Tag Archives: Children

I Believe

 

I Believe in miracles, I’ve had a few you see

the gifted hands of doctors who’ve saved my son and me

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I Believe in giving as a means to help and heal

the cold, the tired, the hungry with a warm and hearty meal

I Believe in the power of story

that lifts us from our dark and dreary night

so that we may see the glory of the early morning light

I Believe and support the soldier some who’ve left this earth too soon,

for they protect my children sleeping peacefully in their room

I Believe in freedoms that allow us to bow our heads and pray,

however we choose to worship on any given day

I Believe in forgiveness for those who beg and sin

as most often we know the enemy is within

I Believe in getting lost along our nature’s path

so that we may gain the wisdom that keeps us from the wrath

I Believe in a love that is patient, kind and true

and please know my Dear, I will always Believe in You.

 

 

A Mother’s Wisdom

“This too shall pass…”

  I hear my Momma say.  Throughout my lifetime, I have heard the sweet, gentle voice of my Mother imparting her wise words to so many in the darkest of times and in moments  where life couldn’t get any better. And while these words are not of her own creation, they are to me and to all who’ve been blessed with  her sage advice over the years.  It is a reminder that the hard times will pass(sometimes painfully like a kidney stone as she often jokes) and that we must carry on.  It is a reminder that  pure happiness is often discovered in the briefest of moments and that we should embrace this bliss  while we can.

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Busted after breaking the screen with the football

  As a teen, I would simply dismiss these words of truth- “She doesn’t understand.”  Oh but she does.  She was a single Mother of three and worked two jobs to make ends meet. She lost a daughter to cancer a few years back and carried on-  as a registered nurse, she helped to deliver one of her grandchildren and held hands with patients as they took their last breath embracing the beauty and sadness of it all.  She whispered, “this too shall pass” on my wedding day and again during my divorce.  With a teenage daughter of my own now, helping to guide and let her create her own path, I speak my Mother’s words…

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My selfless and loving Momma is 85 years old today.  She still works as a part-time RN nurse and only recently retired from full-time shifts.  She sits along the river bank fishing with my children –  knowing- “this too shall pass.”

The difficult times and the good times will always pass; embrace them both and know that each will teach you.  

What words of wisdom do you hear from a loved one?

An Ethic of Care

This was the central focus of my college essay titled Philosophy of Teaching.  While completing my final internship at the same middle school I attended as a student, my college professor said, “You must know Why you’re going into this profession and How will you accomplish it.”  Have you ever had such a “hit you in the gut” question asked of you before?  This was certainly one of those for me.  Once I started writing, I realized exactly Why I wanted to teach and help kids.

I want every child to know they aren’t alone and that someone cares.

Not until I reached high school, did I feel that a teacher really saw Me as a person and not just a student number and another test to grade.  One teacher that made the effort to connect with me and cared enough to know who I was and wanted to be.  My sweet, sweet Math teacher would allow me to eat lunch in her room sometimes.  She sensed that I wasn’t comfortable among the crowd of other kids. She listened, she asked questions, she paid attention… Eventually,  she gave me the courage  to join a club that worked with younger kids.  This amazing  teacher saw something that I didn’t see in myself at the time; that I loved helping other people and had a nurturing way about me.  I eventually became  president of the FEA(Future Educators of America) Club. It was then, I knew I wanted to teach and/or be a Psychologist.  If it hadn’t been for her, I don’t think I ever would have made it through college.  I saw her sweet, caring face in every struggle that came my way and I carried on.

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Thank you, Mrs. Spaulding

As I reflect on my 20 years in the classroom now, my Philosophy of Teaching  essay still rings true.  Anyone who works with children must possess an ethic of care. This is not one that simply cares that a student passes your tests and the class or adheres to every rule you put forth but rather one that lays a foundation that fosters trusting relationships in which children can achieve both academically and personally throughout their lifetime.  My philosophy on teaching?  Teach the whole child; get to know the whole person.  Spend time developing trusting relationships where they feel safe, heard,  encouraged, and inspired.  Peak their curiosity. Go to their awards ceremonies and cheer for them at their games(even when you’re tired). Sometimes, you may be the only one. Remind them that you will always be there for them as they embark upon their own journeys in life.

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One of my friends recently said, “Teaching is a thankless job.”  Those “thank you’s” may not come  immediately but they do  come in small and beautiful ways-sometimes years later when they invite you to  lunch or their college graduation.

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University of Miami graduate-now off to med school.  So proud of you! 🙂

How Big is your Brave?

“Mom, how big is your brave?”

These were the only words my ten year old son muttered to me on the long drive home from his neurology appointment on April 20th in 2015.  As my heart sank into the pit of my stomach, and with a crackling voice, I responded, “As big as you need it to be, Honey.” He turned his head back towards the passenger window and closed his eyes. 

After almost a year of numbness, tingling in arms and hands, multiple syncope episodes and other symptoms, ER visits, a wrong diagnosis, countless medical tests, and appointments,  he was finally diagnosed with a rare brain disorder called Chiari Malformation(and Syringomyelia); a condition that causes part of the brain to protrude into the spinal canal causing csf blockage, nerve damage and paralysis if left untreated.

 How could this be?  My son!  The sweet, kind-hearted, fun-loving gentle soul.  After talking with the neurologist about what was going on and options for treating it, my son finally forced the bottom line… “So what you are saying is that I need to have brain surgery, right?”  “Yes, that’s right” replied the doctor.

How does a parent prepare their child for this?  How do they steel themselves to such a medical condition?

The first week after we discovered what was the root of his medical issues, I was an emotional wreck.  6-the number of hours of sleep I got that week while my happy-go-lucky boy carried on with his days and normal curious nature; his nights filled with baseball practice, homework,  and games.  At the end of that week of extensive internet research, reading, multiple phone calls and medical opinions; I finally decided to check my emotions at the door and put on my Super Mommy cape and BE what my son needed me to be; strong, positive, and supportive.

Two nights before his surgery as I tucked him into bed and with tears in his eyes, he quietly asked me, “Mom, am I going to die?”  The only thing I could manage to get out of my mouth was, “No, and no matter what, I will be right there  every step of the way.”

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Morning of surgery

A month and a half after his initial diagnosis, my courageous son was wheeled into brain surgery.  On his second day post-op, the physical therapists were astounded at how motivated he was to get up and moving about the halls.  They obviously didn’t know my son as he rarely stops moving!

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Not a great day but still got a thumbs up!

With months of physical therapy, side effects of necessary medication, heavy restrictions on physical activities and getting back to “normal” life, I was reminded of just how resilient kids  are.  While he continues to recover and understands that life has to be lived a  bit different than before,  my hope is that he will embrace his scars as evidence of his strength, courage and inspiration for so many.

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When starting back to school now as a middle schooler, he was a bit apprehensive as to how he   would be received by the other kids when they saw his scar.  Upon entering his first period class, the teacher prompted the students with the question, “So what did you do this summer?”  As any courageous lion would, he quickly stormed in and replied “I had brain surgery!”  I’m pretty confident that topped all.

“Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us”

Though the ride on this journey has been a bumpy one for sure, we are beyond grateful for the gifted hands of his amazing neurosurgeon and so many extraordinary strangers who also live our story and to whom we now call friends.

When life taps you on the shoulder in those crucial moments – be sure to pay attention and ask yourself, “Did I allow this experience to  make me bitter or use it to make me better?” 

A Blessed Mom