Please Just Don't Pee on my Pants

The trials, tribulations and successes of a teacher on her own journey towads independence.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

To the Wrestler had a Crush on in High School

I have never been a huge fan of wrestling so of course I pushed my son into the sports I was most interested in... soccer. Although he does enjoy soccer HIS sport is wrestling so I find myself deep into the world of wrestling. I have never given wrestlers enough respect for the work they put into their sport. When I go watch practice I am amazed at the level of physical fitness that is required... and the level of sportsmanship that is required by the coaches. Of course I don't know if that is everywhere but it is here.

It is so much more than boys rolling around on a mat or at this point in time girls too (which is a whole other topic). The coach and the boys work hard at practice to develop technique that I vaguly remember hearing from my one wrestling class I had to take in pe. My son of course knows them all and doesn't understand when I need him to show me something over and over and then perhaps over again, but he is learning to be patient. I'm learning that my body is more flexible then I ever imagined... except for my back maybe - at least at the moment.

One can always find the wrestling invitational in any town if they know their way around or not... you just need to follow the calls and yells of men and the sounds of whistles and the occassional referres slap on the mat indicating a pin. Today was the third invitational in as many weeks. Getting to school on Saturday morning at 5:45 for weigh in, leaving a 6:00 to travel who knows where... weighing in once getting there and then the eating of breakfast... always after weigh in - interesting thought - I always weigh myself before I eat I'm not stupid either. Followed of course by the mass consumption of food - sometimes referred to as breakfast.

The warming up with the rolling on the mats, the shadow wrestling and then things I can't even comprehend, but they all sweat, they are all working every muscle in their bodies, the running, running, running followed by more pushups and more pushups and this is even before the first match has begun. Eventually the wrestling starts along with the shouting and whistle blowing the sound of mat thumping. Bodies bodies being contorted in ways that God didn't make the body to bend.

I thank the Lord that I don't have to ride home with all those stinky, hormonal, teenage boys - although my son swears the ride home is much quieter than the way there - I would think so since it is often 10 or 11 at night... and we complain at time of putting in an 8 hour day.

Those of you who know nothing of wrestling, and may not choose it for your son - it is so worth it to let them do what they love.

And to the wrestler I had a crush on in high school... perhaps I should have said something.

Peace and Love,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Water for Dinner so Kids Can Eat

You know I find myself in a place I never imagined I would be. Some would say from the wrong side of the tracks I suppose although my house is clean, my kids are clean and they are fed. Those are the things I find of most importance. I push them to do their best in school although it doesn't seem to be good enough for me. I try to encourage them in sports because I know without sports I never would have survived school.

I grew up middle class, like most of my friends I think. There may have been one or two rich and one or two on the poor side, but most of us were in the middle. It is interesting to find myself living in low income housing, not working, and skipping meals to be sure that my children have food. I suppose there are millions that have done that in the past, I was never sympathetic to them or what they faced. Do I dare say I was judgemental - I was... now I am greatly humbled and I know my God has placed me here to bring me down a few notches.

Where does one go when one can no longer afford low in come housing - I have no idea - perhaps they give up their identiy and move back in with their parents - in this case my dad who is well in his 70s by now and still working.

I went to college so that I would have a job. I was extremely good at my job, but became too expesive to employ. The knowledge I have is worth more than most can imagine, but I can't put it to use as they say I'm "over qualified" I know more than I need to know and I think that intimidates people. New principals don't like me because I have run a school before. Sped people don't like me because I have more experience in autism and severe disabilities than most people with a sped degree have in their little finger.

It may sound as if I'm bragging I'm not... not really... I'm simply trying to survive... trying to keep food on the table for my kids, keep them interested in an education, keep most of the bills paid most of the time. Have heat in the house so we don't get too cold and airconditioning in the summer so we don't get too hot.

On the flip side... at their father's they have no heat, they have no food, yet he is buying a new truck. I try not to be bitter, I try not to be angry... but I am totally frustrated and don't know where I am going from here... forward, backward, staying in one place spinning my wheels... praying for times of the past when the world was a much safer place.

Peace and Love,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Finally but Hopefully Not Too Late

Unemployed, really unemployed for the first time ever... makes one really take a look at what is really important in life. I had the big ranch with the horses, the dogs, the goats... gave it all up for my freedom from my husband. I have had it all many times in my life, guess most of my life actually. After Libya we always had what we needed, even there we had what we needed except ground beef - takes a while to get used to camel. But that isn't what this is all really about... this is about having priorities screwed up for so many years and it took God a whopping HELLO! to finally get my attention.

I did what I was suppose to do... went to college (several times as I dropped out a lot). The final time I moved to Guam back in with my parents. Stayed completey away from boys - sort of - there were the boys I played soccer with... I got a taste of my priorities there - family first - my mom, my dad and me... then of course Max (the best dog that ever lived - my heart aches for him still) then came school followed by work... imagine work being last.

In August I went to the psychiatrist for the first time really - had been before but only for depression... now it is bipolar 3... at least that is what he said last week when I had to stay with a sister for a week and my dad had to watch my kids.

Finally home it is hard, the quiet of the day. No TV - imagine that... me and books to read, photo albums to make (focus right now on Libya for dad for Valentine's day)... I'm not used to being home. I'm used to wrestling with kids, pulling them out of the ceiling occassionally, slamming doors and being cussed at, bit, hit normal stuff like that... do I miss that - sometimes, but mostly NO...

God finally has gotten my attention and thank the Lord he did so before it was to late. My focus shouldn't be on my career, my job always coming first - it needs to be last. My focus now is on my kids... not that they get what they want, but they don't get to run mommy over because mommy is to tired to do what she knows needs to be done - too tired to be stern for a change. I'm thankful that I'm no longer a teacher, but figuring out what I am without a title is hard... Mom is a title, but a new one for me.

So finally I get to love my kids even more. I get to wait outside the kindergarten classroom and meet Lorenzo and have him jump into my arms - just because he wants it and I can finally do it.

Peace and Love,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Second Conversation With God

I remember the night, my kids were at their dad's and I was way past my wits end. Stone cold sober I was curled up like a baby on the kitchen floor crying my eyes out because I couldn't see past the last hour. The screaming and arguing with the kids to go to their dad's in the first place. The acceptance that perhaps even I, needed a break. It was a long night of tears and screams... and admittedly breaking dishes (which I don't recommend - it messes up the garbage disposal - then you have a whole new problem). Of course as I was on the floor lots of things ran through my mind. I thought about how Mom used to play music full blast when she was in a "mood". How she drank when she was in a "mood". How she would get herself into a cleaning fit to the point where no one could sleep when she was in a "mood". I decided I didn't like those options. Instead Ichose death, obviously I'm still here.

I put on Gordon Lightfoot "Sundown" my forever favorite song and got the big knife out of the kitchen and sat back on the floor in the kitchen. I figure if I sliced my wrists quickly enough it wouldn't hurt... that is what others had said any way. So I sat there, and I sat there, then I called the counselor and sat there some more. Then I prayed to God to tell me what to do. He answered much more quickly than I expected and very directly. He told me to put the knife down and to get up and quit my whining. That I had work to do, I had kids and students that depended on me and that he wasn't done with me yet. My job was to go to the school and work with the kids the rest of the world had given up on, the autistic children... the kids no one else would work with... and so I dried my tears, pulled up my boot straps and got on with life.

God himself saved me that day - he gave me purpose when I had none, he gave me love when I had none, he accepted me where I was and carried me to a new place. Yet again my life was changed.

Peace and Love,

Speaking with God

I remember the first time I spoke with God. I sort of believed in God and Christ and the whole Christian thing - but then again not really. I was where I suppose a lot of people are half hearted, luke warm christians. Knowing God has changed my life, who I am, and how I parent and treat people in the world - and that first conversation was so simple... It was Valentine's Day last year and I was going to a movie by myself and moaning and groaning about being alone, by the way I hate Valentine's Day - I think we should show love to the world every day. But I digress... I was in a deep pit of self pity when I heard as clear as a bell "Why the fuss? Why the sadness? You are never alone." I actually had to pull over to the side of the road to catch my breath. I had the most peaceful feeling, like everything in life was finally going to be ok. The hard parts were still going to be hard, but I had a friend in Christ who would carry me through those hard moments.

I wish more people in the world, especially in the United States would step up and share their love for Christ. It is almost a "taboo" topic. There is no safe place to bring up the Lord or what one thinks and believes or doesn't. It isn't to be talked about in school, it isn't to be talked about over dinner and Lord forbid you bring it up on a date... and suddenly you are labeled a "Jesus Freak"... well over the last year I have become a "Jesus Freak". I don't care what others think if I stand in the middle of a parking lot and shout "Thank you Jesus I needed your help on that." don't care about the funny looks - I would get them anyway for some other reason.

I want to be one of the brave that goes to the alter at prayer time during church. I want to stand in front of the congregation and lift my hands to heaven while we sing. Everyone is so passive - so politically well behaved in church. What is wrong with letting your spirit free and showing our love of God? We are all so worried about what others think when all that really matters is what God thinks; what God feels? So I ask you my friends be brave this week and stand up for our Lord as Jesus stood up for each of us.

Peace and Love,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Culture of Autism

Knowing and working with children who have autism has changed my life, no just my life, but heart and soul; the very being of who I am. I cannot imagine living in their world in their mind even for a moment. As a teacher I try to reach into their world and connect with them before bringing them back into our world, sometimes super hard, sometimes impossible. Always touching being it bring laughter or tears. Yet there is only so much we can do. We can teach those who cannot speak to communicate at some level, but will we ever really know what goes on in their mind, their thoughts, what they think - or only the answers to academic questions and superficial communication.

Then there are others who can be kind a loving one moment and in a deep uncontrollable rage the next moment without a second's notice. Then when done the sadness and regret for what has happened without the ability to express what or why it transpired. Today is truely the saddest day of my life. Escorting a child to a residential treatment facility... the tearing in my heart... the moments in the house the "Mom please, I don't want to go"... the locking himself in the car to escape... the courage to finally walk down the sidewalk with 2 doctors and a one-on-one aide.

In my heart I know it is the best thing. The best thing for the child, for the family, for me... but my heart still weeps - what could I have done different to reach this child and made a difference in his life...

Some of these kids I have known since they were infants, some only two years, others only one and another I just met this year - but my life is forever changed... and I only hope I can help at least one of them be able to do something they couldn't do before.

As I've written this I think perhaps I shouldn't blog it - perhaps parents wouldn't appreciate my sharing of their child's life with the world - but someone has to start stepping up and speaking out. The statistics now say 1 in 99 children are born on the autism spectrum... the world has to wake up; find a way to reach these children and change their lives.