Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh, but I love them

Eighteen grade seven students. Thirteen girls, and five boys. They drive me crazy. They argue, they chatter, they ignore me, they push me. They also make me laugh. Alot! They pout one minute and smirk at me the next. I can be honest with them about funny stuff and serious stuff. Their work is beautiful. Their striving to understand the math of rates is inspiring. Their poetry and prose often leaves me breathless. They are alot of work. Alot of work. And in a year, it will be over. They will move onto highschool, and I will move on to another phase in my life. I have known some of them for seven years. Some for only one, but I love them all fiercely. Yes, all of them. Even the ones that drive me nuts sometimes.

I struggle with their parents at times. I wish the cards they were dealt were different. I worry about them as I project their behaviours into the future. I hope to be part of their grown-up lives in one way or another. Who knows?

They are a beautiful class. No, really, they are. They have made me a better teacher, a better person. But, it is, at times, exhausting. Bone weary exhausting.
Still, today was a good day. And maybe, just maybe, the decision to take them all camping in a week and a half wasn't folly afterall.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My migraines are the oddest thing. They always strike when I least expect it. They are always preceded by an aura of jagged lines in my right eye. They always scare me.

The first time it happened I was 25. I was at work. I thought I was having a stroke. It scared the shit out of me.

Now, I know what it is, and I usually try to pretend it isn't happening for a few minutes. But it is, and I have some very strong medication I take to ward off the headache that is sure to follow with 30 minutes.

So, I took the medication, two advil, and carried on teaching my class about the vast size of the solar system. We walked it.

We put the sun (a soccer ball) on the corner of 29th and St. Christophers and we started to pace off the distance to Mercury, then Venue, then Earth etc.

Mercury was the size of a pin head. Earth and Venus were peppercorns, Jupiter was a macadamia nut, Saturn, a hazel nut, Neptune and Uranus were coffee beans. Well, you get the picture.

We paced off 1019 paces(every pace = 3.6 million miles) to get to Pluto from the sun. One kilometer. The top of the hill we have been walking since January. How weird. Every morning my class and I were walking from the Sun to Pluto and back. Weird. And in the vastness of it all I am just a tiny invisible speck on a peppercorn. And one with a migraine to boot!

So in the big picture, I mean, the really big picture, me and my migraine are pretty insignificant. But, still, some say Hildegard de Bingen received her inspiration and revelations from her auras that may have been visual migraines.

I took my migraine to bed after school and slept deeply for 2 hours. As always, I awake slightly hung over from the medication and yet pain free.

Why am I writing about this? I don't know. But, I know that there is some mystery involved with my migraines. Perhaps it is a mystery as large as our solar system. Perhaps if I keep looking up, and looking out I will find the answer deep within.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sharing our lives

My dear friend posted on her blog about the importance of sharing our stories. Sometimes our stories don't seem important, or seem trivial in light of another's suffering, but our stories all have a purpose.

This same friend and I talked last week about the agreements we have made with those in our life. We were talking about those agreements made in another place, another time, before we incarnated on this earth. I believe that there are no accidental meetings, no unimportant conversations, no unnecessary moments.

To be human is hard. As spiritual beings, without our humanity which incumbers us, we know what our task is. We know what we came here to do. We know the agreements we made with those we are travelling through this life with. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes we don't understand why we have to go through the things we do. Sometimes we lose faith that there is a grand plan, and likely it is a plan that we ourselves envisioned. Sometimes it is too hard.

But, usually and often it isn't. We still get up in the morning. We still put our feet on the floor and head to the kitchen to put on the coffee. We call on friends to help us, and sometimes our friends call on us to check in, and check up.

There have been times when I have been in great despair and not known where to turn. There were those days when the only good thing I could say about waking up is that in 12 or 14 hours I could come back to bed. There were days when I sat at the kitchen table, looking out through the trees and wept. There were days when depression would wrap me so deeply I couldn't find a speck of comfort.

But, on those days people reached out to me. My daughter. My husband. My sister. My dear friend. They wouldn't let me drown in my despair. They made tea. They took me out for coffee. They started a campfire for me. They listened, and then they acted. They were all brave for me on those days I couldn't be brave.

We all have tragedies in our lives. But, if we had the choice would we trade our lives, our bundle of sorrows, for another? We know, I know, that I can bear my life. I don't know if I can bear another's.

Last week when I told my friend, "you are amazing, I don't think I could get out of bed if I had to bear your loss", she just listened. She simply said: I don't know how another would react to this. I just know that this is how I am reacting.

Because what else is there to do?

What else is there to do?

Give thanks for small miracles. Know that the answer will come if we ask the universe the question. The answer will come.

So, what question did I need answered recently? I received a cheque for $147.56. It was an inheritance. I should buy myself something nice in honour of my aunt I thought. Something I could wear in her memory. Earrings? A bracelet? A pendant? But there wasn't anything I really wanted.

But I knew what she would want. So, I made out a cheque to Covenant House, one of her favourite charities. Ir seemed fitting to do something for someone else. It was what she would have done. She would be brave when someone else couldn't be.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

and then there was light.

It has been 10 days since my cataract surgery. My goodness the world is bright. The lights in my classroom and living room feel like 300 watts. So, I would say that is success. Healing is taking time, and I am trying not to fret that it will all be fine. I see the surgeon on Tuesday for a check-in, check-up, and to book the next eye. It is crazy what modern medical science is capable of.

Also this past Friday I received the final documents about my Aunt's estate. She passed away three years ago this June 20th, and it is now done. I plan to visit her grave site soon to thank her for everything. It wasn't easy caring for her over all the years of her struggle with Alzheimer's and the past three years in wrapping up her business, but I don't regret any of it. I don't want to take back a minute of the care and worry, because it was supported with her limitless love for me.

So light is the word. And Spring is desperately trying to stay with us, and the light and warmth is very healing. I am struggling a bit with the medication I am on since the surgery. The eye drops are wreaking havoc with my stomach, and the cortisone drops are causing some serious 'fight or flight' reaction.....which I am trying to deal with by sleeping alot, although sleep is not coming easy.

Just keep breathing. There is always a reason to just keep breathing. Or, as my friend would say, just keep swimming!

I feel like I have a marathon ahead of me: marking, prep, camping trip, hike up the chief, rafting trip, organize a school 'fun' day, and report cards. And yet, I remember every day that I have it easy.

I know where my children are, and that they are safe. I know that I am loved. I know that I am healthy. I know that I am not dealing with any number of natural disasters: no floods, no hurricanes, no earthquakes, no tsunamis. I am lucky. I know that I am lucky.

So, without complaint, I will head off to fold laundry, mark main lesson books, make supper, and enjoy my guilty pleasure of 'celebrity apprentice' tonight.

Because after all, today there is light, in the literal and metaphorical sense. There is light, and it is good!

Thanks to God, in whatever form he/she has taken.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

to see, perchance to dream...

Day two after my cataract surgery. The surgery itself was very 2001: A space odyssey. Lots of coloured, swirly lights - kind of like the slide shows behind those bands in the 60s...

For the win, when I woke up on Friday morning I could see the bedside clock without putting on my glasses!

It is disorienting having one eye 'fixed' and the other still needing a very strong perscription, but using a contact in the left eye helps alot....although I haven't worn contacts for a long time so I am having to go slow with that.

I also had to buy some reading glasses, so I have a mixture of optical devices on the go at the moment. My post op check up was very good, and the distance in my new bionic eye is wonderful! My next check up is May 24th, and then I can book the 2nd surgery - can't wait....

I am tired though - really tired, so I think even though the surgery was only 10 minutes it takes alot out of you. And by you, I mean me!

I am supposed to be prepping for my last block of this grade seven year, but all I want to do is sleep.....maybe that is the effect of the Atavan. It didn't seem to do much on the surgery front, although I did see the floor outside of the OR start to move like it was a giant you decide.

This new eye will take some getting used to. Today I thought Brian was driving up too close to all the cars in traffic. Everything looks so much bigger. My near sightedness correction has been so severe for so many years that everything looked smaller than in real life. So now everything looks bigger. Our tv looks way bigger, and so do images on the tv. And man, have I every developed more wrinkles since the surgery!

Ok, so that's it. I am recovering well, and looking forward to eye two so that I am more balanced. (Like that's gonna help).

My brother says that with only one contact lens in place I might resemble Mrs. Peanut. I like that....I am off to find a glass topped cane!

Monday, May 9, 2011

First day back.....

I think they missed me. I didn't realize until I was there, back in the saddle, but I missed them too. There were only 11 there, due to illness (3) and a soccer tournament (4), but there was a sweet shyness and reconnecting with each other none-the-less.

I spent the day marking and finding things, and re-acquainting myself with all and sundry. It was a good day.

But, I am tired. I think the jet lag has caught up with me because it feels like bedtime at 7pm.

My surgery is Thursday - cataract surgery, new multi-focal lens will be inserted. I am nervous but so looking forward to being able to see! It has been a difficult 6 months sight-wise, and I am optimistic. My brother tells me that optimism is everything (well, that, and vitamin A, vitamin C and chlorophyll). He is taking care of my immune system and my mental state. I love him for that.

I was welcomed very sweetly by all my colleagues. It seems I was missed. That makes me feel good too.

I feel calm today, and will try not to re-enter the craziness of school politics too soon. I really just want to teach, and be with my class. I do love them fiercely. Even the 'imps'. I have no doubt they will grow up to be quite stellar in their lives. I look forward to witnessing that too.

So, you see, not much is happening. I am knitting a new purse, but with different colours that I am creating as I go. I am reading alot of fiction on my new KOBO ereader. I am watching hockey, and I am bragging about my kids. I am sure I am insufferable to be around these days. So proud. So proud.

So, two more days of teaching before my surgery....keep me in your thoughts....I hope to 'see' you all soon!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Mother's musings

I have been a mother for over 25 1/2 years. More if you count when I discovered I was pregnant. Even more if you count the young people and students I have 'mothered' since 1977. And, I think, there are more than just two people on this earth that would consider me their mother. I am proud of that. Proud that people consider me a mother, look to me for support and advice, and respect me in that 'mothering' role.
But for sure, I have two children, and forever and always I am their mother. The relationship I have with my children is amazing. It feels honest, it feels loving, it feels respectful, it feels like a two-way street without power issues or inequality.
They both come to me to share their joys, and their woes, their struggles, and their successes. I love them fiercely. So fiercely that sometimes it surprises me - even after 25 plus years it surprises me.
One is across the country continuing a life miles from home. One is sometimes home, but more often somewhere far away pursuing dreams of a 25 year old. It is as it should be.
But I miss them. They were so much of my life for so many years, and now I hold a more peripheral position, watching their lives unfold, enjoying their company, cheering them on, praying for them, admiring them, holding them ever in my heart.
If home is where the heart is, then they are both always home in me, in their father, in those that love them wherever they are.

So, to my dear son and daughter, thank you for the privilege of being your mother.
Whether it is spelled Mum, or Mom, I will answer for as long as I can, and even after that.