Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Testing 1, 2, 3

Can I post pictures this way? If so, it will make my life much easier. If not, I just posted a random web address.

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Monday, June 21, 2010


My first group of seventh graders graduated tonight. The group that broke me in. The group that inspired me to plan lessons until two am. The group that left me drinking at three in the afternoon. The group that made me laugh and cry all in the same day. I was their first middle school teacher. It was the year I met Debbie, Tim, and AJ. I had many of them again in tenth grade as well.

I went to last year's graduation and watched my first year eighth graders walk the stage. It was bittersweet as I myself never walked across the stage. Ironically, I failed English. I can give the sob story about a teacher who lost a important paper and how I found it over the summer, graded with an A, and cried. However, I never should have let my final grade for the year come down to one grade. Can I at least point out the my final grade was 64.3? (65 was passing in my school.) How's that for an "F You Kerri Arnold" from Mrs. Moira Dean? Anyway. A few reflections:

* I cried with them as they walked in. A few left line to give me hugs. Until I became a teacher, I never knew that sense of positive influence.
* I wonder what I actually "taught" them. Do they even remember what books I covered with them? I had to stop and think about it. Do they even remember a noun from a verb? What do they remember from my class?
* When I first started teaching, I worried about being "cool." I pretended I didn't but I did. I thought I could be the one to love them into being good. That does not work in any school, urban or otherwise. Kids are kids. People are people. If they can push you over, they will.
* As I became seasoned, I worried more about being fair. Was my classroom pass policy fair? Did I read papers and grade fairly? Did I grade according to standard or what I knew they were capable of? Was my discipline style fair?
* I still worry how to fit in grammar and spelling. Sigh.
* My favorite compliments:
"You really pushed me. Thank you."
"You helped me so much."
"You said you would be here and you are."
"You always find the positive in everything."
"She is one classy lady." (Obviously, I fooled one kid.)
* I am so glad they stopped using that lame ass Vitamin C "Graduation" song and switched back to "Stand By Me."
*The students I had the biggest love/hate relationship with hugged me the hardest tonight.

I think what I taught them might be different than what they learned.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Have You Done for Me Facebook?

I once compared sharing my writing to bathing suit shopping. I am putting myself out there for all to see. I hadn't made this blog public until now. (Breaths deeply and removes towel)...

Is it wrong to admit that I feel a sense of giddyness as I delete my Facebook account? I spent most of yesterday thinking about the events of the day. I guess I have stopped shaking with anger enough to sum up what happened. My mom died Sunday night. Within forty five minutes, a distant cousin posted "rest in peace aunt pat." I sent him a message saying I have not yet contacted all of the extended family so can you please wait a little while before posting it. I would hate for an aunt, uncle or cousin to learn of my mom's death via a social networking site. He not only left it up, he bashed me on his "wall" saying that he was told it was wrong to post about my mom's death. Because I couldn't get a hold of one of my uncles until the following afternoon, there is a good chance my cousins found out my mom died via a wall post on that stupid website.
I really started thinking about facebook and the "friends" I have there. Yes, I reconnected with lost friends. I never would have would found Jess Chevalier without FB. I became better friends with some people because of FB. Jes King and I would not know each other as well without FB. Yes, there are people I would love to see more often that distance does not allow. Kim, Ericka, Amanda, Cheryl come to mind.
However, how many friends have I actually lost to FB? Caitlin and Beth, you and I used to meet for lunch every few months. We haven't done so in years. Why? No need to. Beth, I know that you had a beautiful wedding to a devoted, handsome man. I know you bought a raised ranch and that you are thinking about starting a family. Heck, I know that your friend Kerri had a baby. Caitlin, I know that things are still going well between you and your boyfriend. I know you just sold your first house and went on a camping trip last year. Facebook took away the wonder of what two girls I cherish are up to, thus illiminating the need for me to actually pick up the phone and call you. I haven't had to make plans to introduce you to my miracle of a son. Why not? You've watched him grow over the internet. Facebook did not bring any of us closer. It made it acceptable to go years without seeing each other in person.
I really started thinking "What has Facebook done for me lately?" This is what I have come up with:
* It actually disconnected me to spending real time with people I hold dear to me. Because I know what they're up to, I haven't felt the longing or the need to check in personally.
* Sometimes, it showed me people I like spending time with made plans that did not include me. That made me sad. If I didn't have a FB account, I never would have known who went for a walk without me or had a nice visit at so and so's house.
* I leanred that even when I don't even know who deleted me, it makes me sad when my friend count goes down.

* It taught me some people have no filter. Why do you think, friend, that I want to know about your breastfeeding experiences, your baby's poop, etc?
* Some people are narcisstic. They need everyone to know they're taking a grad class, ran three miles this morning, went to a 5am workout, what they ordered at lunch, etc. This made me wonder about myself. Did I really post pictures because I wanted everyone to see them? There was a big part of me who LOVED getting the comments about how cute Liam is. You know what, though? I know his amazing. Why did I need a social networking site for validation?
* Some people are always sad. Nothing makes them happy. And they want the world to know.
*Some people are niave. If I haven't seen you since seventh grade, why are you letting me and 200+ other people know that you're at work right now or away in Texas for a wedding this weekend? How do you know I didn't turn into some crazy criminal who is thankful to know a house will be empty for seven hours or three
* My last boyfriend's new girlfriend is beautiful. Stunning. And, to make matters worse, she looks like a really nice girl, too. Aren't ex boyfriend's new girlfriends supposed to be ugly? Damn it. OK, this is just the girl in me coming out.
* Although I've never played, Farmville looks stupid.

In conclusion, I can't remember the last time a week went by without me being grossed out or aggrivated by something on Facebook. The people who are in my life are important and will remain so with or without a social networking site.
Adios, Facebook. See y'all in real life!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good Bye Cruel Facebook

Last week, someone on The Bump explained her reasons for giving up The Bump. It made perfect sense to me. Worrying about the lives of people you never see in real life can make you miss out on real life. We can all sit here and say "I just use Facebook to keep up with people." I've realized that there is a reason I didn't keep in contact with some of these people. Yes, there are people who are out of state or very busy that I truly am glad Facebook allows me to remain in contact. Those of you know who you are.
Facebook has, until now, never interfered with any aspect of my real life. (Those who need to know what happened know what happened. Sorry, it's beyond painful and personal.) I was careful about what I posted, having enough common sense to know not to post about going on vacation or even about going out for the day. No need letting 200+ people, some of whom I haven't seen in ten or more years, know that my house will be empty for an extended period of time. I keep all of my posts positive. People have enough problems; they don't need to hear anyone else's. I described my pregnancy and parenting in a positives. No one wants to hear about my morning sickness, stretch marks, struggles with breastfeeding, complications, or the fact that I could not see my own vagina for four months.
I feel that Facebook has done everything I needed it to do. It reconnected me with friends and family. It let me know which people from high school are more less overweight/ successful/ train wrecked than I am. It allowed me to compare myself to my ex boyfriends new loves. It has reminded me that some friendships can stand the test of time and distance. It has taught me that some friends are better as fond memories.
The only confession I do have is that I feel that I have not been reading or writing as much for myself due to Facebook. When Liam is asleep and the house is beyond clean, I tend to linger on FB instead of doing the things in which I formerly found great joy. I would much rather read or write for myself than learn who has bought gas at Shell, who is sick of being pregnant or having allergies, or who ate a sub for lunch. My journal that I wrote for Liam throughout my pregnancy was ruined in the flood and I have not even purchased a new one for him. I always imagined I would have these beautiful journals to pass down to him describing all of his milestones as they happen.
The people who are close to me will always be close to me. I don't need a social networking site to confirm that. There are some people I don't really keep in close touch with whom I enjoy looking at baby pictures of hearing about wedding plans, etc. That I will miss but I am learning that FB is just more trouble than it is worth. Thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


As I looked through a Facebook friend's pictures of her premature baby, I can never complain that Liam is growing so fast that the 3-6 month summer clothes I bought him a while ago are too small. I need to count my blessings. As I let one friend's harsh words and judgements overshadow Liam's blessing, I need to remind myself how lucky I am to have such great friends who are going so far out of their way to help make his day perfect. I spent the morning making 150 choc shells for part of his favor. Liam is so playful and loving. Is it wrong to admit how much I love when he's upset about something and grabs his arms around my neck? If only my hugs would always be able to make everything better.

Waiting for the Kettle to Boil

Mom went off the ventilator yesterday. She is in ICU and Dad seems to think she'll stay there. I feel like I am waiting for her to die and wonder when I will feel something besides numbness. Will I just be angry at her for not taking better care of herself? Will I be mad at Dad for bringing her junk food? He brought her KFC the day before she went back to the hospital. Will it hit me months from now when Liam takes his first steps and I can't call her and tell her? She never did teach me how to make a bed by getting the sheet over the bed in one big movement. So now we wait.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Four Months

It is hard to believe that four months ago, Liam was about to be born. A year ago at this time, I was three days late and hoping that this was it. I look at the beautiful baby sleeping next to me and can not fathom life without him. Through all the chaos, Mike and I have grown closer. I have learned how important my friends can be and how much true friends can make a difference. Even if I don't have time to go out with them as much as I'd like, something as quick as a simple email or text makes me feel connected to the real world. I have learned that competative mothering is hurtful and best avoided. I have learned that I can not do it all myself. Sometimes, I need to ask for help. This is not a sign of weakness.

Liam's blessing is in a week and a half. Mike and I are different religions. We're having the reverend who married us come to our house and bless Liam. He will not belong to any particular religion but will still be blessed and introduced to the world. Most people have respected our choice to do a non denominational ceremony. Having it our house with our closest friends and family is intimate and represents who we are. Hearing people come out and bash the idea hurt. Telling me my mother must be devastated was just mean. If I have learned anything through the birth of Liam it is that I can not make everyone happy. A lesson I know I need to work on is to stop feeling the need to try to explain my choices to people who don't care my reasoning and just want to tell me I'm wrong.

In true teacher form, I have a four square graphic organizer with lists of what I need to buy where and when and a day by day to do list.

My mom and dad were supposed to come up for Liam's blessing. It kills me to hear mom get worse and worse every day. Going down to make sure she saw Liam was the right thing to do. I don't wish her dead, but I know she is not living. Still trying to figure out the exact reason, but I know God made Liam look just like her for a reason.