I Will Continue to Wait

I have been waiting.  I understand that something devastating has happened to you.  I know that your world has been turned upside down over and over.  I know that it will take days and months to repair the hole in your heart.  I know your pain is a pain that I do not understand, but despite that, I can listen.  So, I don’t understand…

Why won’t you let me help you heal?

Why won’t you unburden some of your pain on me?

Why won’t you talk to me, and let me know what I can do to help you?

Why have I been useful in the past, but not this time?

Why do you leave me in the dark, when with some light, I could ease your pain?

I do not understand you pain, but no matter that, I am here.  I am here when you decide that you need me.  And I will always be here.  So, I will continue to wait.

The Living Room

Today’s Slice is inspired by Cynthia Rylant’s book Let’s Go Home: The Wonderful Things About a House, which I read to my students today.

While I lived with my parents there were many times when I felt that the house was just too small for all of us, but now when I go back to visit, it seems like it is too big for them.  I love being on my own, but I do miss the warmth and comfort of my parents’ house.

When I lived with my parents, the living room was my favorite spot in the whole house.  My family was very close, and we spent a lot of time together in the in living room.  I have so many memories from my parents’ living room, memories that I will always look back on fondly.

The living room is where we spent Saturday nights eating take out from Hog Wild and watching the must see movie of the week.

The living room on Christmas morning is where the four of us would exchange gifts in front of the 10 foot Christmas tree and the crackling fire.

The living room is where my dad would blast Dean Martin and Elvis Presley while cooking Sunday breakfast.

The living room was where we spent weeknights watching TV and reliving our days, the good and the bad.

The living room is where my mom would host family parties, everyone seated in various chairs, catching up, and sharing laughs.

The living room was where I would curl up on the couch with my favorite blanket and read a ‘can’t put it down’ book until the late hours.

The living room is where I would put on my comedy routines for my family, and do whatever it would take to make them laugh.

The living room is where I felt the safest, surrounded by those who loved me unconditionally, my family, my everything.

Bob Dylan is a God

In college, I was part of the Honor’s Program.   (Pause so I can toot my horn).  Each semester we had one class that was required by the program.  This class was meant to challenge and interest us, but usually it just gave our small group something to talk about during our pow wows in the cafeteria.  Every teacher knows that honors kids are smart, but we also know they are usually smart alecks.  During my sophomore year, I was required to take a class that focused solely on protest music.  Little did I know that protest music loosely translated simply meant…Bob Dylan.

Now on my list of ‘Things I Really Could Care Less About,’ Bob Dylan probably cracked the top three, but none of us went to class for Bob, we went for our professor.  It’s a shame, but all these years later I draw a blank on his name, but his oddities will cause me to never forget him.

To be honest, none of us could even figure out why our Professor was allowed to teach at our Catholic University based on the rumors we had heard.  Supposedly he had voiced some very strong, very negative views on soldiers, views which landed him in several newspapers and on a news program or two.  So, when we walked in on day one, half of us were disgusted while the other half were intrigued.

Our Professor did not let us down, every class he gave us something to look forward to, but it wasn’t his lessons, it was his eccentric behavior.  (Disclaimer:  the following is NOT me making fun of this man, because there are things we cannot help about ourselves, but there are things we can do to help ourselves.)   Our Professor had a crazy eye that made everyone unsure of where he was looking.  This would not have been a problem, except he never bothered to learn our names (you know, all 20 or so of us), so when he called on you, he simply stared at you and said “you.”  I think you can see the problem with this.  Not too mention, it took a lot to impress this man, so it was quite an achievement when he agreed with you.

When I say he was a Bob Dylan fan, that is understatement.  He thought Bob was god, and wanted us to all feel the same.  Several times during our semester, he would play Bob’s music, this was probably our favorite part of the class.  Not because the music was good, but because of his reaction.  Every single time he played a song, he would hop on the window sill, lean against the way, close his eyes, nod his head, and hum along, the whole time smiling to himself. We, on the other hand, spent these three minutes giving each other our best, “What is going on” looks.

So, I can honestly say I didn’t learn too much from that class except that Bob will never be a go to on my I pod.  That class, did however, bring our Honors group a bit closer, and it still gives us some fun memories to discuss to this day.  And who knows, one day maybe one of my past students will write a Slice about all my oddities.  I’d love to read it!

It Finally Happened

It’s finally happened, I hit my wall.  I guess I should be impressed that I made it this far into the challenge before my mind went blank, as blank as my computer screen.  I try to draw inspiration from what’s around me, but unfortunately, as I look out my window, all I see is the the white snow.  The white snow that is as blank as my mind and computer screen.  When I try to draw inspiration from Eric, I get the following suggestions:

Couponing

How the civil war was not civil

Comic books and how they make good movies

The 1992 Dream Team McDonald’s Collector Cups

I know he jokes, not to be mean, but to be funny, but he doesn’t get it.  He doesn’t understand that this challenge has changed me as a writer.  He doesn’t understand the confidence I have gained.  I am confident enough to write for strangers, co-workers, and friends.  So, despite the fact that I am unsure of what to write about today, I will be sure of myself tomorrow.  Because this challenge has inspired me. This challenge has made me want to walk up to people on the street, and simply say, “I am a writer. What do you do?”

Last Night

I went out last night.  Last night was the driving force that pushed me through my long work week.  I was so excited about going out last night.  I was hoping to have a night that was like old times.  Like the nights when I was a young twenty something without a care or worry in the world.  But, I am not a young twenty something anymore, and last night was not like old times.

The old times, those were the days when our nights didn’t stat until 8:30-9:00.  We gossiped about our latest terrible dates and the cute boys in the corner.  We dance and drink our cheap beer with an occasional shot or two.  The only baby is the youngest friend in our group.  We close down the first bar, and then find the next one that is open later.  When we close down that bar, we head home exhausted, but ready to do the same thing the next night.

Unfortunately, the old times are exactly that, old.  Now our night’s out start at 6:30, so that we are sure to get a seat.  Our conversations consist of our jobs, babies, and responsibilities.  We drink craft beers and wine.  Now there are actual babies out, and we don’t gossip about the cute boys because we are now married to them.  Closing down the bar is not even an option because most of the time, we are home in bed by midnight. The only thing that is the same, is how I feel the next day.

If I Could Do It Again…

Today I read an article on Buzzfeed titled “37 Reasons Why Harry Potter Fans Want to Relive the Series for the 1st Time,”  and it got me thinking about some of the events in my life that I would want to relive for the 1st time.

The entire Harry Potter series:  I have never experienced a book series like Harry Potter before.  I was so emotionally invested in the books, that for a brief second, I wondered what my life would be like without a new book.  Those books allowed me to fully immerse myself into the magical world of J.K. Rowling, and I would relive reading each book for the first time, over and over again, if possible.

My first day of school as a student:  To be that wide eyed five year old again would be amazing.  To walk into school without any type of anxiety or stress about life, and simply learn, without any pressure, sounds like a dream come true.  I would once again, hang on my teacher’s every word because she would open the door to my future career and dream job.

My first day of school as a teacher:  That day I experienced an immense amount of anxiety, but it was the exciting kind.  The kind that caused me to be a wide eyed twenty something year old.  My only goal, to make those students who walked into my room on that first day, feel the same amount of excitement about learning as I did.  Yes, I get to experience that excitement every year in August, but nothing compares to the very first day with my very first classroom of students.

Meeting Eric:  I would live that day over and over and over if I could.  I know it is sappy, but meeting Eric came at the perfect time in my otherwise not so perfect life.  That night, I realized I deserved happiness, and I knew he was going to be the one to provide that for me.

My summer at camp:  As I have said before, that was the best summer of my life.  Being a teacher is an exciting job, but as a counselor, you form a completely different relationship with kids.  You’re more of a friend and confidant, and not so much an authority figure.  I had the pleasure of meeting so many different girls from many different walks of life, and I know that I was able to make our few weeks together special for each of those girls.

Of course there are several other things I would love to relive, but I’m not Buzzfeed, and no body wants to hear about 32 other moments.

Love You Forever

When I was a child, my mother and father would read to me all the time.  We had the favorites that were read over and over again…The Monster at the End of this Book (which was a favorite of my fathers), The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and the one that made my mom cry no matter how many times it was read… Love you Forever.

As a child, the true message and emotion of Love you Forever was lost on me.   I just thought it was hilarious that the baby messed up the bathroom and that the mother compared her house to a zoo.  And I wasn’t heartless enough to not find the young man rocking his mother to sleep as sweet, I just didn’t get upset about the story, and wasn’t sure why my mom choked up so much.

Then, when I was older,  I reread the story from a possible mother’s point of view and cried like a baby.  I realize now that I don’t cry because the mother in the story is sick or because the young man grew up and wasn’t a little boy anymore, I cry because I am lucky enough to have parents, who no matter what kind of crap I pulled….will love me forever.

My mom and dad didn’t sing to me every night, we weren’t that kind of family.  I was tucked in every…single..night.  I was showered with hugs and kisses and ‘I love yous.’  No matter how busy we all were, we always ate dinner together, and discussed our days.  My parents taught me what love and family is all about, and they are the reason I am who I am.  They are the reason, that no matter how many times I read or will read Love you Forever, I will cry.

I look forward to the day when I can tuck my little ones in and read Love you Forever to them.  I know I will cry, and my own children will not understand right away why, but I hope that one day it suddenly occurs to them, as it did for me.  One day I hope they feel loved the way I felt it and still feel it.  I hope they understand that no matter what, I will love them forever.