I See You

You walk down the hallway
Eyes forward, downcast
Your expression distant
As if somewhere else
Maybe at home
Maybe your previous school
I don’t know, but
I see you
A storm, churning
Under the surface
Barely able to
Maintain control
I can’t help wondering
What happened to you
What made you
So angry
I smile and say
Good morning
Your glance is quick
Your words inaudible
Standing in the breakfast line
You remain stoic
Surrounded by
An invisible wall
Your actions
Presenting a mystery
I am afraid
To solve
Tomorrow, I will
Greet you again
Hoping for a small
Crack in that wall
Allowing in a little light
To let you know
You are not alone
I see you

I wrote these words after a brief encounter with a new student at school this morning. An encounter that left me sad, but challenged. I have no doubt there is a story. Another one in a sea of many, I’m afraid. Another student in desperate need of connection. Another student facing unimaginable challenges.

I wish my words were an exaggeration. That tomorrow, someone would inform me I was mistaken. That this kiddo was just having a bad day. But I know that is not the case.

And yet, I have hope. Hope that seeing one child at a time, right where they are, can make a difference. ❤

Wedding Week

Well, it is wedding week for our son, Robert, and his fiancé, Erin. By this time next Sunday, their celebration will be added to our family album of wonderful memories. All the hard work and planning worth the outcome.

Of course, that outcome encompasses so much more than the wedding day. Yes, that day will be a beautiful reminder of a new beginning. But it’s just the beginning. There is so much more to come.

As parents, our roles are continuously transforming. Yes, we are still here to help and offer advice. But they are now adults, making their own way in this world. Walking more often beside us, instead of viewing us as the guides.

I must admit, this change brings some rollercoaster moments for me. Questions. Am I embracing my new roles with the same excitement as when I was first a parent? Am I providing enough support while giving needed space?

Truthfully, their questions are more important than mine. How do I know they have questions? Because I remember our beginning. The excitement and the uncertainties.

Right now, at this moment, I want them to know how much they are loved. And how excited we are to celebrate with them. I also want to remind not to sweat the details. It is going to be a beautiful wedding!

So, bring on the vases, lights, flowers, and music. The dress, the suit, the rings, the promises. Get ready for family and friends to surround and lift you up. Expect lots of smiles and laughter, and maybe a few tears. But most of all, enjoy your day! ❤

Just What I Needed

“When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.”

Words from a hymn I’ve known since childhood. Words I’ve heard twice this week in a newer version of the song. The rhythms and melodies were new, but the words remained the same. A combination that evoked a much-needed sense of peace and rest.

The first hearing brought back memories. The second hearing brought the realization of just how much I needed to remember.

Yesterday, I received my second steroid spinal injection. I’m happy to report no fainting this time. Whew! However, it left me feeling anxious and restless. And though extremely tired, unable to sleep.

My evening became a cycle of panic, no sleep, and tears. The thought of my 5:30 A.M. alarm loomed. Followed closely by the thought of teaching school after only three-four hours of sleep. All I could think was, extra coffee!

My morning classes were surprisingly successful! Time with students and teacher friends seemed to help my energy increase. Even my fifth-grade class after lunch was acceptable. 😉

But then, my energy began to fade. I could feel myself hitting a wall. How in the world would I make it through physical therapy after school? For a few seconds, I considered canceling. After all, I just had that injection yesterday. Surely they would understand.

But when I got in my car, there was that hymn again. I smiled and began to sing along. On this second hearing, a new phrase stood out; “Weak made strong, in the Savior’s love.”

So I headed to physical therapy, my energy starting to return. A bottle of water and a protein snack pack may have helped a little. It helped my body anyway. But it was the music that lifted my spirit.

Therapy left me with a feeling of restored purpose. And though I walked away tired, it was a good tired. A tired that reminded me of the importance of taking care of my physical body.

All of this from the simple words of a new/old hymn. A hymn I heard twice in one week. Reminders of love, strength, and grace. Old words combined with new music to provide just what I needed.

Inspired

This past Thursday evening was a Parent/Teacher conference night at my school. I was assigned to help at an information table. As families entered the building, we greeted them, shared PTA/fundraiser/community information, answered questions and gave directions if needed.

When I arrived at the table, I was introduced to a woman who had volunteered to be an interpreter for the evening. She was a real go-getter. Friendly, reaching out to families without hesitation.

We chatted during the breaks, and I soon learned she was originally from Venezuela. She shared with me about her family and some upcoming reunion plans. Two of her sisters were flying in that very night! And another had flown in unexpectedly earlier that day.

She had tears of joy as she told me about the surprise. This would be the first time that her siblings had been together in thirty years. Thirty years.

Part of their reunion would include a 70th birthday party for one of the sisters. She smiled as she mentioned the photo album that they were compiling for the birthday girl. So many years of memories.

I got teary-eyed listening to her story. The thought of being separated from my family for thirty years…well, I have difficulty even imagining.

Our shift at the information table was over. I wished her well and said how I enjoyed meeting her. “Oh, I’m sure I’ll see you around here again,” she said. I smiled, “Well, I expect to see a photo of you and your sisters!”

On the drive home, all I could think about was talking to her again. She must have a story that needs to be told. I hope for the opportunity to know and share it.

The only word I could think of to describe how I felt after our visit? Inspired.

Stay tuned…

Thoughtful Gift

Sometimes the simplest things bring the most joy. And when they are unexpected, it is even better.

I am having some difficulty with my neck and left arm. A herniated disc seems to be the culprit. Activities such as playing the piano and typing are not helpful at this time. Of course, these are two of the things I enjoy the most.

A package came today. I had not ordered anything, so I assumed it was for my husband. He called after work and asked if I had opened the package. “No. I didn’t know what it was.” “Well, there is something in there for you,” he said.

What was it? An adjustable, 8-position, laptop desk. He knows how much I love to write. And that I prefer sitting in my comfortable chair or sitting in bed, propped up with pillows when I am writing.

Perfect timing. ❤

Writing helps me take care of myself. This desk will help me be able to continue writing while also taking care of my neck.

Tonight I am thankful for my husband, and this thoughtful gift.

Snow Day

Today was the perfect snow day. An announcement was made last night that there would be no school today. That meant no need to set an alarm!

The sound of sleet falling woke me up around 4:00 A.M. Of course, I had no trouble going back to sleep. Our dog, Poppy, was the next to wake me up. Her trip outside was quick, and it was back to sleep again.

Poppy’s little paw prints. 😉

Around 7:00 A.M., I decided to make some coffee. This time, snow was falling! The grass and trees were covered with a beautiful white blanket. After a hot bowl of oatmeal, another cup of coffee, and a check of the news-it was time to go back to sleep.

That is the beauty of a snow day. It is certainly not something I can do on any given day. But when the opportunity arises, I don’t pass it up. The truth is, I repeated this coffee/sleep/news process one more time. Minus the oatmeal, of course.

The snow is such a beautiful reminder of fresh starts. Everything gets covered. Given a chance to rest. In a sense, forced to rest. To put away the responsibilities and worries of the day.

Beautiful snow, beautiful trees.

Yes, they will still be there tomorrow. But the extra physical rest may be just what I need to approach them with a clear head. Perhaps see them from a new perspective with renewed energy.

But for now, it is still a snow day. And I think it is time for a nap!