Wednesday, October 19, 2011

*Adults are like Kids*

Well, I officially made it through my first nine weeks of school! I still find myself having these moments where I feel like I'm living a surreal life. Like when I saw the artwork for my class set up for the auction last Saturday, it dawned on me that I'm a teacher. A real one.

Sometimes in the teacher's lounge I feel like I'm just visiting the school as a college student. It's easy to do, because my internship was only a few short months ago. I smile and wave at the women in their 40's, 50's, and 60's and wonder what it would be like to be an adult. Then I end up walking to the end of the hall and realize there's nobody else's name on the door but my own. I AM the adult…I have the same job as those women I just passed by in the lounge and am doing the same work they do everyday. I'm the brains of that operation no matter how surreal it may seem.

A few years ago, I thought it would be impossible to handle so much responsibility. I am pleasantly surprised to find out that it is something I can do and was completely ready for. Kind of like when you think about driving at the age of 13 and it seems impossible, but by the time you're 16 it's no big deal at all. That's kind of how it's like to be an adult. It's really not as scary as it seems and I'm beginning to realize that all adults are pretty much like kids only with a lot more responsibility.

My whole view of the adult world is completely changing. Believe it or not, adult women like to have fun and want to have girl talk just as much as a jr. high girl. Adult women have lots of feelings and want to sit on the couch and watch TV as much as a kid does. Adult women need to feel loved and accepted just as much as a child. They long to be seen and maybe that gets difficult after motherhood hits because suddenly they turn into the workhorse with a stretchier belly. All adult women deserve to feel special and like they are worth listening to. Females, no matter what the age, need to know they are worth being seen. We all need to know there is a beauty about us both inwardly and outwardly that somebody notices. I think that never changes no matter if we are 9 or 90 years old. It's ingrained in us as women. God meant for us to bring beauty and life into a hard, cold world and something inside us knows that. That's why we spend 30 minutes every morning getting our hair just the way we want it. The world may be in tatters, but baby, our hair won't be!

I remember when I was little I was sure that my mom never had any feelings, but maybe I was wrong about that. Maybe she didn't just LOVE carrying around all our junk at the zoo in her fanny pack. Maybe she did get tired or have her feelings hurt at times. Maybe she didn't just wake up and live for cleaning the house and grocery shopping. Maybe it wasn't always easy to get all the Christmas presents wrapped and under the tree. I always thought all of that came easy to her, but the older I get, the more I realize the price of being a good mom.

It's weird how life looks so much different with each passing year. It's even weirder because I remember all of my point of views growing up. Like when I was six years old and was sure I knew EVERYTHING there was to know about the world. I would get so frustrated that the adults wouldn't just take my opinion as complete truth. Seriously. I was pretty set in my ways…no wonder the Lord had to break me many times in my later years. I was a stubborn little chubbster with a big bow in my hair and hands on my hips. I remember being so convinced that an hour and a half equals five hours that I would argue about it until I was blue in the face. (I still really think I was told that by somebody….I won't let that argument ever die, but I can admit now that the math on that was slightly off.)

Now that I'm a little older…I'm realizing that I was wrong. Maybe I'm still wrong in a lot of ways, but I guess time will have to tell me that. For now, I'm content with the knowledge that adults are like kids….and that's a major discovery.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

*An Unlikely Pair*

Well, it's that time of year again. The awkward time when I can't quite figure out if the heat or air conditioning should be on. My tan lines from the summer are fading with each passing day and my love for coffee is more intense than ever. The Pumpkin Spice latte fest has officially begun and my debit card is thankfully getting enough swipes to earn interest on my account because of it. I made 70 cents last month, thank you very much!

I made the most unlikely friend this past weekend. Through this new relationship I have realized that I may not be as set in my ways as I thought. I am finding out that it is very possible for me to surprise myself. The surprise this weekend came when I unexpectedly fell in love for the first time….with a dog. Yes, you did just hear that right.

As most of you know, I do NOT like dogs. I think they take up way too much time and energy and it bothers me that they try to run away from home so often. The fact that I'm a germophobe does not help matters, either. How people can live in a place where a smelly animal puts their unkept rear end on the couch is beyond me. It just seems wrong!

Things that smell bad REALLY bother me. I have heard so many people say: "No, my dog doesn't stink!" only for me to get close to it and almost gag from the odor invading my nostrils. Unfortunately I judge things off the way they smell and it's a burden I bare. Like if someone has bad breath it's very hard for me to forgive that. Once or twice is fine...I mean we ARE human…but if it's just a lack of brushing and flossing I find it entirely offensive. Bad breath ruins any conversation no matter how sweet to the ears it may be.

Okay, now that I got that soap box over with I can move on to my actual story. I babysat some kids out in the country this weekend who had the HUGEST dog I've ever seen! When I first saw him I seriously started freaking out and thought about faking a blood clot or heart attack. He scared me half to death and kept pushing on me and jumping up for the first couple of minutes. His owner was like: "Oh, just pet him and he'll stop!"…HA...RIIIGHT…PET HIM...."ummm…I don't pet dogs…ever" was my quick response. Luckily she had a good sense of humor and isn't the type of person to put her dog above a human and just laughed at me.

After they left, it was just me and the dog. I looked it square in the eye and it looked at me with his head cocked curiously. He was trying to figure out why I was acting so funny, I think. "Back, dog! BACK!" I said as scary as I could. He took one step back and just looked at me like I was crazy. Then I started walking around the house and he began to follow me. He didn't try to jump up anymore but just stayed behind me about a foot away. It's almost like he realized I didn't want to be touched and completely respected that.

He continued to follow me outside, around the house, and anywhere I would go. When I decided to take a short nap on the couch, I was pleasantly surprised when he laid down on the floor and started to snore. He was literally doing whatever I did. When I ate, he ate…when I slept, he slept. When I went around to lock the doors at night…so did he.

I was in the middle of the woods which was kind of creepy, so I decided to move his dog bed to my door to feel a little safer. I never thought I'd do something like that, but there was something about this dog that I connected with. Something about him made me feel like we were friends. Something about him made me feel like I wasn't so alone. Instead of being terrified of the dog, he made me feel like everything was going to be okay. He let me know when anything weird was going on outside and he never tried to run away. In fact, he has a huge doggy door so he can go outside to run in the woods whenever he wants and always comes back afterwards. He's smart like that.

The weird thing is that I could go on talking about this dog all night. Like the way I miss the sound of his tinkling collar or how I wish he was here right now. I realize why some people get so attached to their dogs, because I really liked him a lot. I would even go further and say that I loved him. He was my companion and my buddy for the weekend and we really had a bond that I will never forget. When I woke up in the morning I even patted his head and said: "Thank you for your services, sir."

If only he knew what a big deal that was.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

*Memory/Made for a Purpose*

When other six year old kids were in school, we would be setting up a little village in the backyard. Each of the four kids had a tent that we would put up and make into our own "home". We would make a trail to each front door and there was a main community area in the middle. My brother Zach was really great at designing things, so that was really his part of the game.

My mom gave us real dishes that we got to pretend to clean. She would bring us out a bucket of water and a towel and we could sit out there scrubbing those glass dishes for hours. We even got to bring out our blankets and make beds. Me and Molly would interior decorate our entire tents until they were full of flowers and nick knacks to make it a home. Once we got everything ready, we would get our baby dolls and play like we had our own little family in the neighborhood. The boys would play along, too (minus the baby dolls) which was one great thing about us all being around the same age. It was really wonderful time in life….

The setting up process would take SO long and my anticipation would build as the minutes ticked on. Finally when everything would be ready, I could barely contain my excitement and I would feel happiness bursting from head to toe. Usually things would go smoothly and we would play until dinner time…...but somedays….it didn't work out so well.

I remember one time after we finally finished setting everything up, I heard one of the worst things a kid can hear at that age…."I don't want to play anymore." Um…excuse me?! You don't want to play anymore?!?! Are you crazy?! We just got this set up! The feeling of wanting so bad to play something, thinking that you are going to get to, and then someone getting burnt out too soon was pretty much a disaster in my little mind. I think it was my very first taste of disappointment.

I still get that feeling sometimes and it never ceases to be the biggest buzz kill. A lot of times, when a woman feels an emotion, her brain takes her back to places that she has also felt that emotion. Then, of course she has to get upset about that all over again, too. I think that's why men don't understand girls and their hysterics. They don't understand that we are not only mourning the moment…but an entire lifetime. My dad and brothers never quite understood the drama fests of the women in my family, but they sure got plenty of it. Being a female is tough and I don't know if many men could handle it. But then again, we don't have the responsibility of running the world….so I think it all evens out in the end.

Can you imagine if it were up to women to be the head of the family? Can you imagine if we we are the ones that this world was riding on?! If I had all that responsibility, I'd run crazy screaming through the streets! If I was the brains of the operation at some major company and had this internal need to provide and compete….I would be done for! Luckily, I am completely non competitive which is good because I am horrible at many things.

On the playground the other day, I had a really eye opening moment. All of the kids love to show me their tricks and I hear my name called out over and over again. It may be to just watch someone jump rope, or go down the slide, or run to the other side of the playground. They just need to know somebody is impressed with what they do. In the midst of it all, someone came over to me and said: "Miss P…I can't run fast or do flips or jump rope...I guess that's just the way God made me!" I looked over and smiled and said: "Baby, that's a wonderful way to be made."

I can't run fast or do sports either so I could completely relate. It was like the Lord was trying to tell me something through that statement. Lately I've been thinking about some things that I wish I was or had in my personality that I don't. Sometimes I even try to force myself to think or be something that I'm not which never works out well. Like me trying not to be a deep thinker and professional over analyzer of my daily life is never going to happen. I remember analyzing and contemplating the meaning of life when I was seven years old. "Why am I here?" I would ask myself in the mirror. Then I felt claustrophobic in my own body….like I was stuck inside. I was totally aware of my soul and thought about it a lot when most kids were just playing barbies. I still spend many nights alone just trying to wrap my mind around the deepest questions we have. It is very hard for me not to analyze things and actions and people on a deeper level. It's just kind of what I do. The Lord made me that way, though… and He made me that way for a purpose. And He made you the way He did for a purpose, too.

One of the things I am learning most of all through my first year of teaching is just how special each person really is. How different each brain works and how they all have something that they are really good at. Each student in my class is so unique and so different and I see so much good the Lord has for their future. I am absolutely sure there are some very important leaders of the future sitting in my classroom right now. What a blessing to be a part of that.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

*The Old House*

So I was just reading some of my blogs from 2009 and I'm pretty sure I forgot half the things that happened. I tend to forget my life accidentally.

I was driving home from school on Friday and decided to take a detour and drive by the house I grew up in. It always feels so strange to drive up that road, because it still feels so familiar. When I got there, I slowed down and started to stare at it as memories flooded my mind. Memories that could only escape if I allowed myself this moment.

I noticed there was a little boy playing outside on a rock that I used to play on all the time. I stopped the car and watched him for a minute until I noticed his dad come outside and start to stare at me. I don't exactly fit the profile of a criminal, but I guess you can't be too careful these days.

It was really weird not being welcome at the place I know so well. Glimmers of the past like the old rusty basketball goal stood right next to the reality of today. The reality of a man basically saying "Get off my property, you crazy!" and I guess he didn't realize it was my property, too. That's where I spent countless hours building cities for my barbie dolls and brushing my American Girl's hair. That's where I pretended to be a mom everyday as I took care of my favorite baby doll named Chad. I really don't like the name Chad, so I'm not sure why I named him that….but I sure did love him. I don't remember many days I didn't play like I was a mommy. I've always been very maternal, even more than the other girls around me and maybe it was because I was made to be a teacher and a mom. I guess it was just ingrained in me and there's nothing I can really do about it. It's just innate…put there by God himself. I loved loving and taking care of babies even back then and that is something that has not changed.

I ended up driving away pretty soon because I realized I was making the new owner uncomfortable and I was definitely not welcome. I started to think of things that are a lot like the old house as I drove down the road forcing my mind back to my now. It made me realize that a lot of things in life are like that. Some things that were once so familiar and may still be, but we have no way to get to them anymore. Like my old dorm rooms…even though I have so many memories there, I can never go back. It doesn't belong to me anymore. And it would be entirely inappropriate to go use my locker from high school because that belongs only to my yesterdays. It still feels familiar, it still feels like it should be mine…but I have to walk away.

I've noticed people can be like that, too. Lots of people. People that I really care about that had to move away or just aren't in my life anymore. Sometimes your paths cross with someone for a short, beautiful time and then it fades into the background as life continues to go on. We may see those people again and they seem so familiar, but for some reason…it's just not the same. It's like the old house with familiar remnants of the past colliding with the new and unfamiliar reality of the present.