We have been under tornado warnings all morning; so I decided to take this chance to chill with a cup of coffee and blog a little.
What a difference three days makes. While the tragedy in CT is still heavy on my heart, kindness and love for my students has replaced some of the hurt. It was an amazing 3 days. I was nervous about what to say to my students on Monday. I knew they wouldn't respond well to me crying and hugging them endlessly; so I chose to NOT take that route (even though that's what I wanted to do). After some reading from educational psychologists, I decided to follow the advice of letting the children be the guide for discussion- be open, honest, but protect them from gory details, and constantly reassure them of their safety and your love. Monday, not a single word about the shootings. We had a lot of "teacher code"- patting each other on the back, checking in on our coworkers, but none of us actually talked about it. Hugs from parents, people being kinder at school, an additional officer wandering around, but no actual discussions. Tuesday was much the same, except we had our annual Christmas program, The Grinch. This time we had MANY officers there, County Sheriffs, even. Still no word about the shootings from students or teachers. In all honesty, I was relieved. Wednesday, we had a quiet lunch outside, and slowly the children began to speak about it. They didn't know much, thankfully. 5th graders are so smart. They had already made the connection that more police on campus was a result of the CT tragedy. They just wanted to make sure. So, I told them yes, that is why we had a few extra officers, and that we wanted to do everything we could to make the school as safe as possible. One child said, "My mom told me that the teachers saved a lot of the kids. I know you'd do that for us." I know I would try, but would I be successful????? I reassured them that I would ALWAYS keep them safe. And just like that, they started talking about something else. Children are amazing.
I did some extra things to help bring Christmas joy to the classroom this year: full-sized tree, lots of crafts, hot chocolate and a movie, gifts, etc. It was a great 3 days.
And then there's this little bronchitis thing. Yeah, I've been battling coughing since Thursday. It became increasingly worse, going deep into my chest. I could hardly make it through a run without losing my lung on the side of the road. I went to the Dr. on Sunday, but left b/c it was SO crowded. There was no sitting room in the waiting area! Tuesday, I let the school nurse listen to my chest, and she said it sounded pretty bad and encouraged me to go. So I did and I have bronchitis.
I am now medicated with antibiotics, cough syrup, and an inhaler. I've somewhat been keeping up with my runs. I've been doing the main run, but no doubles, and no workout. The night I was going to do my track work, I had a fever. Ick. School is out; so now I recover and get well.
I'm so excited! I'm having Keith's family (his WHOLE family) over for Christmas dinner this Saturday. There is going to be 12 adults and 4 kids all in my little house. When I offered for them to come, I never dreamed they would say yes. To me, Saturday makes us "official"- that point where his family becomes mine and that maybe, just MAYBE we will get married soon. Kind of leads me to my next point...
The human heart is so amazing. It was exactly 5 years ago when I learned my husband was having an affair with my best friend. At the time I taught 3rd grade, and she was my coworker. We were thicker than thick- went on trips together, talked every day, BFFs... or so I thought. It's not important for me to share ALL the gory details, but when I found out, I was actually at school. To say I was shocked would be a gross understatement. My entire soul was crushed. I used to be one to wear "rose colored glasses," probably to the point of stupidity. The shock and heartbreak I experienced that day and the year following is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I spent the year after that day trying to forgive and heal, only to be stabbed in the heart once again by the person who was supposed to be my soul mate. I swore off men, swore off holiday shirts, swore off headbands, ballet flats, and animal prints. I went through emotional hell and back. And somehow I survived.
Somehow I was given a 2nd chance at love. My heart allowed someone else in. God sent me a man that makes me wonder why I wasted any tears on my ex- a man that thinks of me first, always sees the best in me, but accepts the bad things, too. God sent me someone that I want to be my Forever Person. The human heart is amazing.
Merry Christmas, friends! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, please accept my wishes of LOVE in whatever you are doing this time of year. :)