Keeping tonight’s blog short and sweet. There are some days that I wish had a reset or a redo button! Today was one of those days.
But, coming home after a day like today – much later than I had even planned, I am starting to feel differently.
Construction on the front porches had finally begun!! Drew surprised me by showing me his first math test grade. It was a B+, and for anyone who knows how much Drew struggles in school, this was HUGE! He was so proud of himself. I left for my kickboxing class, which is always a huge stress reliever. I came home to dinner waiting for me on the table. Dave had made my favorite kale salad and soup. He handed me a glass of wine and the four of us sat down to dinner together. So perhaps I don’t need to redo my entire day. Just rethink it and focus on how relaxed and happy I am feeling right now.
This morning I participated in a 3 mile walk. It was a walk to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness. The walk was organized by a local financial service company, GenWealth. It is headed by Cherie Leanza, Vice President of the GenWealth and Risa Olinsky, a Maplewood-based wellness coach. The GenWealth Group became involved in this cause when the mother of their Chief Operations and Compliance Officer Kim DiBlasi was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in September 2011. This is GenWealth’s second annual walk and in the two years of its existence, they have raised over $15,000.
The day began with a pre-walk breakfast. All participants received commemorative team t-shirts and special gifts and prizes donated by local merchants. All funds raised will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, (BCRF.) The BCRF’s mission is “to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health. Currently, 91 cents of every dollar spent by BCRF is directed towards breast cancer research and awareness programs.”
I learned today that, on average, a woman in America will die from Breast Cancer every 13 minutes and 39,620 women are expected to die from breast cancer in the U.S. during 2013. Today was not only about raising funds for The BCRF but more importantly, it was about raising awareness because,
“With over 3 million women battling breast cancer today, everywhere you turn there is a mother, daughter, sister, or friend who has been affected by breast cancer.” Betsey Johnson
After a fun-filled day in Kindergarten, coming home to begin the task of cleaning Drew’s bedroom- in the hopes of finding a missing library book, family dinner and continuing to clean Drew’s bedroom – which by the way is STILL not done, I got into bed exhausted. Dave said, “so what did you write about tonight?” I jumped out of bed yelling, “nothing!” Thank goodness he reminded me. It would have been the first night in 9 1/2 months that I had not written!
I had planned to write about Kindergarten today. It was the 10th day of school. We call that a “Bundle Day.” Every ten days of school, we have a bundle day and we dance around the classroom singing a little chant and dancing to a conga line. A bundle day is a fun way to teach place value. The kids love it!! It was also Field Day at our school. Our field day is located at a nearby park but Kindergarten does not attend. It is a long walk for them and after a long day of school, so early in the school year, it would probably be overwhelming for a lot of them. Instead, all 110 Kindergarteners get to do The Kindergarten Stomp around the building. We gather them in a long line and march through the hallways of Tuscan School singing songs, stomping our feet and clapping our hands. Normally, we are teaching them to be silent in the halls so we don’t disturb other classes so this is quite a treat!!
For most grownups, Bundle Dancing and The Kindergarten Stomp might seem a bit silly, but to a five year old – it is one of the best days of Kindergarten! The fact that they coincided together was just a plus! It also happened to fall on Laundry Day – could this day get any better??? Laundry Day is the day where the students get to bring something in to school that begins with the letters of the week. Having all three happen at once?!?! Well that was just serendipity!!
Tonight is Back to School Night at our school. This night used to make me a jumble of nerves, but now, I find myself looking forward to it. I like meeting the parents and introducing them to their child’s first experience at elementary school. For some of them, this is their first child to go through school. For others, who have been through it before, I am sure that is just routine but I hope that I am able to give them a glimmer of excitement into the “magical world of Kindergarten.”
Having taught other grades, I can assure you that there is nothing quite like Kindergarten. It is so different from when I was growing up. Back then, it was still a half day program, we did a lot of playing and socializing. Now, we have a full day program. Reading, writing, math, social studies and science are all taught during the day. There are assessments and progress reports. So much to soak up in those five year old brains. There will be so much to experience and conquer, all while learning how to socialize, and become learners!
I tell the parents that their children will learn how to lose gracefully – there are twenty-two children in the class, they can’t all be winners all of the time! They will learn how to share and not talk while others are speaking. They will learn how to walk quietly in the halls and how to use personal space! There is just so much for those little minds to absorb!
I enjoy watching the faces of the parents as I tell them all of the things that their children will accomplish this year. Some of them look with amazement, wondering just how it is possible while others nod knowingly since they have been through it all before. The most important thing I like to tell them is to talk to their children about their days. Make them tell you more than, “good” when you ask them how there day was. I joke and say, “There are no secrets in Kindergarten. I probably know a lot more about you than you think I do, and in turn, you will probably learn a lot more about me than I could imagine. ” Children are like sponges. If we give them the chance to soak it all in without overwhelming them, they will thrive.
It has been awhile since I went to visit my mom and Francine at the cemetery. I know that my brother Tim goes weekly and my dad stops over quite frequently. It is only about ten minutes away from my home so I really have no excuse not to go. I rationalize with myself that I am too busy but I really should find the time. I always feel better after going. My kids have asked to go and I have taken them. Other than my grandfather, who passed away when I was a teenager, I never really had to do this before this year so I feel like I don’t even know what I am “supposed” to do when I am there.
They are buried next to each other inside a mausoleum, so usually I just sit on the sofa in front of their vaults . If I have the boys with me, we sometimes wander around and read the surrounding headstones. Sometimes we talk to mom and Francine, hoping that they are somehow listening to us. We tell them how things are going and how much we miss them and wish that they were here to experience it all with us.
Now that her bench is in town, I feel like I have another place that I can go when I need to. I think I prefer that over the cemetery. It is in a place that meant so much to her. A place where I know she was happy, content and proud.
Today, I was reminded of how long it has been since I went to the cemetery when my friend Marta posted a photo on Facebook of her mom holding her daughter in her arms as they visited them at the mausoleum. About a month ago, I wrote about Marta’s mom Linda. She was a wonderful friend of my mom and I know that she misses her tremendously. That picture she posted meant a lot to me and I am grateful for the reminder that it is probably time for me to make another visit.
I saw this shared on Facebook today. I don’t know if it is a true story or not, and it is not in English, but the message is still clear and it is an important one. It tells the story of a man who is unexpectedly rewarded for a lifetime of good deeds he performed without expecting anything in return. It was put out by a Thai company called True Corporation and is definitely worth sharing. It brought tears to my eyes and I just thought my kindness blog was a great place to share it.