I’m the decider.

Well, at least a little bit the decider. I want to thank all of you for your ideas and thoughts – some of you had some insightful things to consider and I did. After spending some very limited time with my friend Kerry, and waking up to what the truly important things in life are all about, here’s what I’ve decided: I’m going to pass on applying for the assistant principal job at my school. There are a lot of reasons why, but what it boils down to is this: I feel like making this decision shouldn’t have to be so hard. When I have as many doubts as I do – none of which have to do with me or my ability – I should just move on.

You know, the thing is, I know that I’m capable of doing the job. I know that I would do well. I know that I want to be a principal someday, I just know this, too: I don’t want to be one right now at my school. There are too many factors completely out of my control. It could (and probably would) end very badly, given the current state of administration at my school. I have at least 20 years left in education in the state of Colorado, I love teaching at my school, and I’m only 34 years old. I have time.

So, yes, I’m taking the safe route. I’m taking the poor route. I will, indeed, be the only teacher at my school with two master’s degrees along with two licenses. I will probably keep doing track (and tearing my hair out) and student council (and tearing my heart out). I might not get another opportunity like this at my school for a very long time. I just might regret this decision.

However.

I get to be married to a man, not a school. I get to have a full summer vacation with my own kids, not with school staff. I will be able to decide what I want to do outside of the classroom and when I want to do it. And I get to continue impacting students in the most effective way I can – by teaching them. I am a great teacher. I know that. I also know that I can be better. So I will use this as an opportunity to get better. Maybe I will teach new classes. Maybe I will try a new pedagogical technique.

Maybe I will have a baby.

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I just don’t want to. Don’t. Want. To.

Make a decision, that is.

The assistant principal position for my school was posted on Tuesday. I can’t decide if I want to apply. My life is fucking chaotic right now. Let me give you a peek into my fucked up brain:
I can’t focus.
I can’t think.
I am constantly on the verge of tears.
I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.
I haven’t been home before 8 on any school night in what feels like a hundred years.
I haven’t had sex in so long, I can’t remember it.
I drink too much.
I don’t sleep enough.
I am more exhausted and tired than I have ever been in my life. EVER. Including the times when the girls were infants.

I want to be assistant principal. I know that taking that position would allow me to grow and I would get to keep me student council position and do the things I love to do. I just don’t think I want to be one at my school. Because I don’t know who will read this, I have to just say this: Knowing what I know, it would be foolish and egotistical of me to think that somehow things would be different because of me. I don’t know if I’m ready to make those kinds of deals and commitments for a measly $20,000 a year. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I want. One day I want to be a principal, the next day, not. One day I want to have another baby, the next day, not. One day I want to coach track, the next day, not. I feel like a fucking schizophrenic. I literally feel like my brain and body are going in at least five different directions and I don’t know how to pull it back together.

I’m so confused. I feel so alone. I just want someone to tell me what to do. My dear dear dear husband supports whatever I want, which would be wonderful if I knew what I want. I just don’t know. I’m lost. I don’t know what to do, and I don’t want to make this decision. I just don’t want to. What I really want to do is go curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep – but I can’t do that, either. So I will continue to bottle this up until I either kill someone or just explode.

Welcome to the world Bo and Go!

My dear friend Kerry is a mommy!!!!! Here’s a special treat just for you – because DMB will always remind me of you now. Love you guys!

and this just for you, Jeff. And me, too. 🙂

So much for a no-Valentines Valentine’s Day

On Wednesday night (I think), I cautiously broached the topic of V-Day with Jess. We basically decided that we didn’t really want to do anything – thank goodness we’re both on board the “it’s a completely made up holiday and if people really knew about St. Valentine, they wouldn’t think it was so romantic” train. Instead, we decided we would take the girls out to lunch and then to see Coraline.

Of course, unbeknownst to him, I had planned on getting him a little token this morning while he volunteered at the Balloon Festival. And of course, unbeknownst to me, the festival got cancelled. So when I got up this morning and came downstairs, I found a card from Ryan (awwwwww!), a card from Jesse (have you seen the Hallmark commercial with the “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” song card? that is here now.), a Starbucks gift card AND a new coffee mug – it’s red AND glittery, and a sweet message on our chalkboard.

Oops. I got a bit flustered, then explained that he would just have to wait, since my shopping time was interrupted by wind and snow. So we went to lunch at PF Chang’s, where it was like every person in the greater Loveland area decided to do Valentine’s Day lunch instead of dinner, and saw Coraline, which was AWESOME!!!

Then I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and got Jesse this:
the rack

Which means I’m totally getting lucky later AND he now has a rack that is *almost* as nice as mine. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Love You Forever

Have you read this book? It’s a children’s book. It’s wonderful. It’s brand new in our house. Here’s why:

Many many moons ago (about 180 moons, actually) I was in my methods classes for my elementary education degree. One day, as part of some long-forgotten plan, we all brought our favorite children’s classic to class to read. Someone brought the book “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. The book chronicles the growth of a boy and his mother, who sings to him this song:
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.

Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? It is. Until the mother is old and SICK and he sings to her instead, while she DIES!!!!!!!!!!!! and then he goes home and sings the song to HIS NEW BABY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I first heard this book, I had to leave class before the end. Literally. I walked out. In the hallway of the oil and engineering building of the Roswell Campus of Eastern New Mexico University I had a complete emotional breakdown complete with sobbing. I have avoided this book like the plague since. Until Sunday.

On Sunday I saw the book at Target. Despite a brief argument with myself – out loud, I might add. In Target. – I bought it. I argued (apparently convincingly) to myself, “YEARS have passed! You’ve grown! The girls will love this book!” Turns out I was wrong.

For the past four days Ryan has ignored the book. The cover that portrays a toddler boy (boys have germs, ya know) playing with toilet paper didn’t appear to her. Tonight after her bath I told her with a big smile, “We are reading this whether you like it or not!” She loved it. I couldn’t finish it. For real. I got to the last four pages and my sobs overtook me. Daddy had to step in to read the last page of song. Ryan didn’t notice – or at least she didn’t let on that she noticed (good girl, punky). And then she said, “Can you read it again? I like this book.”

So Daddy read it. I listened while I folded laundry and the tears came. The tears came for every day I haven’t had with my mother, with my daughter. They came for every day that I have with Ryan. They came for every day I go without another child. They came for my dad who lost the love of his life. They came for the fears I have. They came for the love I feel watching Jesse read to Ryan. They came and came. And they came while Jesse read the song wrong: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll love you for always” and Ryan said, “LIKE you for always, Dad!”

And I realized that this book, this simple, stupid book, carries one of the truest sentiments a mother will ever learn: I will love them forever. I will like them for always. As long as I’m living, my babies they’ll be.

Well, this was quite disturbing

On my way home tonight, “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler came on the radio. Yes, I was tuned in to Delilah. Leave me alone – you already know how I feel about the cheesy love song. I started to reminisce about singing that song at my high school graduation – dedicated to our parents, of course – and that led to thinking about that movie Beaches (waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!), which somehow led me to think about who exactly is my hero. Who would I dedicate this song to now that I know my “parents” were actually full of shit? Who is the someone that I really look up to, who is “everything I wish I could be?” The lyrics also speak to someone who is supportive, who is always there to inspire and love…and I was absolutely stuck.

I have no hero.

Now before you start lecturing me about the importance of my husband, please understand that I love him and respect him and we have the most amazing marriage and relationship. To a certain extent, he has characteristics I would like to be *like*, but he is not my hero. And you can forget the parents – my mom wasn’t heroic: she knew she was going to die, but she chose to spend the last 9 months of her life away from us, and my dad? Are you kidding? Yeah…um…no. There’s my aunt, who took us in and raised us and whom I view and respect and love as my “mom,” but, no.

So I started thinking about professional heroes. I admire some people I’ve never met, like Pat Summitt. The woman is a GOD in coaching and I would give my left arm to even job shadow her for a day, but I don’t know her. She’s not in my cell phone to call up when I’m having a bad (or good) day. There are some teachers who I respect, and administrators I have learned from (their mistakes, though), and then of course there’s God, but does God really fit the role of hero? Considering I haven’t been to mass in about a year, I’m not sure God even knows my name anymore.

So here I am – heroless. This might explain why I’m feeling so frustrated lately – I have no sounding board. Why I’m feeling so lost – I have no mentor. Why I’m isolating myself – I have no connection. And this disturbed me. But it doesn’t make me sad, and with more reflection, this doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been on my own literally and figuratively for so much of life that it’s become second nature. It is difficult for me to rely on others, to put my faith in someone else.

I think it’s time to do that, though. I have to find a way to make this time in my life a positive one, and this might be a way to do it – to face my fears of dependence and disappointment, to truly have faith in another person, to take a risk.

Maybe just doing that will ensure that my daughters will always have a hero in me.

Isn’t it too soon for this conversation?

Megan called me the other night to tell me that her friend had gotten her period. Megan was full of questions. Here’s how that conversation went:
Megan: “My friend Torian got her period and she’s younger than me and when I told my dad and asked him about it he told me I am just a little girl and not to worry about it and I don’t want to talk to my stepmom and How old were you, Mom?”
Me (whoa, now): “12”
Meg: “So I’ll be 12?”
Me: (sweet God, I hope not) “well…maybe. Some other things will happen first.”
Meg: “Like what?”
Me: (uh, you will stop sleeping with a nightlight) “your boobs will start to grow, your hips will grow, you’ll probably get some pimples, you’ll start to get darker hair down there…”
Meg: “Really? But what if it comes without all that? Maybe I need to buy some of those ‘things’ just in case.”
Me: (are you KIDDING me? I will NOT feel better) “Some pads? Megan, it doesn’t just come gushing out of you. You will know. There will be spotting.”
Meg: “Hm. Okay.”

So as I’m contemplating the full weight of this conversation, she texts me, “When I come this weekend could we go buy some of those so I feel better?”

She’s eleven. And while I remember being absolutely obsessed with getting my period at that age, I cannot believe these things:
1) That her father still thinks she’s a little girl. I wonder if he will still think that when she’s knocked up at 15. God, WHY doesn’t he wake up??!?!??!
2) That she’s old enough to even KNOW about periods, let alone worry about getting one.
3) That I will be the mother of a teenager soon.