Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dealing With the Newtown Tragedy

I'm not usually the type of person to dwell on tragic events. I'm usually pretty good at processing it, dealing with my feelings, and moving on. But this tragic event is really taking its toll on me- as I am sure it is on many people. I suppose the reason for my lingering grief is multi-dimensional. Firstly, I am a parent, and I can't look at the faces of those lovely little children without seeing some of my own children's features in them. Secondly, I am a teacher and I cannot imagine how I would feel if faced with the task of having to keep my students safe, or knowing that I could not, from a madman. Thirdly, it's the holiday season, and I grieve for the families whose holidays will NEVER be a joyful as they were in years before December 14, 2012. Fourthly, I can't find any logic in this.

In the past there have been school tragedies, but there was always at least SOME sort of explanation. But there is nothing for the Newtown tragedy. There was no logical reason for that man to go to that school. He didn't have a problem with the kids, or the parents of those students. He hadn't been "wronged" by a current teacher or administrator at the building.....not that these are any so of reasons for a person to do what he did, but at least it would give me some reason for the events. We're all left wondering WHY?

I'm sure that I, like many, will never find closure. We will never be able to make sense of this act because it was created by a person who was not thinking normally when he acted. However, this lack of closure is making it very difficult for me to move on. I can't seem to think of much else these days; I break down when I hear Christmas songs, I censor everything I say in class because I don't want to even say words that may allude to the tragedy, and I am finding it very hard to get into the "Christmas Spirit" because the juxtaposition of my happiness and joy next to such tragic events seems so wrong.

I'm sure that, with time, I will move past these events. I will stop feeling nausea when I send my three-year-old to school and I will stop feeling guilty for being happy- but it's just so consuming right now.

If you are feeling as I am, how are you all dealing with this tragedy?


Friday, December 14, 2012

Broken Hearted- Newtown Shooting

I keep crying. Every time I look at the pictures on the news of the young students being led out of their school, or when I look at my own two children, or when I think about the fact that Christmas is just about a week away and by now parents will have stacks of presents stashed away and will have to look at them and feel the sorrow- once again- of losing their innocent, beautiful children. I just keep crying. The high school students that I teach were very upset this afternoon, and the school had an eerie, quiet feel to it as the news of the day spread, but I had to be stalwart and strong for them and not let them see just how scared and upset I was. But from the minute I got into my car at the end of the day until I walked through the door of my house and grabbed my kids and hugged them, I couldn't stop crying.

The pain I feel is nothing compared to what the people suffering through this must feel, but yet my heart aches. I am a Connecticut parent and a teacher, and perhaps that is why I feel so terribly sad about all of this. I just keep thinking about how scared those children must have been, about how their lives and their memories of school are forever marred. Parents will forever associate Christmas with the time of year that a crazed madman took their lovely, innocent childrens' lives.

How does one go back to school when an entire classroom of students is not going to return? How does one go back to her job as a teacher when she will forever remember the day when her students weren't safe and she couldn't do anything about it? How do you keep a building full of so much terror, and sorrow, and grief open? How?

Furthermore, what is happening to our world? It's terrifying! One can't go to the movie theater, or the mall, or even work or school anymore without looking around for someone suspicious looking. How do I send my son to school next week? So many questions.....questions I know will never be answered. You can't explain crazy, you can't account for human nature and physiology and psychology that drives a person to such an irrational, crazy, and terrible act. I keep vacillating between trying to make sense of it in my brain to not thinking about it at all, and I just feel sick to my stomach.

The fights online about gun control and how schools need to have better security and policies are already beginning, and I fear that they will take away from the 20 little lights that went out tonight. The 20 innocent, inquisitive, smiling, giggling lives that were taken before they even began. And as I even type these words I begin to cry again because it's just so unfair. I can almost....ALMOST....understand a crazed person going after someone who has wronged him, but to take 20 lives of these BABIES???? How? Why?

I suppose I'll never have answers. I just needed to get some of my thoughts out. I pray that the families affected will find the strength to make it through this terribly hard time. I pray that the children and staff who survived will find a way through their grief and terror to live "normal" lives, and I pray that this event doesn't cause more people to lose faith in the human race.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Mommy's Sacrifice: Time

When I was a teenager, I thought that my mom was crazy. She was ALWAYS busy. It seemed liked she loved to vacuum, clean, do laundry, grocery shop, etc. just because she liked to keep busy, but I now realize that she didn't LIKE to do those things- she HAD to! My mom worked a full-time job from the time I was about 3- even now she works full-time (albeit from home), even though she is amazing enough to watch my kids for me while I work. I guess I always just thought that she enjoyed keeping a house so much that she never sat down when she got home from work or when the weekend finally arrived and she had some time to herself. I suppose that I thought this partly because my mother never complained; she just did what she had to do to keep her house and her family in order.

Now that I am a mother myself, it has finally occurred to me that my mother didn't, in fact, enjoy working and cleaning at night and on weekends, but she had to because she wanted to keep everything clean and running smoothly for her family. This epiphany came to me while I was on the treadmill at the gym Friday morning at 5:45. I don't enjoy getting up at 4:30 in the morning 3 times a week to go to the gym, but I do it because the hour and a half workout in the morning saves me an hour and a half in the afternoon where I am able to be with my kids, or get home to help my husband, or to start dinner, do laundry, etc. I get up at the butt-crack of dawn and go to the gym to work out for an hour, use their yucky showers, and get dressed to go to work because I don't want to have to take away an hour to two hours from my family-time later in the day.

When I talk to teenagers about all of the reasons why they should wait to have kids, I often joke that if they ever want to nap again, or sleep past 6:30 in the morning, that they shouldn't have kids. But it's really not a joke. Perhaps one of the greatest sacrifices that a mother has to make is to give up her time. Whether it means giving up an extra hour or two of sleep so that you can work out in the morning, or cleaning the kitchen for an hour instead of sitting down and watching your favorite show after a long day at work, mothers have to sacrifice their time....all the time.

I have to admit, this has probably been the most challenging part of being a mom. I don't mind getting puked on, rarely being able to eat a hot meal, giving up my favorite spot on the couch and watching countless hours of Caillou and Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but I really miss getting to sleep in and wake up on my own terms, taking a nap if I'm tired or don't feel well, or sleep through an entire night without listening for a whimpering child who might need me. Would I give it up? No way. I love my kids and am so blessed to have them in my life, but I do need to acknowledge that I am human, and it is okay to miss some of the "me" time that I used to have. It's hard not to feel guilty as a mom, and feeling selfish and cranky about sacrificing my time makes me feel that mommy-guilt sometimes, but I suppose that's just another thing that mommies have to deal with.

What about all of you moms out there? Am I alone in feeling this? How do you deal with the guilt you feel when you want to have alone time? Is there a better balance between sacrificing my time and giving enough attention to my family? There must be an app for that, right? LOL.

Thanks for reading!
~ S

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hello World!

Hi All!
  Alright, so another mommy blog isn't exactly what the world needs, but I feel like I need an outlet for some of the thoughts and ideas that I have, and I figure, why not? If someone else can relate to the things that I blog about, then great. If no one reads my blog, well then it was a cheaper alternative than the $30 journal I saw and wanted to buy at Papyrus :) Besides, I know that I spend hours sometimes reading other people's blogs and watching their YouTube videos, so maybe someone out there will find me and my life interesting too.

So, I'll start by saying that I'm going to call myself "S". I's very Gossip Girl, isn't it? I'm 31 years old, I've been married for 7 years, and I have a son who is almost 4 and a daughter who is 21 months old. I work full time, and like to bake and cook and quilt- I know, I sound like an old woman. I also love all things related to organization. I am a huge lover of binders, labels, post-its, sharpies, containers, folders....oh how the list could go on.

This blog will, hopefully, be a place where I can record my funny and memorable family stories, and post some questions when I need advice. I will also share all of the mommy wisdom that I have learned over the mere four years that I have been a mommy- in hopes that if someone is out there needing advice or questioning something about parenthood that maybe I can give them something to think about. I am by no means an expert, but I like to think that I am a reflective parent who has learned a few things along the way. Please, I'd love to hear from you all about topics or questions you'd like to see me answer, or suggestions for how to make my blog a better place!

I'll hopefully be inspiring, entertaining, or prompting thoughts from my readers from here on out!

Thanks for reading!


Santa!!! I Know Him!!!

Today was my annual play hooky from work day to go to the mall, beat the crowds, get our family Christmas pictures taken and take the kids to see Santa. Surprisingly, with an almost 4 year old and a 21 month old, the day went pretty smoothly. We made it to the mall with about 10 minutes to spare before our appointment at the picture studio, and the kids were at a great age this year to really take direction well and produce some cute pictures. The studio we use is Portrait Simple and I LOVE them! They are easy to work with, and you leave with all of your pictures that same day.

So, after our family picture session we took the kids to Build-A-Bear workshop and then had a nice family lunch to kill some time before Santa arrived. We only had to stand in line for about a half an hour before Santa arrived, and then it was time to plop the kids onto the strange man's lap. (A bit of a digression here, but we teach our kids to be afraid of strangers, and then we wonder why they freak out and cry when we try to plunk them down in some strange man's lap? Hmm.....strange.) My four year old son did well- even though we couldn't get him to smile for the picture. However, my 21 month old daughter- who isn't so fond of strangers, men especially, to begin with- would not stay seated! So, the picture we have is of her airborne as she's jumping off of Santa's couch.

The "elf" taking the picture asked me if I wanted to try for another picture but I just laughed and said, "No- It's a memory" and chuckled as I paid for my $20 dollar pictures of my daughter crying and leaping away from Santa as my son sat oblivious on his lap.

So, my piece of mommy advice to take away from this? I've shook in line in year's past and watched mothers try to talk their kids into smiling, or make the "elves" take picture after picture until it's perfect, and all I want to say is: "It's a memory!" The pictures of our kids screaming, or trying to get off of Santa's lap, or jumping off of the couch are the pictures that we are going to look back on years from now and laugh about. It is hard, especially now in a culture where I feel like we all need to be perfect mommies with perfect families, to accept that our kids have breakdowns sometimes (even on camera) or that after 4+ hours at the mall we are all getting to the end of our fuze. Yet, when we can accept that picture-perfect isn't always best, it makes for a less frustrating and more fun family day out that creates memories to talk about for years to come. Try not to sweat the small stuff mommies! Live in the moment, accept that our kids aren't going to do what we want them to most of the time, and that they are going to embarrass us in public and laugh about it! After all, I'm sure we are just receiving some karmic payback for something that we did to our parents at the mall during a holiday season in years past.

I did a search online for "funny kids with Santa photos" and found some great examples of terribly funny pictures (like the one posted below). Take some time to search for these and as you chuckle through them, just think about all of the great family conversations that will happen every time these photos are brought out.

Here's to a less stressful holiday season!

Thanks for reading!