This young man attends school with my daughter, Issa. While we don’t know him personally, a number of my neighbors do. One of them provides him with home physical therapy services.
While I met my daily word quotas during NaNoWriMo Weeks 3 and 4, some homemade gore stole me away from blogging about scenes from my First 50k. I’m not talking about turkey fryer disasters, the carnage at Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day, or Black Eye Friday, either.
The gory scene-stealer resembled something from The Thing and took place on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. My daughter Issa had just finished up a stellar 60 minutes of play at our local gymnastics center. We were looking forward to lunch with my mom and Riff at a family friend’s home nearby. Upon pulling into the friend’s driveway, I knew something was amiss.
Clue #1: No cars in the driveway or garage. Where is everyone? I’m guessing Riff misbehaved and grandma has him in lock down mode somewhere. Issa senses we’re not eating lunch anytime soon and begins eyeballing the Nutella cookies I made for dessert.
Clue #2: All those unanswered calls on my cell. In my defense, I rarely answer my phone while watching my children dance, play sports, sing, etc. They’re just too cute and I don’t want to miss a beat.
Clue #3: My husband, Tracy, finally gets me on the cell and says he’s at the ER because he hacked up his right hand with an electric table saw. He was just a few planks shy of finishing a home flooring project. Since I can be a bit of a drama queen, I now have visions of his shredded hand dangling by a tendon. Hamburger anyone?
As I’m driving to the ER, Issa is bombarding me with questions. Understandably, she’s worried about her dad and I have limited answers. Here’s the question I could answer without hesitation.
Q: Will this be on the news?
A: No; not unless a neighbor calls them and we have good neighbors.
Upon seeing my husband’s hand at the ER, the laceration was serious, but could have been so much worse. He just had outpatient surgery Monday to repair nerve damage. The biggest challenge going forward is limited use of his hand for the next four weeks.
Previous, related posts …
Last Thursday, I took a much-needed break. I left my hubby in charge of putting the kiddos to bed, abandoned my NaNoWriMo characters on some beach near Jakarta, and squealed my tires as I zoomed off to catch up with two girlfriends.
My two girlfriends and I met at Nick’s 22nd Street Steakhouse, in Shelby Township, Mich., which I’m going to plug. Not only did they take good care of us there, martinis are half-off on Thursday nights. Regular price is $7.50. You do the math.
While I slurped down two chocolate martinis, my girlfriends caught me up on family matters, tempered my enthusiasm for running in the Freeze Your Fanny 5k in January (so far I have no takers – not good), said I was insane for trying to run a mile in five minutes on my elliptical, and gave me their viewpoints on our crumbling national education system.
Our elementary-school-aged children are students in the highly-acclaimed, Utica Community Schools, the second largest district in Michigan. As we discussed various triumphs and challenges in relating to school personnel, we turned our conversation to the No Child Left Behind policies as well as a special education millage that was voted down November 8.
The conversation left me with a different opinion about the No Child Left Behind legislature. While I agree with giving children equal access to a competitive education experience, I do not agree with lowering the standards our students are expected to meet. I believe our standards need to be set higher. Resources need to be committed to helping children achieve at those higher standards. Otherwise, our students will continue to lag behind those receiving their educations elsewhere.
Where does Bingo fit in? The PTO at my daughter’s school organized Bingo for last Friday. Approximately 100 students — including my daughter — bought tickets to play. Once play was underway, it was pandemonium. You would have thought we were at the Eisenhower Eagles football regional playoffs in Walled Lake, which we really were in spirit. Our school’s physicial education teachers called numbers for the game and kept us updated on the Ike game score. The commitment all parents have to the ensuring our students receive a high-quality education that prepares them for our competitive global economy is truly appreciated.
In addition to making my daily 1,600-word NaNoWriMo quota, writing newsletter copy, gearing up for teacher conferences, and dodging snow flurries, my children — Issa and Riff — are talking up a storm about that big hairy man in the red suit.
I don’t know about you. In our house, discussion has centered upon top items for their wishlists, Santa’s arrival date and time, and where Santa should leave their packages this year. It’s almost like the guy lives out his days on CNN and in the National Enquirer.
Just today, Riff asked…
- Will Santa would get me off the school bus when I get home today?
- What happens if I wake up and see Santa on Christmas Eve?
Just say it. Today could be like any other. Your family and friends — the people you love — are happy and healthy. They’re at the top of their game.
Just say it. Even though, you have said the words millions of times. None of us know when those we love will be gone from this world. None of us know when our time will be done.
Just say it. Rather than wait, shout it loud when you feel the urge to share. Your words might be the last ones they hear; or that you say. Speak with purpose; speak with love.
Related posts …
I believe in giving my children choices. It teaches them how to make choices; good vs. bad choices; rewards and consequences; and accountability.
But, yesterday, I learned a lesson: I detest multiple choice. It is a tricky business that must be taught with care. Any slip-up can give a child the upper hand …
So, I asked …
Do you want to follow the rules and watch television after school; or screw around?
Isn’t the right choice obvious? What child would want to miss their favorite TV show?
Riff said, “Screw around!”
It was the choice that sounded right to him. To Riff, getting television privileges and toys taken away paled in comparison to jumping off the timeout step.
Damn! Now what?
How do I help when the loss is so tragic; understand when the pain is beyond comprehension; comfort when the hurt is so deep; answer when there are none?
Death is tough. I have been touched — often and recently — from the passing of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, a sweet angel baby, and even a stuntman I didn’t know.
Tragedy happens. No one knows why. It calls upon me to find words — I am still looking for — to explain its finality to my children and to comfort those with closer proximity to the loss. But, there are times when words, explanations and answers allude me. There is just an empty abyss; a black hole; a void.
Here’s what I do know. Life on this planet is short. None of us know when our time will be done. Some of us continue on this life journey for decades. We learn, laugh, love, cry, scream, fight, hurt, heal, play, work, overcome, battle, travel, sleep, eat, watch, listen, talk, lead, follow, invent, investigate, judge, ignore, pray, give, take, share, begrudge, fornicate, nurture, care, grow, enlighten, guide, lie, pretend, run, cower, scam, cheat, etc., etc.
Others only join us for mere seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years. Then, their journey is complete. Why? No one knows. All I know is that I’m here along with my big beautiful family, friends and neighbors. Love is all around. I have my mind that thinks, creates, pushes; a heart that loves; a soul that cares; eyes that see good in others; ears that hear meaning in music and wisdom spoken with well-intended words; and senses that allow me to smell, taste and touch all things wonderful.
The time spent might be viewed as trivial. It only amounts to about five or six minutes each weekday morning and afternoon. But, waiting at the corner bus stop with my fellow parents is one ritual I look forward to rekindling on September 6. Four reasons include
1. Style spotting with fashion-forward, trendy moms with a mutual love for shoes, outer wear, bling and other types of eye candy.
2. Parenting tips and heads-up on school news from those with children who are older than mine; or who work in professions that make it easy for them to get advice that works.
3. Get to know my neighbors. During the summer months, there are neighbors I don’t see very often. So, when school starts in September, bus stop conversation lends itself to impromptu social planning as well as the opportunity to learn about the many hidden talents my neighbors possess: one is incredible at designing her home and at photography, another is very crafty and artistic; a third is successful at keeping her children healthy and in school; and a fourth is a wonder at time management.
4. New recipes. I have to admit my favorite new recipe came from Riff’s bus driver at the conclusion of the 2010-2011 school year. She’s the one who gave me that awesome recipe that calls for Nutella. I have made those cookies at least five times this summer.