Giving Thanks

This is about giving thanks and realizing those you need the most are placed in your path at the right times. These past few days I felt God’s presence in the hugs and faces of those that mean so much to me.

We all go through emotionally draining days, both mentally and physically. Sometimes while you are going through those days it’s hard to see things clearly and fear has a tendency of blinding you and making things worse. Having the support of family and friends brings you back to the surface and allows you to see clearer and helps confirm you are doing the right thing.

This is to the very small few that have listened and gone through this with me. For understanding and allowing my heart to speak it’s truth without holding back. From pulling me back and forth and then back again. It’s for helping to pick me up from the floor but allowing me to kneel carefully to pray.

This morning God’s presence was with someone very special. You wake up with so many emotions and crazy thoughts in your head and then suddenly a call comes in and changes things for the better. Sometimes that one thing, big or small, changes your life’s direction. All you can do is say thank you and hope the person on the other end knows just how much you appreciate them.

I want to say thank you for the events leading up to today.

I just want to say, THANK YOU!

School begins, memories, emotions, loss, sadness and hope. All things wrapped up in one day.

Summer is coming to an end and a new school year begins. This year the kids will be in 5th grade. Give me a second to let that sink in… Holy cow, 5th grade! I can’t believe come Monday my two beautiful miracles will be walking the halls of their elementary school for the last year. They will be the oldest kids in the school and the doors will open for new activities and events leading up to their last days of elementary school. How did this happen? 

I remember the days it all started and how many challenges they faced right from the start. Parents would tell me to enjoy every moment of it because the time will pass and you won’t realize how important all those moments were. At the time, exhausted and afraid I thought the time would never pass but boy was I wrong. My 2lb 10oz and 4lb 12oz miracle babies are growing and thriving each day. And those days led us here. Their 5th grade year. 

Leading up to the beginning of the school year teachers send out letters to families introducing themselves to make the teacher “Meet and Greet” not so surprising. It also gives the kids some comfort knowing a little story about each teacher. As the letters were coming, we noticed that a lot of my daughter’s friends were not in her class. Most were in one class and some were spread out. She was really excited to have her friends together for her last year of elementary school but that wasn’t showing to happen. 

At that point she turned to me and said, “it’s ok mommy, I will make more friends in my new class.” What a grown up answer, I thought. I felt more at ease until the Meet and Greet. We got to meet her wonderful teachers. They were amazing and kind. She was happy to see them. It wasn’t until later and after she played with all her friends in the schoolyard that she felt a little down. I guess it hit her that she wouldn’t be in class with any of her close friends for her last school year. 

It will be a little different but so were the last couple of years with Covid. Things are rapidly changing every day and we need to stay positive and keep moving forward. It’s amazing how the kids have been at the same school since pre-k. Growing in a building as they have each year becomes like a second home. They see many familiar faces and welcoming staff and teachers that played a part in their life and create beautiful memories that will be with them always. We have been really fortunate with the amazing teachers we’ve had through the years. Reflecting back on this journey has me both crying and smiling. I will keep the faith that both my kids are right where they need to be to help them grow and explore this new and final year at their school. Maybe I am just a ball of emotions right now. 

So many things are happening all at once and my head and heart are feeling heavy.

In just the past week I have been to two funerals and that is not counting the others before that week. 

Today will be another one. Today is also September 11. Not only are we remembering all those that lost their life 20 years ago on that tragic September day. I am thinking of one very special friend who lost her life in one of the towers. She was kind and beautiful. I had the gift of being her friend and knowing her in elementary and when I moved, I enjoyed the many letters we exchanged through the years. She touched many lives and still does. 

Today I’m also remembering the many lives that are taken by COVID and just the loss that happens every day. Not only because COVID. So many lives are leaving us. Today is a heavy day felt all around the world, not just here. Today is the day for us to all mourn together in our own way. 

I would like to extend comforting healing hugs to all that are mourning a loss today. All those who are dealing with something so great that they are feeling alone. You are never alone. There is always someone there. Thinking of you. Praying for you and just smiling because someone said your name. 

I want to wish teachers, school staff, families and students all starting a new school year safety and good health. I hope this year is better than last and continues to be strong. May we each feel comfort in knowing our kids and families will be safe. 

Sorry. I told you I was all over the place with emotions.

Opt-in now, It’s not over?

There is still so much going on about schools opening, opting in or out, blended learning, fully remote, etc… There’s a lot of people that truly don’t have the children’s best interest at heart but you also have those that care so unbelievably much you can see it bursting from their eyes. We have been fully remote since last year when COVID all began. We wanted to make sure our families were safe and remained safe. We wanted to help others stay safe and stop the spread. We did our best like many others to be informed and follow doctors advice and listen to all that was going on. It was all so new and everyone had an opinion. People were harsh and became obnoxious, conspiracies and hoax rumors began. This all while we saw life fading. People dying right in front of our eyes. People we knew and loved. People we never even met but felt the loss deeply. 

We saw hospitals being filled over capacity. Patients set up on the open streets surrounding the hospitals and in parking lots. Tents were set up, equipment was needed. We saw the tired passionate faces of medical staff and workers. First responders were working horribly extended hours too. We saw refrigerated trailer trucks pulling up to hospitals to store bodies of those who didn’t make it, to make room in hospitals for other patients. I can still these images playing in slow motion in my head. Visions that will never leave me. 

Our eyes were permanently glued to the news as we cringed and watched in fear. The unknowing is the fear that builds so rapidly in our bodies. This feels like a lifetime ago but it was a year ago, and at the same time feels like only yesterday. And it’s still not over, but the relief I’m sure we all felt was when those refrigerated trailer trucks pulled away from hospitals never to return. Vaccinations becoming available. 

Now we can continue our part by getting vaccinated. Helping those that can’t get to a vaccination site or can’t complete the proper protocols needed to get an appointment. We need to continue to help each other so that more lives aren’t rapidly taken away from us. So that hospitals aren’t once again over filled. We need to keep COVID away or help reduce the deathly scary symptoms. The vaccine doesn’t make it go away but it reduces the risks of hospitalization, being put on a ventilator, and helping to maintain the symptoms especially for our elderly and immunocompromised family and friends. Together we can help. There’s no room for selfishness here. We are one world under God. Let’s help him help us.

Now let me go back to why I began my ramble about schools. There has been a lot of confusion. A lot of lies being told both to families and school staff. I get it. No one knows and people are all trying to do what’s right. We are tired. We are scared for many reasons. As a parent there’s a lot of fear. Fear for our kids safety and health. Fear of making the wrong decisions for our children. Will they learn or regress? Are they so far away from real socialization that it’s taking a toll on their growth and well being. There are so many factors and feelings going on in my head as I’m sure many others are going through similar emotions. 

I keep beating myself up trying to figure out what is right at this stage. 

Vaccinations are more available now. We are fully vaccinated. There seems to be light coming in through all the linings that have been forming around us. The opt-in that was told to us in the very beginning is now available to families once again. Things are feeling a bit better but things aren’t over and not close to being over. But there is now hope. A hope that was fading is now coming to life.

I heard such horrible stories about schools and staff but I am thankful for the school my children attend. Thankful for all they have been doing to stay vigilant, a head of it all (even though it seems impossible), to keep us informed, truly caring about their students, even if it comes at a   higher price at times. As much as I always want my kids in school, I am thankful that we had the ability to keep them home throughout all this time. We finally found a groove and consistency that worked for our family with the help of amazing teachers and staff. My fear of our kids lacking or not learning disappeared after seeing how excited they were about seeing their teacher. Hearing the excitement they still had for school. 

After our first parent teacher conference, I truly got to see the love their teacher displayed for not only our kids but all her students. Then the second parent teacher conference hit and she spoke of our children’s growth, participation and all the wonderful things she shared thereafter. It opened my eyes to confirm how resilient children really are and how hard they keep trying and striving to do the best they can even in these crazy circumstances. Of course, we have the outbursts out of the school day. Little things you can see they have picked up as their way to cope and deal with all that is happening right before them. 

How can they not? As a parent and an adult, I struggle and I try to find my own ways to deal with all that is going on so that my children do not suffer or pay for my actions. 

We are all dealing with it the best way we can. Even struggling not only within ourselves but also with family members. Trying to figure out what is best for our family with different minds coming together can be hard. Agreeing isn’t always there but we look past that to see the bigger picture. Maybe the decision is one sided and needs getting used to or maybe we come together after a lot of “what ifs” but we do it. 

It’s not without heavy hearts, and constant discussions pleasant or not, it’s what has to be done. 

What helps is that I know my school has protocols in place that are being followed. I know teachers (who I call friends) truly care about their kids. They care so much that it hurts them when they can’t hug students and comfort their kids when it is needed but they have found other ways to get them through it. They are “not” babysitters but educators. They are the inspiration that keeps children looking up and moving forward. They are providers of tools that they need each day to reach higher. Each teacher in their own field provides so much for the mind and soul. They keep our kids happy and learning, moving and growing, singing and dancing. They are steps that help them climb to a new level. Sometimes while stumbling they provide support so they don’t fall and if they happen to fall, they make sure they know someone is always there while at school to help. 

Not all teachers, principals, and school staff are the same but if you have that special group, you are one of the lucky few. 

All this doesn’t mean I’m not afraid or my heart doesn’t sink several times a day, it just means we are getting through it all, we have to. 

I’m grateful every day that I have someone at my side to be my strength when I’m crumbling. I am thankful that through it all he’s been a pillar of strength and flat out bluntness. That he’s researched every aspect of every situation and gave me the ability to see things more clearly. Even when I am frustrated and we see things differently, which definitely happens he allows me to feel it through. Who agrees anyhow, right? But for right now, it’s going to carry us and damn, it has to!