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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Graditude


Have you ever met a person  and regardless of the length of time you spend with them a connection has been  made? Sometimes that connection is immediately apparent, it's impact glaringly obvious. But more often than not,  you aren't cognizant of the effect until sometime in the future, when it hits and you and you  are left stricken by the power of humanity.

Over the last 15 months I have been extremely fortunate to see a side of people that is not always clearly visible. How people empathize, console, encourage, and support differs greatly, and is often quite personal. Many don't want to intrude or overstep while others come out of the woodwork to and in ways you might not have even known were required. There isn't a right way to show you care about someone. Being a fiercely independent person who hasn't always felt secure in leaning on others in time to need; I am incredibly thankful for the diverse ways that people love and care for one another. Although my disability often leaves me feeling alienated and alone, my experiences of motherhood and blindness has given me such a deep respect for people and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for every single friend, family member, colleague, acquaintance, friend-of-a-friend, stranger who has supported me on this incredible journey of life. I wish I could personally thank every one of you and express just how much your efforts have meant to me.

LM I'm Coming Home!

An unpublished post from June 2011.

I am going back to teaching in the fall. I couldn't be happier about this decision, although the new school year is still three months away the butterflies in my stomach are causing more anxiety than they should. My primary goal in attending the MCBTC in Kalamazoo was to reach the point where I'd feel comfortable returning to work. I'm as comfortable as I'm ever going to get.

I am going back to work part-time. I will be job sharing a 4th grade classroom. Yes, it's a new grade-level and yes, I will have to learn how to share space, students, and responsibilities with another teacher, but I this is the exact opportunity I need to transition back to teaching.  It will truly be my ideal situation to return to work.
I had never planned on taking anything longer than the last two weeks of school year and spending all of summer vacation with my daughter before returning to work full time in the Fall of 2010. Obviously things didn't go as planned and I ended up spending the 2010-2011 school year on medical leave.

Quick interjection - Not to get too political but I am eternally grateful for the health-care and short-term disability rights that my REA union collectively bargained for. Without exaggeration, if it weren't for health care and medical leave my husband and I would have incurred over a million dollars in medical expenses in 12 months. I am proud and thankful to be part of a union that fights for rights to protect their members.

Being a stay-at-home mom wasn't something I thought I'd be cut out for. Domesticity and traditional wifely roles aren't my style. I had a lot of misconceptions  about what motherhood would entail. One of the  biggest  was that I wouldn't find it challenging enough and I'd be bored. Since returning from Kalamazoo in April I've quickly learned that nothing could be further from the truth. There isn't a moment of my day where I feel bored. In fact, it's been so long since I've felt boredom I don't think I'd recognize it anymore. When I have a few spare minutes to do something for myself, the list of things I wish to partake in is endless - catching up on the world of news, pop culture, music, television, returning phone calls, working out, reading, writing, planning for next year etc. . . Literally I could write pages of the ways I'd spend my time. As far as challenging goes, I don't think I've ever had a job that is more demanding, more fun, and more rewarding.

My favorite past time is simply to stand back and watch Emy observe and take in her surroundings, examining every inch of new objects and recalling  previous objects by name or sound. These activities are fascinating to both of us. Part of me is reluctant to give up any of the time I currently spend with her. But the part of me that loves watching her learn and grow is the same part of me that adores my job. Nourishing this part is a must.

Although I am so anxious about returning to work and facing all the "What ifs. . ." that race around my brain and tie my stomach into knots, I know that I will never be more ready mentally, emotionally, or physically to return to teaching. I am so grateful that I get to return under conditions that will undoubtedly help my succeed all the while being  surrounded and supported by the most amazing colleagues.

To my Long Meadow friends and family - I will see you SOON!