t even gotten to middle school.

That seemed to worry me.

I was happy for my daughter, but sad for my son. A tough spot to be in for a parent, but I imagine not the first time I’d be feeling this exact feeling. I imagine it happens often for parents. The ups and downs of family life.

And I know we’re supposed to go with the flow, but in truth I was relieved when the year ended. I was glad that my son didn’t have to deal with the harshness of friends who were no longer his friends, of eating alone during lunch because he didn’t know any of the kids in his new class, of kids who friends with him when they were in the same class, but who turned into acquaintances that sometimes said hello and sometimes didn’t because they no longer sat at the same table, or because he was into sports and they were into video games, or of being with a teacher who didn’t see his potential and wasn’t as inspirational as Stand and Deliver, but he still managed to find a way to get good grades make it to the end of the year.

The thing was he seemed all right. These social difficulties didn’t dent his spirit, as he’s always been independent. I’ve always tried to tell him not to follow the crowd, but to follow what makes him happy whether it lines up with what’s popular or not. He often played sports at lunch and got along well with the underclassmen. It was just difficult to see him have to find a way to get through the year instead of it just being a good year. It was the finding the way part … I thought that would happen when he was much older, but this lesson came early.

The year ended and relief set in and I had to take a moment.

As a parent I tend to worry a lot about what’s going on with my kid, is he doing all right, what happens at recess, how’s it going in science, why is this kid not your buddy anymore, how’s it going in class. All these questions pop up when I think about him, but when I was going to school, I don’t remember thinking any of these things myself as a student. I just went to school. I learned. I played tetherball and basketball. I studied. I don’t remember wanting to be cool or worrying about playing by myself. I always just played. I found a way to make it through school.

I had to remind myself of that. I had to remember that he’s a strong kid and that sometimes I worry more than I should about the ups and downs. And although there were times when chocolate ice cream and hugs needed to be there after school, most of the time fourth grade was all right. It wasn’t a spectacular year, but it was all right. He found a way, we found a way.

This year will still mark a decade of his life, but just part of it, the part filled with love of science and math, of playing America Ninja Warrior, soccer, and basketball at recess, of eating alone at lunch sometimes and being O.K. with it, of working on more book reports and oral presentations than any other class but being great at it, of knowing enjoying board games and Pokemon cards, of trips to the beach on Sundays, of watching Wild Kratts, Animal Planet, America Ninja Warrior, Star Wars, and Forged in Fire with his sister, of Boys Scouts, hockey games and baseball practice, of still letting me hug him before school and giving him my blessing, and of him charging me and hugging me tight everyday after school.

As we reached a milestone I was reminded of his innocence and resilience, of his heart and of his strength. As life didn’t turn out the way we expected this year, he found a way, (well together we found a way) turn things around. Hope you’re finding your way …

 

Buen Camino, my friends …

 

 

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I Hate Elections

23 Sep

I worried, and for good reason, when that goldenrod yellow paper came home in the homework folder.

He was excited about it.

Student Council elections. It was the first time that he was excited about writing three paragraphs. Star Wars, Batman, and the Avengers only got two paragraphs, and it appeared that the reading portion was more important on that one. In any case making a difference at school appeared to be something he was really into, and I worried.

I worried because I didn’t want him to get his hopes up. There were eight students running for two 3rd grade representative positions. And he was feeling confident. He had written a really good essay, but I knew that at this age the essay was not what mattered. Popularity, that was thing, which is why I hate elections.

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🙂

The thing is my son is well liked. He’s got plenty of friends on the playground and in the classroom, but in student council elections, it usually comes down to who is more popular I guess.

So he gave his speech, along with the others, but left early from school for an appointment and I got an email.

His teacher said how great it was that he had given his speech but … there was a but, followed by an unfortunately. And so I read on and I got the news that he hadn’t made it. I figured the chick that suggested no homework for a week, and the other that was planning for pajama Friday’s once a month made the top two. Pajamas. They’re big in elementary school. I mean you don’t even have to get dressed, just roll out of bed. Pajama Friday. Dude.

But he was asleep when I got the email. So unfortunately we have to talk tomorrow. I have to tell him tomorrow … and I worry.  Pajama Friday over Outdoor Garden projects and Sports Days. Some people are not fond of plants and sweat. Pajamas. It’s all about pajamas and flannel. It’s a good fabric, I guess.

Elections. I hate elections.And Pajama Days. They disappoint 3rd-grade hearts. But I know he’ll be all right. He’ll bounce back because he’s my son.

 

 

Getting In Deeper and Deeper

10 Feb

I mean it’s for a good cause … it always is … but it’s usually something that draws out the ‘ughhhhhhhh’ and a long sigh before actually doing it.

Fundraising.

It’s such a sucky word for parents because you know that it needs to be done for stuff like art and music, but it just burns you out. It burns me out. I’m sure some people would say no and not think twice about the kind of person I am. They don’t think less of me because I’m putting them through this catalog-ticket-chocolate-cookie purchasing venture, but I go through all kinds of scenarios where they despise me entirely, just hate it when they see me coming — The Fundraising Mom.

But they don’t … they could care less. I just have a big imagination that leads me to think such things.

But the thing is it’s not like I’m not used to rejection. I’m a writer. I get rejected all the time. But for some reason with fundraising, it’s just different. It makes me feel bad for asking. I just want to avoid it all together.

But it needs to be done and as it turns out I’ve been put on the Paint Night Out fundraising team for my daughter’s school and of course I was dreading the whole soliciting situation.

But then the chair person gave me the first item on the to-do list. Invitations. Seeing how this tapped into the creative side of my nature, I thought I’d have a little fun with it. Put a little Guat into it.

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I figured if The Paint Guy doesn’t bring people in, then no one will.

My cover art with Bob Ross was unanimously approved by the board.

But I did such a good job, that now I’ve been put in charge of the food/restaurant donations for the event.

I’m gonna have to stop being so creative, it just keeps increasing my involuntary involvement. Deeper, and deeper. I’m just gonna have to start sucking at stuff.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

The Things I Do For My Kid …

16 Sep

I didn’t really know how to start the conversation.

I didn’t.

I mean I hate this time of year and being put in this position. So I thought I’d draft something to help me out.

What do you guys think?

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 Image by © Images.com/Corbis

Image by © Images.com/Corbis

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Dear People,

I say people because sometimes this act crosses boundaries and I’m no longer considered to be in the circle of trust. I’m outside of it. Out!

At least for the time being, and I understand. I get it.

I’ve crossed over from regular Guat, to the mom who has to raise funds for her son’s school.

Yeah.

You know the type, the one with two catalogs in her right hand and the clipboard with order form on the left. The one you hope doesn’t walk over to you and asks you to browse the catalog to see if you’re interested in buying something.

That’s me…for the next week that’s who’ve I become and the thing is I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t sign up for this. My son just came home last week with a “special envelope” addressed to the parents of Little Guat. Just like that, no warning, just an open call for you to do your part. Although I felt I already did my part by buying $48 worth of school supplies and sending them with my kid on the first day of school. You know the dreaded classroom list.

I thought I had done my part, but no. No.

There’s more. There’s always more when you’re a parent of a kid in the public school system. I know you know because you’ve been in my shoes and I’ve been in yours.

So let me just get to it. Let me give you my pitch.

I know you’re not Rachel Ray or any of the other Food Network Stars. I know it. I know that you probably don’t need an $18 lime green vegetable spiralizer for zucchini or yellow squash noodles. I know that you could probably grab your 20% coupon from Bed, Bath, & Beyond and get yourself a cheaper set of two-tone mixing bowls for all your baking needs. I know you probably have your free gift with purchase Estee Lauder or Clinique carryall totes and cosmetic bags and don’t need anymore polywoven plastic bags with reinforced bottoms.

I know.

But I have ask.

Things aren’t the way they used to be in the 80s. They’re not. There are no more music or art classes. None. I’m lucky if my kid will get a chance to use watercolors or know what a violin looks like. No room for creativity or the possibility that he’ll blossom into one of the Kennedy Center Honor recipients. I’d probably have to encourage that side of him through private lessons from some cultural center somewhere and shell out some massive bucks.

But they do have a computer center, although no computer teacher.

They do have a librarian on staff, finally. And books. They do have books. But no avenues to express their artistic talents.

And the weird thing is, I used to have these artistic opportunities during my youth, for free. No fundraising required because the schools thought that this was important enough to fund. It was in the budget at the inner city school I attended as a kid. Ms. Levi was my art teacher and Mr. Davidson was my music teacher, I rocked Beethoven on that violin and my calligraphy wasn’t too bad either.

But seeing how my son is in a better neighborhood, I figured he’d have all kinds of opportunities to make bad music on his trumpet, saxophone, guitar, violin, viola or whatever instrument he would decide to choose. I figured he’d be dabbling in all kinds of Picasso and Monet experiments.

I figured it would come included in this Happy Meal of an education, but no. We got no prizes.

So if you’d like to skip your trip to Target and get one of these handy dandy home, kitchen, or personal accessories and be an advocate for The Arts at the same time, duuuuuude you could totally buy something off one of these catalogs.

Thanks for your help.

Sincerely,

The Guat.

Oh! And P.S. If you can’t peruse the catalog, feel free to take thirty minutes away from your computer time on Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Twitter and etc. to check the website out I’ve included at the bottom. I totally know you want to check out the wide array of silicone bottle topper sets and fodable duffle bags.

www.mixedbagdesigns.com/?fundraiserid=49645

What do you think? Will my family disown me and friends “de-friend” me on Facebook?

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Way

3 Jun
On The Way

On The Way

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Ready for an awesome hike in the beautiful outdoors … uh-oh…but first … potty break before we get on our way.

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Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of the Daily Post.

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Tales of the 1st

18 Aug

Excitement, anxiety, and worry.

I was feeling it all night, didn’t really know what to expect from the bigger playground, different classroom, and different group of kids. I tried to stay positive for my son’s sake, and was able to give him the Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose speech before school and send him off ready to conquer the world, but I was still feeling it in the pit of my stomach. Something that would probably leave my neurotic motherhood personality once I picked him up at the end of the day.

And in truth it’s not so much that I didn’t trust my son, or think how wouldn’t do great, I knew he was gonna let his awesome out, he’s a great kid. I just don’t have faith in the kids and teachers I’ve never met. You know the kind I’m talking about, you see them and you just know, you get that Oh-my-God-I-hope-it’s-not-you feeling. You’re not judging anybody or thinking you’re better than anyone else, you just get that feeling at first sight.You know exactly what I’m talking about. You know.  I’m crazy that way, it’s my Guat nature. I accept it.

It’s something I go through every year, at the beginning of the school year.

I’m not sure what to expect from the first grade … other than a massive supply list and less money in my wallet.

 

1 box of 24 Crayola Crayons … sounds reasonable

3 dozen Ticonderoga #2 pencils (already SHARPENED please) … Really? Dude there’s no time to sharpen 36 pencils and the boxes of pre-sharpened were sold out.

3 reams of white paper …Dude did the school run out before the year started?

3 boxes of Kleenex tissue … One sounds more reasonable.

1-2 packages of hand wipes/disinfectant wipes … I understand this one, I’m a little germaphobic

1 dozen glue sticks … Dude I think a three pack will get you by.

2 yellow highlighters … understandable used to highlight the important notes prior to exams.

 

Yeah … I’m not sure what to expect, but I do hope for the best and seeing how my son strolled toward the entrance with confidence, as well as a good luck hug from his sister, I was feeling better about the whole thing.

 

Heading to 1st grade, while his sister and I followed.

Heading to 1st grade, while his sister and I followed.

 

So that’s where I stand on the first grade … that and frustration over bad parking jobs.

Parents c’mon now, c’mon … common sense … common sense.

Good luck to the rest of you.