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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Five Minute Friday: Long

Long.  “The days are long, but the years are short,” was a saying I heard often while at home with my two squirts both under the age of three.  Looking back, there was so much truth to this saying.  Juggling two kiddos’ sleep schedules with one having feedings every three hours and the other with three hour naps in the afternoon, I now realize I was awake far more hours than I was asleep;  the days were definitely long.  Now, though, with both girls above the age of five, those long days seemed to have passed in a flash.  Having a wall of pictures in our house, I relive those long days daily through my memory, but often wish those days were still here.

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During one of those long days, I met a woman who changed the meaning of those long, sometimes lonely days.  With her two children being the same age as mine, we filled these long days with a lot of laughter and continue to do so to this day.  I am grateful for her in my life, and on this day, her birthday, I wish her a long life filled with much love.

Five Minute Friday: Because

Because.  I find Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday word choices challenging.  I often need to take (more than five minutes) time to think about the prompt and how it applies to my life experiences.  I enjoy this time to myself to reflect because I feel it helps me grow as a writer and a child of God.

I am a firm believer in writing bribery.  I encourage my students with the use of Extra Credit to respond to Writing Workshop Wednesdays because I want them to grow as writers, too.  They have so many thought provoking and honest issues to share with others, and I want them to know this.

There are often times I would rather sleep in (okay, I like the idea, but with two young kiddos this rarely happens) or simply be grubby for an entire Sunday.  However, because my daughters look forward to their memory verses, seeing their friends, receiving their Bibles, and playing the cello in church, we make that effort on days when staying home sounds more appealing.  Because I like squeezing on women blessings, wrapping my arm around my hub during the sermons, listening to such motivating messages, and hearing goosebump generating music.  I am grateful afterwards (every time) for our attendance.  Because.

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Five Minute Friday: Tell

Tell.  My uncle, sixty-three years young, died yesterday morning at the gruesome hands of cancer.  He was the funniest man I ever knew without a doubt.  His laughter and sense of humor was contagious.  I spent a lot of time at his home in my later single-digit years and early double-digit years.  He liked Winston Churchill and W.C. Fields as there was, to me at the time, a scary profile picture of the latter wearing a hat hanging on his wall.

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He first introduced me to biscuits and gravy much to my horror.  I remember looking at my plate with all of this speckled goo covering perfectly fine biscuits not sure what to do about it as I knew it wasn’t polite to tell someone you didn’t like what he was serving.  I moved the food around on my plate to make it look as if I had eaten, but ended up going home hungry.  Today I would be on my seconds by now hoping there were thirds and fourths.

One time when I stayed at his house for the weekend, I ended up flooding his bathroom as I didn’t know shower curtains went on the inside of the tub (my dad had glass shower doors).  When I stepped out of the tub onto the rug, there was this odd squishing sound.  I then tried to soak up as much of the water as I could with what towels I could find in the bathroom, but this hardly made a dent in my destruction.  I thought the best course of action was to say nothing, so I left when my mother picked me up hoping no one would use the bathroom while I was still present.  Now, I would have loved to have seen his reaction when his feet became soaked upon entering his bathroom, and he discovered a pile of wet towels in the bathtub.

As an adult, I didn’t see my uncle much.  At Christmas, though, I remember him doing a theatrical reading of Walter the Farting Dog which did not leave a single dry eye in the house.

I would like to think my uncle knew I loved him because I did.  I’d always squeeze on him before he left and say, “I love you, Grub!” (a term of endearment created by his nieces and nephews), and he would usually say, “Okay,” or something along those lines in return, but I know he loved me, too.

I imagine he’s now Upstairs with the Big Guy, his mom and dad, and my dad, whom he sought out in order to tell him some jokes.

I love you, Grub.

Five Minute Friday: Fill

Fill.  When I think of fill, I think of how many little hearts I would like to fill with love.  Coming from a less than ideal childhood where I felt as if I was on the back burner most of the time, where my parents didn’t seem to consider the consequences of their actions in regards to their children, where two siblings lived in separate households an hour and a half drive from each other during their formative years, where my mother’s immediate exit from my father resulted in a marriage to another man became the new norm for an eight-year-old.

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Now having an eight-year-old of my own, I see this as God giving me the opportunity to fill this little girl’s heart with as much love as possible, and this is what I strive to do day after day.  The Hub and I tried desperately to have this little girl for close to four years. . .  and I mean desperately.  Thus, she is a gift from God we do not take for granted, but cherish.  She is wanted, and we shower her with our love on a daily basis.

Hearing or reading about a child’s heart who is not being filled or has not been filled is difficult.  For, I truly believe, every child is an opportunity for a heart to be filled.

Write for five minutes, and share your idea of FILL  here.