Happy Birthday G.G.

We met my first year of teaching.  I was enthusiastic, motivated, and, without a doubt, wet behind the ears.  You had fifteen years of teaching under your belt, so you were seasoned, honed, and realistic.  I needed you that first year, your encouragement, advice, support, and not just in regards to teaching.  I have needed you every year since then too.

After meeting and talking and talking and talking, we realized we grew up only a hop, skip, and jump from one another, and I think this simply solidified our similarities.  Perhaps, the Midwest can do that to people.

You welcomed me into your home, allowed me to play with your kiddos, and invited me to your various house parties.  Come to think of it, I am just now truly making use of those stamps I bought years ago.

We laughed until we cried riding on a school bus with a driver who spent more time looking in his overhead mirror than looking at the road.  Grateful you were with me on the first field trip I ever hosted, you took the lead when a child’s mother ended up having diarrhea while this yellow means of transportation was in motion.  I, in the meantime, had my nose poked out the window in an attempt to put an end to my retching.  Yes, I was useless.

This same year, we fell in love with crew neck sweatshirts adorned with various patterned fabrics and sayings due to a student’s talented mother.  With overwhelming trust, you permitted me, with no beauty expertise whatsoever, to trim your hair in your classroom after school one day using a student’s borrowed scissors.

At the end of that first year after we had said our farewells  to the rest of the staff, we walked out the doors of this school together.  You would be returning the next year while I took a teaching gig in another town.  I remember panicking at the thought of having to teach without you down the hall and the idea that perhaps our friendship may grow apart with distance.  This did not happen;  if anything my heart grew fonder for you with the absence.

Fifteen years later, we have so many more tales to tell and so many more memories to create.  So, on this your birthday, I wish you great love and much bliss along with bus rides free of diarrhea.

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Monday (should be Sunday) Thanks

Sunday Monday Thanks.  My children never cease to amaze me, and I am constantly learning from them.  When we asked our two daughters to make a Christmas list, my oldest daughter added, “7.  for everyone to be jolly at all times.”  If this does not put life in perspective, I do not know what does.  Not to mention, 4 of the 7 items on the list are books.  One proud English teach of a momma here. . .

jolly

A friend I have known for over twenty-five years e-mailed me this morning asking if my girls might be interested in her doll collection.  She wrote, ” . . .it’s time for me to pass them along to the next generation . . . [and] I was thinking that your girls may like them.”  The collection itself is not what touched me, but the fact she thought enough of my girls to pass on a sentimental collection.  Who knew when we were sitting on the page bench in the Illinois House of Representatives twenty-five years ago talking about boys, about which representative tipped the best, and about when we would next soak up the sun we would one day be talking about bequeathing items to others?

In the mail today I found my FREE “You Just Got Joy’d!” cards, and I was ecstatic.  I am looking forward to using these in the next few weeks in an attempt to brighten the days of others (which, in turn, brightens my day . . . can’t beat that).

The hub and I have a visitation and a funeral to attend out of town.  As we were trying to figure out the logistics of a dog, two small girls, two jobs, and volunteer coaching, my salt-of-the-earth friends stepped in without hesitation with one covering practice and the other watching my girls while my hub and I travel.  I am deeply grateful for them as is my hub.

Today is the birthday of a dear friend whom I met at church over five years ago.  A phenomenal writer, she was there for me every step of the way during my breast cancer journey with just the right words when I needed them.  Not wanting to bother my hub with the numerous appointments as I felt he had enough to deal with considering his wife was losing her breasts, she said, “You need to let him in,” and so I did.

Motivating words from a teacher and author whom I know I met for a reason my first year of teaching.  She mentors me, incites much laughter in me, and, most importantly, loves me unconditionally.

For what are you thankful this Monday?  Share below in the comments section so that others may realize how much they have in which to be thankful.

Sunday Thanks: Gpa O.

Ninety-one years young is the age my hub’s grandpa is turning today, and I am so grateful to have him in my life.  I first met him twelve years ago at my then boyfriend’s (now hub) doctoral defense.  I had not met any family members to this point, and this is the day I met not only his parents and brother, but also his grandparents.  I was definitely sweating bullets.

A couple of weeks later, the then boyfriend (now hub) and I drove to his grandparents’ house for the day.  They live on some land complete with two fishing ponds, horses, dogs, and at the time, two llamas.  After lunch, Grandpa decided to take us out on his boat so that we could water-ski (my first and only time to date).

lakeshelbyville

The then boyfriend (now hub) used his slalom ski and danced on the water with ease before it was my turn.  Talk about pressure.  With patience, Grandpa navigated the water with my repeated attempts until I finally was able to stand on my skis for close to thirty seconds, and it was glorious.  Yet, riding the inner tube connected to the back of the boat proved to be more my speed.

Enjoying our time on the water, we all initially missed the acrid stench coming from the engine which eventually turned into billowing smoke.  Stranded on the lake without a working engine, Grandpa reached for his oar and began paddling.  Shocked, to say the least, to witness such a feat from a grandpa, I remember nudging the then boyfriend (now hub) and whispering, “Don’t you think you should do the paddling?”  After all the then boyfriend (now hub) did competitively lift weights.  The then boyfriend (now hub) responded, “No, he likes to do this.”  Shaking my head in disbelief, Grandpa continued to paddle with barely a hint of perspiration on his forehead.

Twelve years later, I now thoroughly understand what a pillar of a human being this man is, possessing strength not only in his physicality, but also his character.  So, without a doubt I am thankful for Gpa O. and wish him the best of birthdays on this day.

For what are you thankful?

Sunday Thanks: August 3, 2014

Sunday Thanks.  I am thankful for . . .

a week away with my family spent exploring.

the hub working extra hard to make this trip possible for us.

a loving text from a friend right when I was thinking of her.

the birthday of an amazing woman blessing whom I have known for 20+ years.

the laughter from not being able to find a hotel with a vacancy.

my youngest daughter’s growth of an inch.

homemade coconut milk ice cream with chopped pecans and maple syrup.  Yummo!

 

Click below to add your link to the link party or simply share what you are thankful for in the comments section.