An Untold Story

I saw the inspiration quote about writing about the things that hurt you.

write about them

There is a part of my journey in parenthood that I am ready to share.  I do not always feel like writing about it. But since this challenge began, it is always trying to sabotage all my topics for the day.  I do not know when I will write about this again.  I know that this is the platform where I want to record my thoughts, reflection and feelings about the experience.  I did not do it when I was in the midst of the storm, but I can reflect back on it now.    That reflection lets me know that I am in a moment of healing from the grief and the pain.

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This is the beginning of my story with my eldest Joshua.  His existence has made me experience some of my darkest days, but in that darkness I know that I became a better person, it made me mature in such a way that allowed me to appreciate every aspect of my life and to be grateful.

And there it was, as I stared in awe at the ultrasound showing a tiny blob swimming.  Then it was real, the doctor found your heartbeat, it was so fast.  That is when I knew it was real.  You were real, there is no real description for the feeling of knowing that a life was growing inside of me.  The anger I felt towards your father’s audacity to miss our first appointment quickly dissipated.  My excitement and brightness of that day were met by dark clouds and grayness after the doctor kept measuring and re-measuring you and my belly. The room fell into a silence that could be pierced by the slightest sound.  The alarms in my head and my heart went off, and my mind screamed: There is something wrong. My hands got cold as I bit my lower lip as I fought back tears.  I had no control about what was happening. I had no idea of what was going on and the doctor’s silence hurt more than anything he could say.  She finally broke the silence by asking me every date I could remember, last period, and date of the pregnancy test, was I sure, and was there any doubt in my mind.  No, I timidly answered, I was sure of the dates, my body kept screaming that something was going on, that there was something wrong even if I could not name it.  There was no doubt in my mind there were big changes coming.

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Nothing else was said, besides a referral to a Perinatologist. A specialist, there was something terribly wrong.  As I drove back to the apartment, there were many thoughts in my mind. Did I do something wrong? What was the problem? What could I do to solve it? Did I not find out early enough? I had a confirmation at 6 weeks.  There was no doubt that my morning sickness sent your dad into an almost panic attack.  As I walked up the stairs to our apartment, the mixed emotions were indescribably I proudly showed off the sonogram with your first “pictures,” the undeniable fact that you had your daddy’s nose.  As I shared the news, I saw the excitement in Joshua’s eyes and I had to tell him: I think there is something wrong…

There was an unbroken agreement between Josh and I from that point on, he did not miss any doctor’s appointments.  We were unsure of the outcome and the future. From that point forward, we were to embark on an unexpected journey, a journey that shook me to my core.  The perinatologist visit was the most difficult visit of all.  The U4b3ae8141ffddd9d173c8fae979e31a3ultrasound tech measured and re-measured the baby’s growth, the endless questions about dates and periods, and everything else just reminded me that something in my body was completely out of my control and it was not good.  After that visit I had many terms to google.  Yes, google because it was exactly what I needed right then. Information, odds for survival, experience of others, information, I wanted to arm myself with information because that was the only control I could have at that moment.  The doctor gave me the news, there was reverse diastolic flow on the umbilical cord which meant that whatever the baby needed to receive, returned to my body for a few seconds.  It had caused IUGR (Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction). It had sent my body into a state of shock: High blood pressure, fatigue, every morning when I woke up, my body immediately swelled up as if I was soon to go into labor.  The prognosis was bleak.  The doctor’s recommendations were: bed rest, Amniocentesis test, worst case scenario termination of the pregnancy.  You know what I remember? They called my baby a fetus…and whatever they said about my health and the grave danger I was in was lost to my ears (not lost to Joshua’s ears, who now tells me how worried he was).  From then on, I went to the doctor more than I wanted to, I googled everything there was to know about the dangers of an early delivery and the best chance for my baby’s survival.

 

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Books and Memories

I love books. Being an early elementary educator for 6 years gave me an opportunity to collect many picture books that I used for mini lessons, put in my student library, or (let’s face it) were sitting in my garage for too long because I could not let my husband know I had gotten them off EBay (for a really good deal, promise.). I completely embraced that philosophy of allowing kids to be surrounded by books. Sure, guided reading works, but I also believed in kids finding books they fell in love with just because.

So, when I moved up to fourth grade this year, I was so grateful to find myself with colleagues that love books, that are avid readers, that share books and the stories every day. I love that, seriously they are brilliant! I could not tell them that I probably only read picture books for the past couple of years, sure there were some professional books scattered here and there but nothing like seeing and hearing of the many books they read. I have to say that in my younger years the library was my safe haven. I can recall going through phases checking out twenty picture books each weekend, or
finding the ghost stories, or finally realizing I loved to read R.L. Stine books even if I thought the stories were so good for such lousy endings. I wondered which book would be the first one I read.

One morning, Sofia (one of my students) walked in the classroom hugging a book and asking me if I had read it. Esperanza Rising. I told her no, but she began telling me the story of a young girl who has to leave her hometown in Mexico, where she lived in her father’s Ranch, and had to migrate to be a farmworker in California. The story line had already intrigued me. I asked her to tell me what chapter she was on, and to not tell me more of the story because we would read it together. My job was to find the book and begin reading. I was immediately drawn to the story. Pam Munoz Ryan’s description of the life of a thirteen year old girl’s world turned upside down from
riches and privilege to her transformation and return to being in tune with the earth tells a tale of resilience, growth, and the importance of community. Suffices to say that I could not put the book down, I was stealing minutes any chance I got. We would talk about it in class, and other kids were now curious about it. This is the first
book I read in fourth grade (as a teacher).

I have now looked for books, book recommendations, stories that draw me in and would draw my kids in. I get to fall in love with books all over again. Looking for books that engage my kiddos, seeing them excited as I hand them a new book for their book club is one of my favorite things about fourth grade. I love being surrounded by the
new buzz of a book, a Skype interview with an author, a list of book recommendations. I have been so lucky to work alongside teachers that have allowed me to learn and grow so much because of the type of teachers that they are, the type of colleagues that have made a transition in grade level seamless, and whose conversations I look forward to because of their dedication to what really matters.

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Perfection or Courage

Each day the topic of my blog just shows up. I tried to make a list of what I would write about each day, but that just doesn’t work for me.  I have to think about the day, I have to feel the mood, I have to reflect on the many thoughts going through my mind.  Let’s face it, I still procrastinate before I write.  Facebook? Pinterest? Articles? Whatever it is, my boys are in bed and I have now adopted a habit of typing away as I await Joshua’s arrival from school or work.

The question that percolates in my mind after a Ted Talk by Reshma Saujani on the importance of raising a generation of girls who are taught to be courageous, rather than being perfect.   Reshma recounts how it was not until she was 33 years old that she took the risk, raised her hand (didn’t I write about this last night?) and ran for Congress.  She did not win, but her experience changed the direction of her career and allowed her to help young girls to embrace imperfection.

What do you value in yourself? What do you value from those around you? Which one of the two do you value more in your classroom?

There is a tendency to admire courage in others, observe in awe as their brave actions seem effortless yet we do not see the inner struggle with imperfection. Reshman states, “We have been socialized to be perfect,” and each day perfection is what we measure against in ALL aspects of our lives.  We ignore those moments of bravery that occur in our minds, hearts, and actions each and every day.  Because we EXPECT perfection from ourselves.  Anything less than perfect makes us feel like we have not done enough, we did not try enough, or we can never achieve excellence.

May you realize today that you are brave.

You are courageous.

You are enough.

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I want a puppy.

Slice of Life #5

It was October 31st 2015, like any Saturday, we enjoy family breakfasts without rushing to work or school.  Our weekend breakfast consists of pancakes topped with over-easy eggs, it has become a staple in my house and my boys love them.  The thought of adopting a puppy had been invading my mind.  As a family, we had already visited the Animal Shelter “just to see” if there were any puppies that we could adopt.  Also, I wanted to persuade Josh that having a pet was the best idea I ever had.

Convincing the boys that they really wanted a puppy was not difficult.  We had looked at pictures online of all the cute puppies.  They were my secret weapon to convince their daddy, they would deliver the strongest reason of why we need a puppy with their big brown eyes that would blink a little faster because they know that their charming looks are impossible to ignore.

The reasons that I had were endless: the boys are a perfect age to have a puppy and they can grow together. The boys would learn responsibility (ok, I understand the fallacy in this argument. Parents end up taking care of puppies) but Josh did not know that, right?  How awesome would it be for the boys to play fetch with a puppy in the backyard on sunny Texas days?  (I did not give any consideration to snowy days, rainy days, windy days, and lazy days).  Even though their arguments were perfect, Joshua knew the truth.  This puppy had nothing to do with the boys.  Mommy wanted a puppy.

Even though we looked at the dogs that were available, none met our criteria.  There was no luck again. Mysteriously we always ended up on the cat’s side of the shelter.  We played with puppies but I have never been a cat person.  As we were playing with a small white and grey kitten, we realized that it was just too playful and young.  At the last minute, the volunteer at the shelter that day said that there was another cat.  A black cat that was calm.  She asked if she could bring it to the room and there was no harm.  I definitely was not going to walk out of the shelter with a cat.  A CAT.  I have never even had a cat.  It was a bigger cat, and at the time we thought an older cat.  He was gentle and calm.  No little kitten nonsense.  The boys were trying to play with him, but he did not want to play.  The difference between this cat and others is that it did not seem to bother him that the boys were curious, inquisitive, touching his fur and holding him.

It was a black cat. On Halloween.  Of course we were not going to take it.  Josh, who was holding the cat, said it.  “I am the new owner of this cat.”  We decided to act like we did not hear what he said, but as we were walking, we automatically stopped and looked at each other.  You can imagine the dialogue: “Joshua really liked the cat,” “Cats take less maintenance,” “a cat would be easier to take care of,” etc. then the decision was made.  My idea of a puppy had turned into a cat.  A black cat.  Shadow.

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I.did.not.write.

Slice of Life #4

Ok. It happened. I was not naïve thinking that I would come to this Challenge and just be able to be successful. No, it was Friday and I did.not.blog.  It was Friday, I came home actually looking forward to writing about my day and it did not happen. Every day I had felt a sense of accomplishment for being brave each night and blogging about things that I usually do not say.  But this morning, even my husband asked what I blogged about and I had to say it. I did not blog. I did not write about anything. HE even seemed disappointed, “so you broke the trend you had going already,” Yes. I know the how a habit is formed, you make whatever it is a ritual, rain or shine, day, or night, you just have to write.  But I did not.  It reminded me of how disappointed I feel when I do not follow through, and instead of coming back more determined to continue, it does completely the opposite. It makes me feel like there is no way I can keep going.  What is different about the SOL challenge, is that it has become my little corner in the blogosphere.  I really appreciate those of you that read my words.  It has given me the liberty to play with words, to turn small moments in my life and turn it into a story.  I read a quote recently that stated that we are made up of stories. we look for those around us that share similar experiences that are brave enough to share.  I will keep writing.

Writing, Writing, Writing

Writing…

Words, meaning, sharing, audience, VOICE

There was a time where I thought of myself as a writer, often a notebook under my arm looking for inspiration to write about life, love, adventures.

This part of me slowly slipped away as life became more complex, grappling with difficult emotions, conundrums, and the weight of what seems as unsurmountable responsibilities often left notebooks filled with blank pages; fancy, colorful pens unused.

Today, I received a last minute invitation to participate in the Slice of Life Challenge for the month of March.  My first reaction is to put the idea away, save it for next year, I mean, when would I find the time, the ideas, the desire to write….

Writing for an audience leaves me with an uneasy feeling since I do not know how others are going to think of my writing, my thoughts, my ruminations, and my life.   Yet here I am with only a few hours to decide to take the plunge and write or skip this, forget about the idea of SOL and decide that I am not ready to feel vulnerable with my endless ruminations in the blogosphere.

I have never seen myself as a writer… in fact my search for voice has often been halted, I have decided to leave many things unsaid.  When I am required to write…I freeze, I doubt, I hesitate, I procrastinate, and leave whatever it is unfinished.

Not this time.

I have decided to write.

I have decided to expose the messy, sometimes overwhelming, beautiful, imperfect wonderful life of a mom, teacher,  and seeker of new educational adventures.  This is the commitment to myself…to find the time, to be inspired, to take notice, to be grateful, to share with others the art of writing.