Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elves, Reindeer, OH MY!

Elves, Reindeer, Christmas music, Christmas movies are all around & while I love all of these things, in Kindergarten they tend to lead to complete brain drain! How do you entertain 26 five year olds 3 weeks before Christmas? I have so much to teach...I've planned lots of fun things, but keeping their attention, keeping them even focused on the fun things is an exercise in futility! OH MY! Today, truthfully felt like the first few weeks of school! What do I do next? I've brought in the Elf on the Shelf! Even the Elf was at a loss today! OH MY! Tomorrow is Wednesday, half-way through the week. I think I will be working in small increments till December 23rd!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Writing & Running

TC has been talking alot this year about setting goals, specifically, writing goals, getting kids to write more. Writing longer & stronger. On two writing teachers, they spoke about it as well. I couldn't help but make a connection to how writing strong and long can be linked to my running life as well! I run, well, I should say, I try to run. I set goals, I try to meet those goals, I do not always achieve them, but I set goals. I believe it is the same in writing workshop. We need to have our student's set goals for themselves in writing. I also try to set goals for myself in writing. Goals that I want to accomplish. My student's need to set goals that they want & can accomplish. When I began to run I didn't set out to run the NYC marathon, I set out small. I ran small races first, then I set goals that were for bigger races, 1/2 marathons, (although illnesses, injuries have kept me from achieving those goals, the training did happen)so the practice was put in place! In my class we began this year setting small goals, when our year began my Kindergartners began reading & writing for 5 mins. Now it is November, they are reading for almost 15 minutes and writing for over 30 mins. They practiced to build up for the long & the strong. Practice is key, but so is the goal setting, knowing where you want to end up.
This year I am not coaching, I am back in the classroom, so I'm thinking of my own writing, my own goals in writing, what ways will I push myself professionally? I do not have access to other coaches where we brainstorm & talk about such things, ways we can push our student's to write strong & long. So my goal this year to find other teacher's on-line & in other venues that are trying to do the same things as myself! I am also thinking of reaching out to other like minded teacher's & starting a writing group. The past 2 years due to budget issues I have not attended NCTE where I learned so much. So again, I am going to think of other ways to grow my thinking.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Parent Teacher Conferences

This week we had parent teacher conferences. I am exhausted I must say! I always find them exhausting! I had 15 conferences in one evening, from 4-9 & then another 14 from 7:30 am till 1:00PM the next day! PHEW! However, I must say, I enjoy my conferences. I know, sounds crazy right? I find conference time most helpful to me as a teacher. It is my time to help me fill the pieces of the puzzle, to help me get to know my students a little more. This is the time to complete the puzzle. How do I get little Johnny to finish his work a little quicker? Why is it that little Suzie does not like gym? It is so important to build the pieces between home & school, the parents are the key to this piece. I leave conference time with my head spinning, filled with the new information that I have learned, filled with new ideas of how, of why...I leave excited & filled with new hope that together we will help all my students achieve & find success. So yes, I'm exhausted! I may not have taught during those conferences, but I sure was working! I was learning, thinking, listening, talking....phew! No wonder our student's are so tired at the end of the day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I think I'm back....

I have not sliced or written on my blog in a long, long time! I've missed it, very much so, but life just got in the way! Things got in the way as well as people (or should I say family who felt the need to voice their opinion about my writing) got in the way! I never should have allowed that to stop me, but I did, but not anymore! I hope that this first slice will be the first of many! I've noticed that not slicing or not writing most certainly has an impact on my ability to keep my thoughts flowing. Writing each week or everyday most certainly improves my ability to have clear thoughts & to make words come more quickly! It is so good for the soul! It is good to be back!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I can do it!

Last night, my son, who works with handicapped adults was asked if he would do a second shift at the hospital with one of his clients who has been in the hospital for the past couple of days. This would mean that he would be working a double shift. He would not have time to get dinner. So my daughter & I offered to bring it to him. I packed him snacks, a sandwich etc. to bring up to him at the hospital. While we were enroute to drop his dinner off to him he called to tell us where he was in the hospital. I stopped dead in my tracks when my daughter relayed the message. "Mom, he is on 18S, icu, room 132!" I immediately asked her to tell him could he just come down & get the stuff from us? She relayed that message to him & he replied, that he could not leave his client. I began to panic....you see, This was the same hospital & now the very same floor/unit that my son was on when he was critically injured almost 10 months ago. I'm not sure I can go up on that floor yet. I had not really thought about it till just then. But, once I heard the floor, all those memories just started flooding back to me. BY this point we were now pulling up in front of the hospital, Stony Brook Hospital & Medical Center, LEVEL 1 Trauma Center. We were now driving past the ER entrance, trying to find a place where my daughter could just let me out so we did not have to go into the paid parking garage. My daugther looks over at me & I have now begun to cry. I was in complete panic mode. My heart was racing, I could actually see us going through all the things we went through the night of the accident, where we parked, what emotions we were going through. The sense of hopelessness I had felt that night, the panic I felt knowing that my son was so badly injured, knowing his injuries were critical b/c I was at the scene with him. I tried to regain my composure, I tried to explain quickly to my daughter why I was crying, she looked at me like I was an alien. She really could NOT understand what was wrong with me. I quickly ran from the car while she explained to the valet guy what I was doing. I ran into the building, heading straight for the elevator. Even though it has been 10 months since his accident, it has been 9 months since he has been a patient in this hospital. It is amazing how quickly & easily I slipped right back into the knowing mode. I knew exactly where to go. I quickly pushed the elevator button & waited. The elevator arrived & it felt like I had never left. I quickly pushed the button for the 18th floor & waited to ride up all those floors. The ride felt like it did all those other times. That same feeling of awfulness that had engulfed me each & every time I rode that elevator returned. I could actually feel myself holding my breath like I did back then. I could feel myself looking at the faces of the other riders in the elevator. You could tell by the hollow looks on their faces whether their loved ones were very sick like my son or if they were here to welcome a new loved one into the world. I could feel myself counting down the floors like I did each time I did before. In the past I would go through the usual questions. How was he while we were gone? Did something happen in the 15 minutes we left? Did anyone come to see him while we were gone? Do you think he moved anything or opened his eyes? You see the whole time my son was in this hospital(3.5 weeks) my husband & I never left him. We kept a 24 hr vigil with him. The only place we went was to go downstairs & get our food to bring upstairs to eat either in his room or in the icu waiting room. The whole time he was on the respirator & in the coma my husband & I just could not leave him. We were just too scared to leave! When I exited the elevator the first place you see is the ICU waiting room. Gosh, it has not changed since we left. The faces that inhabit the room changed but the looks on their faces did not. You can see the same anquish on their faces, the same anquish I know that was on mine for those weeks that we were there. My husband & I sometimes referred to that as the ICU shuffle. The faces in the waiting room shuffled. Sometimes patients got moved to different rooms, out of ICU, that was a good thing, sometimes, you just never saw a patients family again, that was so not a good thing.You would sit in the waiting room, day after day, sharing your stories with the families. Sometimes the routine went like this, my son, yes, in a coma, example of how many days they were in a coma, how it happened, etc. You helped the newer families with how things worked, helped them navigate the system, tell them where to find food, pillows, etc. as I exited the elevator all of this flashed back as the families glanced up at me & the elevator doors to see who was coming off of them, who was getting a visitor, etc. I smiled & offered my best, I know, I've been there smile & kept walking. I knew where I was going, I knew where room 132 was, it was the room right next to where my son's old room was. I opened those big doors, trying to keep myself calm, trying not to start crying before I even reach room 132. I walk past room 138, 136, 134, as I go, I see two of the nurses that took care of my son. They recognize me, they stop me. Mrs. Pettit, what are you doing here???? Please tell me your son is not back here??? I smile & give them hugs. I tell them, no, no, he is fine. He is here, but he is here b/c he is working. He works for FREE, and one of his clients is a patient here & he is sitting with him tonight, so I am bringing him dinner. Of course they are so happy to hear that & so delighted to hear that he is doing so well that he is working. Then they say they will make a point of trying to get to his clients room to say hi. I explain that Kyle does not remember any of his stay here, just to forwarn them that he won't remember them, so they won't be insulted. They said, that is fine with them, they are so glad that he does not remember them, but are just so glad to hear he is here & well. I quickly keep going, deliver the dinner to my son & explain that I saw some of his nurses. He is surprised they remember me. With that I begin to cry. I have now shocked my son. I try to pull myself together, trying to explain to him why I am so upset. It is just beyond his comprehension. I understand that! I give him a hug. I scoot out of there b/c I am so ready to get out of there. I scoot out. Wave good-bye to the nurses, race to the elevator, trying not to glance at the families that I know are suffering in the waiting room. I know how much they are hurting, I wish I could help. I wish I could say something that could help take away their pain, I know their pain, I know & yet, I don't know what to say except, I know. Since I don't know their specific circumstances, I don't want to say it will all be ok, b/c I don't know that & saying that would be cruel. I remember someone who was doing the ICU waiting room shuffle before me who told me that my son would wake up the next day & when he didn't, gosh I remember how upset I was. That person did not mean any harm, they were just trying to be helpful. Everyone deals with their tragedy in different ways. I don't want to say something that would upset them more. I get back to the car where my daughter is waiting, looking to see if I have survived. I jump in the car & say, go, just drive please as I burst into my second round of alien tears. This time though she looks over at me & very quietly says to me, "mom, remember, he is ok and he will continue to be ok!" My daughter is right. I have spent this whole day going back through pictures from the past 10 months, pictures from when he first awoke from the coma, pictures from he went to the rehab hospital, pictures from when he managed to walk across the stage at his graduation, pictures from his Fire Department installation dinner etc. You know what, slowly, very slowly there have been changes & improvements & even though the last few weeks there were some great difficulties & backsteps, he has come a LONG way! So yes, yes it was hard to go back & think about where he was 10 months ago, but look at where he is NOW! Thank god for that hospital, those nurses, doctors & wonderful staff. Thank god I was able to make that visit last night for a very different reason. NOW what I need to do is muster up the courage to go back again & find the words, the right words for those sitting in the ICU waiting room b/c god knows, I had people who did it for me! I can do it & I will do it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Laughter really is the best medicine!

Last night my best friend & I went to country night at a restaurant/bar that was hosted by our local Country Music station. My friend & I share this LOVE of country music as well as the love of country line dancing, although the later we really don't know how to do, we just wish we knew how to do. We were so excited about this night, we talked about what we were going to wear, we even went shopping a few days ahead of time to get our very own cowgirl hats! I would even say we were giddy with anticipation...The hype did not disappoint. We arrived, laughing all the while in the car discussing if we would be the oldest people in the place. We were in luck! We were most certainly NOT the oldest people in the place. The place was crowded with people of all age groups. Who knew that country music was alive & thriving on Long Island. Much to our delight, they were already teaching newbies, such as us how to line dance, boy, we were in the right place. My girlfriend & I laughed, danced, laughed some more, sweated, laughed so much more. We laughed at how we could not catch on to the dances, we laughed at how we would turn the wrong way & be facing in different directions than everyone else, we would laugh when we finished WITH everyone & we laughed because we were just having a great time! WHO KNEW that country line dancing could make you laugh so much! People were so helpful & would just stop on the dance floor & show you some moves. It was a wonderful night, one we will be sure to repeat again in the future!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We are on Spring Break. I love being home with my kids. It is so different being home with my kids now as opposed to when they were little. They don't want to go, go, go like they used to. They want to go of course, but they want to go, without me. This makes me sad. When they were little, all you wanted was some time for yourself. NOW, now that I have this time, it is not all that it is cracked up to be! I miss when they were little and we went for trips to the park, trips to the toy store, trips to the musuem. I so cherish those memories. I just wish they were still little just a little bit longer! On Friday my daughter asked if we could do something together, oh yes, another memory for us together.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life has been so crazy & hectic that I have not been able to take the time to sit & write on my blog. You know what I noticed about not writing each day or at least once a week for the Tuesday slice? I grew a little weaker as a writer! I know, sounds silly, but it is true. I went to write an email today to a teacher, it was a "delicate" email to write. However, I feel it became even more difficult to write because my writing muscles were not as strong as they could be due to lack of use. I had difficulty finding just the write words. I found myself at a loss for exactly what I wanted to say. I often sat there looking at a blank screen unsure of exactly what I wanted to say. This reminded me of why our students NEED to write everyday. We tell them they need to grow their reading & writing muscles. However, did we really believe what we were telling them. I know I believed it, but do some of you REaLLY BELIEVE IT??? Did I SELL it to kids with that enthusiasm and conviction that gets kids on board and buy into what I am doing? I can't wait to share this little piece of discovery with some of my teachers who, like me, really "believe" in the writing we are doing. I hope they share in my excitement about my discovery & perhaps we can start our own writing group or I can get them to join this slicing adventure on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

aha moment of the day....

Today was staff development day with our trainer from Teachers College. I always look forward to these days. Unfortunately, not all my staff looks forward to these days as much as I do. There is usually some complaint, or moaning & groaning about how this is too hard for our kids. Why do we have to do 10 units? Blah, Blah! Today was not different & I left frustrated. I made it a point to come home & immediately de-stress from the day by going for a three mile run. Best decision I made all day. While running it occurred to me how training for my half-marathon is very similar to what we are doing in reader's & writer's workshop. Some of the insight I have gained as a coach is seeing the role each grade level plays in preparing our students for life-long reading & writing. It does not occur over=night, each grade level has it's role in this preparation. It is not about their individual year in Kindergarten or just about what they did in first grade. It is about the sum total of all those experiences that begin to shape, form readers & writers, one little bit at a time. I did not start out saying, next week I will run a half-marathon, this took time to prepare for. Time to grow my muscle strength, my endurance & stamina, one week at a time. Ureka! It is the same in building readers & writers. It is not about perfection out of the gate, but building reader's & writer's, one small unit at a time! ahhhhhhhh.........if only I could get some of my teachers to see how important their role in this is!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I need to keep pushing forward...

In the past 9 months, life has been incredibly challenging. I have gotten through a parent's worst nightmare by trying to keep perspective and appreciating that my son is still alive, everything else just really does not matter. The events of the past couple of days have really questioned my resolve. My son has hit a huge glitch in his recovery & I have honestly lost my perspective. I'm struggling to keep my chin up. My husband, my rock, he is not able to be a rock, he has hit his own wall. Our daughter, her brother's biggest cheerleader, she is struggling too! I'm hoping that this glitch he has hit will make us stronger. Right now I need that perspective & strength. We all do! I will continue to look at my boy & be so grateful he is alive, is it too much to ask that his struggles begin to diminish? Or, have I already had my miracle?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh no turned it oh so good!

Today began with my missing my gym wake-up because I had set my alarm wrong. Oh no, I really needed to run. I'm running in a race in a week & a half. I'm excited about this race, my first one in a really long time. I'm excited that I've been able to get back to running after such a long break from it due to 3 major surgeries in the past two years. I'm excited because I'm running this race with my best friend. I'm excited because I set a goal & stuck to it! I left for work with a busy day looming ahead of me. I was attending a conference, then I had 3 other big things to accomplish before getting home by 8PM. But, sometimes things just don't go as planned. My conference was cut short, which meant that my other plans were now going to move around. Delightfully this meant I could now go to the gym before it closed. I'm excited, today I ran & it felt great! I'm excited I ran 4.5! Life is good!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Smile for the camera!

Life is speeding by at such a fast rate that I need to remind myself, breath, look around, take it all in. I've become the picture fanatic in our family. I take pictures of EVERYTHING, every event. I do this because of the lightening rate that time is going by. I want to be able to look back & remember those times, look at those pictures and have myself instantly transported back to that moment. Unfortunately, not all my family members understand or share my love of the photo. Oh well, someday they will! SMILE!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The best of traditions!

This past weekend was one of those weekends where every single inch of it was taken up with an activity. It was a wonderful weekend celebrating my husbands birthday with dinner out, then hosting a corned beef dinner for some of our dearest friends, 40 kids & adults . We had 60lbs of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, Irish Soda bread & lots of delish desserts. The festivities begin with gathering to watch the St. Patty's Parade that has been a family tradition since I was 1 years old. It is certainly a family favorite. Our two children march in the parade & then we all gather to celebrate my husbands birthday. It is such a great day & I love being able to watch my children march in the parade like I did when I was their ages. I love that we have this tradition & love even more that my dear friends enjoy this tradition as much as we do!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

Recently I got to watch a favorite movie again & I could not help but make comparisons between the character in the movie & my son, & ultimately my students. The movie is, “RUDY!” It is a family favorite for many reasons, (football, Notre Dame) for some, but it is also a family favorite because of the premise of the movie. It is a true story about a young man who so desperately wanted to go to Notre Dame & play football. It was a daunting task & he had such an uphill battle to get there. He worked tires-sley to get into the school & to attain his dream of playing for the football team. This goal eluded him the entire time he was at the school. He was small, but he sure had tenacity. He was on special teams & never got to dress for any games until the very last day of his season senior year. The movie has many defining moments, a few that each time I watch the movie I cry. I’m not sure which defining moment is my favorite One of those defining moments is when his teammates stick up for him. They all march into the coaches office, one by one & ask that Rudy be allowed to dress for the last game. The coach says no, but the first young player refuses to listen to, “NO” he proceeds to say let Rudy take my spot & proceeds to hand over his Jersey. One by one the whole team comes in to the coach & hands over the Jersey. The other defining moment for me is when he gets to suit up & enter the field for the 1st & last time. His teammates once again stick up for him & beg the coach to let him on the field for a play. The coach was not having any of it, despite the defensive coach asking for Rudy to be put in. The team once again takes matters into their own hands. The player that handed over his Jersey first to coach starts chanting, “RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!” The whole crowd catches on & before you know it, Rudy has entered the field. He makes two plays, one he even makes a tackle. The game ends with his teammates carrying him off the field. The story is a heartfelt, feel good movie, but like I said it began to remind me of teaching & my son. When the whole crowd is chanting & then all stand up for him, I was instantly transported back to my son’s graduation 9 months ago. His accident was 4 weeks before HS graduation. We spent those four weeks praying for him to stay alive so imagine our delight & thrill when he is allowed to attend graduation. His rehab facility made sure he would get to go to graduation. When his name is announced the entire football stadium rang out with applause, chanting, sires blowing (his own FD company was there to cheer him on)! It was an amazing scene. His classmates gave him a standing ovation along with the entire football stadium. The moment was breathtaking for us. We were sobbing, screaming, & completely blown away. It was just PRICELESS! After watching Rudy again I realized my son is like the character Rudy. Rudy is a touching story about never giving up, NEVER letting anyone stop you from trying to achieve what is most important to you. Being a “Rudy” in life gets you through some really hard parts in life, but you are all the more better for it. My wish for my son, as well as my students is that I not only instill in them the “LOVE” of learning but the ability to be themselves, to never give up, to keep fighting despite obstacles & hardships. I wish everyone gets to have their “RUDY” moment in life! I wish to be the one to instill in them the “Rudy” principals in life. If I can achieve that, they will be successful in everything they do!


My Brothers, My Heroes...

On March 1st & February 14th of each year we celebrate in our family the anniversaries of my brother's adoptions from Korea. This year I got to thinking about these little boys. They were so frigthened & all alone traveling to parts unknown. They arrived at the home of strangers who did not even speak their language. They were so little, only 5 & arriving at the airport was so overwhelming to them. There were bumps, scrapes & even some bruising along the way to becoming adjusted to their new life. However, it did not take much time before these sweet little boys were pulling on my heart strings. You see, as the oldest child & not having any brother's before this, I was quite nervous about their arrival in my life. as difficult & hard as it was for them to come here & start a new life, my sister & I also had much anxiety about their arrival. But once seeing their sweet little faces with their troubled looks, dressed in the clothes we sent for them, it was no longer difficult for me. I instanty fell in love with them. I was smitten, I was completely enthralled with them. They were "MY" brothers. They were the pieces that were missing to complete our family. It didn't take much time for us all to find a rythmn in our new lives. It was as if they had been with us forever. They were truly a gift to me, one that I cherish deeply. I could not imagine my life any other way & so on 2/14 & 3/1 I celebrate them & their arrival into our lives & completing it in ways none of us ever imagined. They were chosen by us to come & complete our family. My life is truly blessed b/c of their arrival into my life! People often tell me how lucky they were to come here & live with us, but they are wrong, we are the lucky ones. Thank you Peter & Michael for being true reminders of what life is about!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes......

Today began like any other, alarm goes off at the crack of dawn, time to rise for the gym. It is 4:45 am. Oh my gosh it is early, I am tired & it is certainly cold out! The next thing I remember, I am opening my eyes to see the clock, which now read 5:50. Uh Oh! What happened? Really, did I turn it off in my sleep again? There will be no time for the gym now, time to get going, I should have already been on my last mile, mile #4 by now. Time to get ready for work. The rushing begins as I am contemplating that this may be how the rest of the day will go & I am beginning to think staying in bed all day just may be my best option.....
I get to my first class of the day, my favorite Kindergarten class! I walk in & I am greeted by these smiling, happy & quite adorable 5 year olds. I greet them & they are so excited to see me. I haven't seen them in over a week, I have missed them so! We got right to business, gathering these little munchkins to the rug for our read aloud. I take my seat in the chair & began to explain what I will be doing today. Immediately, one of the most challenging students in the class has his hand raised. I call on him! To my utter shock, he says, "Mrs. P, your hair is so different & I LOVE IT!" With that they all chime in of course, did you get a haircut? etc...The young boy who began the conversation interrupts & firmly states, and I quote him directly, "Boy, don't you guys see it, she dyed her hair to make herself look younger or to get rid of gray hair!" I immediately busted out laughing! This only happens in Kindergarten & I love it, you know what, I am so glad I did not go back to bed. I would have missed all the gloriness that is Kindergarten!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week Long Institute....where do I go from here?

I spent a week @ Teachers College Coaching Institute & now my brain has so many wonderful, stimulating ideas running through it I just don't know where to begin first. The week was jam packed with commuting to a far away school in Brooklyn that very much resembled the school I coach at. I was so excited to be doing this each day. I was so fortunate to meet wonderful woman from around the world who were just as excited as I was to be learning. Since this is my third coaching institute, I was honestly hoping for "some" new ideas, truthfully, I thought, it will be very much like last year, coach a little, lecture etc. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much it did not resemble my experience from last year. I was able to stretch myself as a coach, try many new things in coaching that I had not had the opportunity to try before. NOW, this is the hard part, what do I pick to implement with my teachers, where do I begin to sort through all the "wonderful" that this week was? I wonder if it will take me at least a week to decompress all the info! I do however, look forward to trying new things & propelling our work forward!

Where do we go from here?

I have not written/blogged in a couple of weeks. Life has just gotten the best of me. It just seems that we are in this strong-hold of horrible situations. Three weeks ago, my 35 year old brother-in law calls that a colonsycopy revealed two tumors, not polyps & they were going to be biopsied. My heart hurt for him, for I know what he was going through. I was there almost 3 years ago, that news just leaves you speechless & breathless. My biopsies revealed tons of pre-cancerous tumors. I was lucky, they went in & removed mine through a controversial surgery that took forever to be approved, but now looking at what my brother-in-law is facing, phew, that ordeal was NOTHING!!! His news just went from bad to worse, to down-right horrible. The tumors were indeed cancerous, horrible in and of itself, however, they found more tumors when more tests were done. These were not in the colon but on the liver & the lungs. The news there was grave. He was stage 4, the cancer was not only in his liver but in his blood as well. With each phone call, I felt more helpless. I did what you should not do in these situations, I cried my eyes out. No, not when I spoke to him or his partner or my other brother-in-law, I saved my hysterics for home, riding in the car & unfortunately, once while speaking with my poor husband! Our family is still recovering from my son's tragic accident, I'm not sure all of us have much fight or strength in us, yet, we found it, we pulled it together & have sprung into action. While we know his cancer is terminal, he has decided he will fight. He used this example, "If my nephew can fight to stay alive like he did, if he can be a miracle, so can I"! Oh boy, as I wrote everyday while my son was in a coma, while he spent 4 weeks in ICU, while he spent months in rehab, "Expect a miracle, get a miracle!" I will believe with him, I will fight with him, b/c after all, believing gives you strength to get through the really hard days. We are armed & ready to do this, to believe, to fight with him! Expect a miracle, get a miracle!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Progress...Slow...but it is progress!

On Saturday we hit 8 months, 8 months since the accident. I made it through the day without crying all day. It has been such a long, up-hill recovery for my boy! He has made remarkable progess. Recently though he hit a stand-still or even should I say, a road block & I really began to worry. He began to worry as well. This became a vicious cycle for him & I. He worried he would not make anymore progess & that life would be a constant struggle for him, that words would never come for him, that he would never be the same boy he was before the accident. I did not know how to tell him, that he would never be the same boy he was before. I didn't think that this was all bad, it just was the facts. He was different! Not a bad different, just different, he was more cautious, more reserved, more mature. I think it just happens after a life altering, tragic experience such as this. He is a miracle. He is our towns miracle, his friends miracle, his schools mircacle, my miracle. This changes you & how you look at things! He continues to make progress, but it is not as fast as the first 8 months, so it is frustrating to him. I feel so bad for him. But, I believe in him, I know he can do it! afterall, he came this far, he got through the hardest parts, he can get through these parts! Slow & steady wins the race! Keep taking those steps my boy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow, sleet, ice, oh my!

Snow, sleet & ice was the order for today. It made for a really scary commute home from work. They closed most of the roads that led out of my school. Before I even left school, our principal asked that all of us who lived far away from the school leave now because they were closing roads, major roads, highways that would take us home. He was worried we might not get out if we did not leave now. Oh boy, that would be me. I quickly shut off the computer, grabbed what I needed for home & got out of there. I got outside needed to scrape off my car. There was about an inch of ice on my car. I quickly scrapped & got in the car. I immediately saw as soon as I left the school parking lot the lights, flares & emergency vehicles at the entrance to the highway I take home. It quickly dawned on me that I would not be able to take my usual route home. I decided to stay straight, go through town & see if I could take the next highway that would get me home. I kept driving with the death grip on the wheel. I was driving like a snail. Every few seconds another emergency vehicle went rushing past me! What in the world was going on??? I was really beginning to get nervous. I just kept inching my way slowly to the next highway entrance to only find out that it too was closed! Oh my good-ness. I then decided that I would have to go through all the towns to make my way home. It would be much longer, but perhaps safer. It turned out to not be any safer, would most likely be just as long as going on the highway because the roads were so bad. It took a little over an hour and a half to get home. When I got home I turned on the news only to find out that 4 major road ways were closed by my school due to a 10 car pile up, an over turned bus, severe ice & unsafe road conditions, & last, the road up about 5 miles from my school where our intermediate school is was closed because the crossing guard slipped in the middle of the road broke his leg. I feel so bad for him as well as all the others that were hurt trying to make it home today. I'm grateful for my principal who let me go early. He is so caring! Snow, sleet, ice, oh my, what a commute home. I really can't imagine what tomorrow will bring because the storm is still yet to come? Oh boy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This made my day!

I often wonder if we really impact the lives of the children we teach as much as they touch ours! Something happened today that made me realize that perhaps we do make that impact when we least expect it. One of my third graders has been troubling me for some time. We have been working so hard to help him because academically he is struggling so much & he has gotten himself into lots of trouble outside of our school. We have suspected for sometime that he is involved with a local gang. We have done lots of interventions with him trying to help him make choices that would help him get away from the gang. It was frustrating as it seemed that he was not responding to anything we were doing and he was not really hearing what we were saying or really attaching himself to anything. I was growing more & more concerned about him. Today I entered his classroom & his face just lit up like a Christmas Tree. This just shocked me! He came right up to me, "you're here Mrs P! I was worried!" I asked him why he was worried? He then responded, he was worried that I might not be coming anymore to his class. Wow, I had found something he was latching onto. This was huge! This was so exciting! This was a breakthrough..... He was responding, he was listening & he was taking it in, he was enjoying workshop. This was a big start. Was he still out on the streets? Most likely, but I have him. We have established the starting point. We can go anywhere from here! Thank you writing workshop!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I guess we each let go in our own way!

I have trouble letting go and yet it is Dad who can't drive in a car with our children when they are learning to drive. I guess each of us have issues with letting our children grow up. I am ok with allowing the kids to learn to drive with me in the car. Dad, not so much...when it was Kyle's turn to learn to drive, I did all the teaching. I woke up when it snowed to take him out and show him how to drive in the snow, in the rain, in the dark and on the highways. Now it is our baby girls turn. I thought for sure, she is "his" princess. I really thought he would have an easier time. Nope, not one single bit. He drove with her once and almost had a melt down. His exact words were, "I can't do this, this is your area hon, sorry, I am out!" So, it seems that my husband likes all the easy stuff, taking them to pre-school, putting them on the bus the first day of school. I, I get all the hard stuff, the birds and the bees, teaching them to drive, killing all creepy crawlies in the house and oh the hardest one, I got to take our dog to be put to sleep! Poor daddy, he really is much more of softie than he wants anyone to know. Don't worry honey, I won't tell anyone....just all the people that read my blog! he, he! LOVE YA!

Let's Go Jets!

Today is a day to celebrate for those of us who are Jets fans! My post is not about my boy or about work or about anything profound except about being a fan of the underdog and never losing that belief! I have been a fan of theirs since I was in HS! (many, many years ago) I have been a fan in the good times and the bad times. I have been fan as well as my sister, my brothers and brother-in-law for reasons of great loyalty to an organization that gave us more than it will ever know! SO yes, it feels good to celebrate their hard work and how it has paid off for them this year! As a HS student my Marching Band was fortunate enough to each year be invited to play for opening day of the JETS! It was always an amazing experience to stand on that field to look out at that sea of people, thousands of them as we came marching onto the field! It was an experience that has never, ever left me! Some of my best experiences and memories of HS are from Marching Band and playing for Opening day of the JETS and also the METS at Shea Stadium. It truly was an experience of a lifetime that you just never ever forget and while the players and coaches may have changed, my love for the game and the team has not! Watching that last minute kick go over the goal post was quite thrilling for me. My husband, myself, brother-in-law, sister and brother cheered quite loudly as that ball was declared to win the game for the JETS! We all began screaming and it brought back those memories of those long ago times when we were all in the band together, all members of the RP Golden Eagles. So thank you NY Jets not only for yesterday, but for all those years of precious memories that have lasted me a lifetime. I am not sure that your organization knew when they invited our band each and every year to play for you how much that invite meant to a young girl and her bandmates! But I can honestly tell you that all of us, some 30 years later still talk about it and how much those memories meant to us! So thank you from all of us Golden Eagles! Our hats are off to you for more than being just a football team that won a game yesterday!

I am learning to let go....I think!

Before you love,
Learn to run through the snow
Leaving no footprint.

~Turkish proverb

I found this quote on a crafting blog I read and it resonated with me, big time! It was if she knew the inner struggle I was having and spoke personally to me. She wrote about how she was learning to not step on someone's snow. She was questioning herself and asking, "DO I love enough to not step on their snow?" What a great anology and so appropriate right now as I am learning to let go. Letting go of my boy and allowing him to make decisions for himself and not interfere. THE HARDEST thing for me to do as a mom! SO much harder for me to do since his accident. I hate to admit it, but I can be overbearing and yes, admitedly, controlling if that is what you want to call it. Can I be the only overbearing, controlling mom out there? I think not! I truly don't mean to be. I truly want him to be independent, self-sufficient and confidient. I realize if I continue to question his decisions and step in to point out things, with the good intentions of being helpful, I am not showing him that I believe in his ability to make those decisions. I am ultimately stepping on his snow, not loving him enough and most importantly not giving him the space and time to make his own decisions. What I need to do is really be quiet, step back and let him lead me, after all, I believe in him, I truly do, the more I show him that I do, the more he will believe in his own ability to do things on his own! I need to run through the snow leaving no footprint and allow him to make his own way.......lead the way my boy, I am ready to learn!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

7 Months Ago Today

7 Months ago today was the worst day of my life! 7 months ago today my son was critically injured and we almost lost him. It was positively a parent's worst nightmare! I am not sure what was worse, being the one who was driving the car or being my poor husband who received that awful phone call, with my horrific screaming, " please come come help, help me, he is so hurt, I don't think he is breathing, he is so hurt!" My husband has managed the aftermath of the accident very well, I am in awe of him. I admire his strength, his courage and his ability to move forward. It is so very different for me, I am haunted every single day by the images of the accident, of my son laying on the side of the ride fighting for his life. Of the blood coming out of ears and my knowledge at the time of what that meant. I knew, in a mom's sense of knowing, my son can die, oh god please don't let him die, not here, not now. It is not supposed to go like this. This just can not be happening. I could feel it all slipping away from me. He was unconscious, I knew that and yet I kept begging for him to sit up and talk to me, I kept telling him that he was not allowed to do this to me. That he was my boy and that I needed him. I so vividly remember holding him and telling him how much I loved him and that he was NOT going to do this! That his father and I needed him, that he had big plans, big dreams and so many things left to do in life! I remember the policeman arriving and trying to get me away from him and taking one look at his injuries and saying to the other policeman, we need medivac asap! I knew, I knew in my heart what I had already known was true, that he was as bad as I suspected. It was then that the fireman began arriving. They were the fireman from his own fire department. They came to get me to leave him and then they recognized me and then as they put it together that who I was laying over and holding was their own, their "kyle", their 5a7 Kyle, well, that look will never leave me either. The look of heartache was just as real as mine. The chief was the one who was finally able to pull me away from my boy and take me to the police car. By that point my husband arrived, thank god! He was again, a pillar of strength, I was not. I immediately fell apart again. It would not be the first nor last time I leaned on my husband to pull me through this ordeal. They would not let my husband see my son, they needed to get him ready for transport to the medivac area. He was transported and well, the rest is shall I say as much of a nightmare as well. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and fractured his skull in three spots. It was touch and go for several hours where we did not know anything for at least 7hrs. He was listed in critical, and unstable for the first 24 hrs, then critical but stable after that. Although the first 4 days were a rollercoaster and he was not out of the woods till the 5th day. He was in a coma for 9 days, had surgery, was in the trauma center, icu for 3 weeks and then a rehab center and then outpatient rehab for months. But, he is alive and doing well, thriving, and making his way back to himself! Through it all I have had my amazing and courgeous husband. Who yes, did finally have moments of breaking down and losing it. We took turns of holding one another up! I thank god everday for my husband's strength and courage, I never would have been able to do this without him! 7 months ago today was the worst day of my life, but today, today is good, oh so very good. I am so very grateful for what it has taught me about strength, courage, friendship and love. We made it through this because we had amazing support and love from our friends and family. We made it through this because we never gave up believing even when the news was so grave. 7 months ago today and life is good and I need to remember this when the nightmares come, I will remind myself, he is alright and that life is good.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Brandy, NO BRANDY! NO! NO! NO!

Our puppy Brandy is over a year old. She is a very good girl. Or should I say, she was a very good girl. However, since our other dog passed away over a month ago, well, to say that Brandy has had an adjustment is an understatement. Today was no exception. Last week Brandy ate my pill bottle, in record speed! Today in a 45 minute time frame she ate my neighbors Christmas gift, a beautiful snowman, his eyes, carrot nose, and one leg. GULP....good-bye Mr. Snowman! She then moved on to a brand-new pair of jeans of my daughters. Again, a Christmas gift. Not sure what the appeal of the jeans were, but GULP...GULP...GULP...Honestly, as I surveyed the damage, she kept running back to my bedroom and hiding under the bed and then coming back out to look at me, with the cutest of puppy dog eyes, like, are you still mad? Have you forgiven me yet? Brandy, ummmm, not yet my sweet darling pup! Honestly, I really do not know what has gotten into her? Is she lonely? Is she sad? Is she just plain mad that her dear friend Bailey has left her? I do so wish we could talk Brandy and I? I do know that Bailey trained Brandy while they were together, their short year together. She did a great job. Brandy does not run away, she comes when called, she knows to go in only one spot in the yard. I know Bailey would not approve of this behavior, not one bit! Perhaps I will tell Brandy that next? My kids think I am nuts for talking to her, but frankly, what else do you do with a pup who was so, so good for a whole year and now has turned into canine crazy pup?

Goodbye Vacation....Hello Work....

I love my job but I also loved being on vacation. I loved being able to sleep late, do things at my leisure, read books, stay in my pj's and watch movies. Of course, the very best, being able to spend endless hours laying around with my kids, hubby and crazy pup too! The best part of this vacation was that it snowed. Not just snowed, but we had a crazy blizzard which just added to the magic of Christmas. It just made it that much easier to be lazy and stay in our pj's because you really could not go anywhere. The roads were a mess, stores did not open, and basically you had no choice but to hunker down, drink hot chocolate or tea and watch movies in your pj's! I loved, loved, this slow paced, do nothing vacation. We have not had one of those in such a long, long time. Our lives have been so hectic that I vow that from now on our lives from this point forward need to be less hectic and less frantic. Less chaos, more down time. Less is most certainly more! As for my vacation ending, well, I am sad, I really could use even more of this down time. I guess I am just craving more. Oh well, that shipped sailed. How many days till the next vacation?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Who do you admire?

The truth is I have someone I admire greatly. I have a dear friend. She is someone who looks at life with the glass half-full even when I know hers is half-empty...She has the uncanny ability to take life as it comes despite the many, many health obstacles that have been thrown at her. Is it because she has had these many health obstacles that she now has this beautiful outlook on life? Or has she always looked at life this way and she has handled these health issues beatifully because she has this outlook? I for one am not sure, what I am sure of, I always feel better when in her company! Life is positive, happy and wonderful! I for one, know that I am blessed because she is in my life! Blessed to live my life better from what I have learned from her, from each other. That we will not entertain the negativity that can at times surround us. I LOVE that she sees and views things the way I do! Whenever I feel the positive energy seeping out of me, I know where to go...a visit with her is what I need to recharge my positive energy buttons. It feels so good to know that I have such a blessing like her in my life! God bless you my friend and thank you for enriching my life so greatly each and everyday! Do you have someone who you admire, who has enriched your life? Tell them, write about it, share it with them!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions and Units of Study

Well, it is that time...what time do you say? Time to turn over the new leaf, it is a new year, new units, new focus, a sort of rejuvention of sorts. Have you thought about what you will do to get yourself ready for this month's units in Reading/Writing? How will you get your student's excited for this months reading and writing? I think having a New Year's celebration with your students is a nice way to begin 2011 with your students. We always have new goals for ourselves, losing weight, exercising etc. How about having students revisit their reading and writing goals in workshop? Have them focus on what things they think they need to re-focus on or what they would like to really be better at? Do they need to read a variety of genres? Have they gotten bored in reading workshop? Do they need to spice up what they are reading? Are they not writing with stamina and rigor? How can they build up their stamina in writing workshop? How about doing some kind of slice of life challenge with them where they are writing these at home each night and sharing these stories at home each day for the month of January? A challenge in the month of January is a great way to gain re-focus and get back into the workshop after a week off of school that was focused on celebrating. Now let's take that excitement that was centered around the holiday celebrating and celebrate our workshops!
Let me know your know your thoughts....
Happy New Year!

New Year's Resolutions and then some!

Well it is here, the New Year, 2011....what will it bring?? For me, I only wish for peace, good health, and happiness for everyone! I really could not ask for more. I have not made all those goals I usually make for New Year's Resolutions. Lose weight, run more, eat less, yadda, yadda! After this past year in which we almost lost our son, I was sick and went from doctor to doctor, had heart issue after heart issue, 3 rides in the ambulance and was not able to drive a car for over 5 months, I think peace and health would be just enough! After all that we endured this past year you come to realize that some of the other things in life are just not important, that what you need in life is simple: you need your family who you love dearly. You need to surround yourself with people who are like minded who support and encourage you. I have that x 10! It is my wonderful friends and family that got me through this past year or more and it made me realize I have more than I need...all the rest is just icing on top of the cake. Losing weight, running more, eating the right foods comes when all the other things in life are put in perspective. So with that said, I am off to eat my lunch with my darling daughter and husband and relish in all the good fortune that lies ahead for us in this New Year! I wish you only the same! Happy New Year!

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