Monthly Archives: August 2013

You Wanna Slide?

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Innocence

Innocence

This is what real innocence looks like.  Pure, unaffected, precious.  Little boys don’t hold hands often, and in my experience, hardly ever after a very young age.  They may hold my hand but not each other’s.  I caught this moment today as we walked outside.  They weren’t thinking about me or my camera…they were excited and happy…they were planning what they were going to do once their feet landed in the boundaries of the playground.  You wanna slide?  I’m going to go slide.  Come on!

They were oblivious to the whispers of society.  They were…for a wonderfully small snatch of time…just being kids.  Can you remember being their age?  Do you have any memories of six?  Mine are few, and I know these boys won’t remember this tiny moment, but seeing their innocence made my heart squeeze just a little.  It made me long for simpler days…for days when we held hands just because we wanted to.  Just because we could.

Another One Bites The Dust

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Another week of school is behind us.  Another week of going as fast as a body can go, of planning, planning, planning…meetings, meetings, meetings.

A week of little ones who really need to pee…a lot.  A week of sleepy six-year olds.  A week of I miss my momma and my belly is growling.  A week of can we go home after math?  (And of course my answer is a resounding YES!)

Because I’m tired, too.  And I’m getting older and I have to pee a lot, too.  By three o’clock, my belly is growling loud enough for the neighbors to hear, and even though my momma has been gone for eight years, I want my momma, too.  I want her to hug me and tell me that it’s all going to be all right.

The thing is…I’m NOT tired of the six-years olds.  They are the only thing that keeps me going back to work.  Their hugs make me feel better.  Their smiles are my life-line, my floatation device when I’m drowning in bureaucratic FLUFF (to use a much nicer word than what I’m thinking).

Teaching is a changing profession.  We are steered by Common Core now…a changing of what we teach and more importantly, how we teach it.  For a teacher starting her twentieth year, that is a hard pill to swallow.  Was everything I was doing before wrong, not good enough?  The answer is no, but it still has to change.

So…this week I’m trying, by golly, I’m trying.  I’m giving this ridiculously long comprehension test to, let me remind you, six-year olds, and on question number one, what should occur?  A nose bleed from hell.  Thankfully not from my nose.  I’m telling you…this poor boy’s nose began to gush blood in every direction.  I scoot him down the hall to the nurse…he comes back on question five…and proceeds to sprinkle blood over at least twenty tissues for the remainder of the thirty question test.

That’s on top of all the other needs of my kids…the other nineteen who need help, too.

Here’s my dare to any educational leader from the nation’s capital or our state’s capital: come spend one day in my room and try to do it all.  Be their teacher, their nurse, their stand-in mother’s when they miss their own.  Be it all and raise your test scores, dang it.  And if you really want a taste, I’ll triple dog dare you to stay for a whole week!

Don’t judge me by a number, a number that doesn’t in any way reflect what is truly going on in my room from minute to minute, day to day.  That’s what makes me tired and overwhelmed and simply befuddled at how to move forward.

That being said, I can still think back on my week and smile.  Imagine this if you can…everyone’s eating snacks (because once again, their bellies are growling), and they’re smiling and munching and whispering to their neighbors, when suddenly two little ones rush to my desk.  One is ready to tattle, the other is in a panic, already trying to explain before the other one can sufficiently tell on him.  They’re both talking at the same time, really fast and really loud.  Finally, I hear, “His glue stick is in his water bottle.”  Sure enough, ‘somehow’ he’d managed to drop his glue stick down into his water bottle and couldn’t get it out.  I shooed the little girl away and just looked at the stricken boy.  I asked him, “What are you going to do now?”  He shrugged, “Don’t know, Mrs. Rackley, but I’ve gotta have that glue stick back and I’m still thirsty.”

We saved the glue stick, and he got his water from the fountain instead.

Mercy.  Say a prayer for your child’s teacher tonight.  They need it!

Family…

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What is it about family that makes life so very wonderful and so very hard all at the same time?  The bond between family members is so thick and strong, and it is irreversibly attached to your heart whether you choose for it to be or not.

Someone once said to me, “Everyone wants to be loved whether they act like it or not.”  And surely that applies to the family unit.  Everyone wants to belong in the family whether they admit it or not.

Here’s the thing –  family is hard.  So crazy, freakin’ hard.

I think it’s because you love so much, and when you love that much and you’re around people so often, it becomes overwhelming.  Let me just tell you, raising children is overwhelming, but raising teenagers, well…it’s just overwhelming on speed.

To love another person that much is to open yourself to the possibility of hurting just as much.  And kids…they hurt.  Not all the time, but sometimes they do.

Still, days pass, people grow, and I see changes.  I see our family continue forward.  I see my teenagers change, and all I can do is pray hard every day that they survive these tumultuous, terribly wacky years they’re living in.

My husband and I are partners…like a wrestling team.  We tag in and tag out.  We attack our family…some days he’s in control, other days I am.  Some days we’re able to high-five with a win, and other days…well, we go to bed bruised and beaten.

But no matter how wonderful or rough the day, in the end we’re a family.  We’re here to help one another, guide each other along this crazy road called life.  We’ve got each other’s back when the rest of the world chooses to hurt or ignore or shun.  It really is simply amazing.

Life might be quieter living alone…and neater…but where would I be without my family?

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The Week at a Glance

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‘Teacher-isms’ from the past week:

“Mrs. Rackley!  I just saw a tarantula on the playground!” – boy, age 6

“Mrs. Wack-a-weeeee, what are we gonna do next?” – boy, age 6

“I’m having so much fun I don’t ever want to go home.” – girl, age 5  (All the while, I’m thinking, “Have we been in the same classroom?”)

And this was the sweetest one of all.  I borrowed it from a wonderful cafeteria worker.  The woman’s sister died over the summer, and while the children were in the cafeteria line, another colleague approached Ms. Marsha and told her she was so sorry she’d lost her sister.  A little fellow in line chimed in after the colleague walked away, “I hope you find her, Ms. Marsha.”  She asked, “Who, babydoll?”  He said, “Your sister, and maybe a policeman found her and gave her some ice cream.”

Isn’t that precious?  So very young, and innocent, and so very kind.

We survived the first full week…somehow.  By Thursday, I felt like I’d been beaten with a bat.  I’m thankful to say we made it through the week with zero bathroom accidents and only four bouts of uncontrolled crying (none of them by me, woo-hoo).  Twenty little bodies are stuffed into my room but so far we’ve managed not to spread any communicable diseases or viruses.  Ah…but the year is young.

I Love You, Too

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I love you, too.  For never giving up on me, for helping me to see my worth.  I love you, too.

For the moments when I’m lost, when nothing is clear.  When things are gray and dense and muddled… and somehow you pull me through…I love you, too.

During the scary times…those moments when fear wants to swallow me whole but you don’t let me drown.  During the happy times…when I’m flying almost too high to breathe.  During every moment of every day…

For making me smile… For the warmth you simply bring into my heart by being near…

Friendship and family and your grace…

For all those things and so many more, I love you, too.

Thank you for loving me first.

Grapefruit and Glue

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I received this grapefruit from a little boy at school today.  For real, I did.  And I couldn’t help but giggle as I hugged him.  Instead of an apple for the teacher, I got a grapefruit.  His mother blushed as she told me that he was determined to bring it to me.

Is it a sign?  What does receiving a tangy grapefruit mean?  Hmm…I’m hoping for unique but not too robust!

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I also received this beautiful basket/tower of goodies.  A mother made it for me and for as much as you can see, there’s at least that much more in it.  It was unbelievable.

Two very different gifts.  Two very different people.  Both are special in their own unique way – a grapefruit from the heart of a little boy, school supplies galore from an active, helpful parent.  Let’s say a collective prayer that both are good, happy signs for a good and happy school year.