I am a teacher.
It's funny how that came about. Growing up, I respected all of my teachers. Maybe it's because my mother (also a teacher) instilled that virtue into each of us repeatedly. Maybe it's because we saw the abuse teachers dealt with first hand and pitied them immensely. I don't know. It was probably a combination. Anyway, all I know is that growing up, I NEVER wanted to be a teacher. Never. I would laugh when people would say to me, "Gina, you're a really good teacher" or "One day, you'll be in front of the classroom, too." I'd scoff at the idea, never imagining myself 'un-important' enough to organize an army of brats on a daily basis. The truth was, though, that I was terrified of the idea. My mom was a teacher (still is)... and an amazing one at that. I didn't think I was capable of wrangling students and being entrusted with inspiring (successfully) a life-time zest for learning, and then be compared to her effortless ability to do so. Eeps, even the thought now makes me skittish.
I have always enjoyed explaining things... figuring out crafty solutions to embed information so deeply into someone's mind that they can't help but remember it with a smile. For class presentations, I'd be elected the main speaker, I'd be the one with a full-on lesson plan for my 5 minute discourse on the planet Mars, and I'd be the kid playing "school" in the summers (vainly trying to get my younger sisters to stop chatting and learn their ABCs).
Yup... I had all the makings of "teacher" but never wanted to admit it to myself or anyone else. Like I said, the thought terrified me.
Anyway, my first job out of college proved God had other ideas. It was, of course, a teaching one. My job was to tutor children Pre-K through 12the grade and help run the business aspects of a respected learning center. I quickly rose through the ranks and found myself the "principal" of one of these centers. I was honored with a distinguished "Educator" award among peers in my region, and I was constantly being invited to PTA meetings to provide workshops for both parents and teachers.
Within 3 short years, however, my employer and I parted ways. They were closing down many centers in our region and I didn't agree with their business model anymore (money-focused, not kid-focused). So I moved on. My services were requested at my old elementary school. A 7th grade teacher was out for the month, so I happily filled in, a little nervous about trying on the uniform of "teacher."
W.O.W. Since I was a substitute... not a "real" teacher in their minds, I was like fresh meat thrown into a tank of piranhas. However, they learned pretty fast that I wasn't to be trifled with. I have no fear of calling parents, assigning ridiculous amounts of homework, or turning free-gym into an hour-long session of learning how to walk in a straight line (with school bags full of text books). Within a week, they were acting like a decent, organized, and somewhat respectful classroom (though I could still hear "bitch" every now and again... little did they know I wore it as a badge of pride).
Even before the end of my month (and after two surprise visits by the principal and vice principal), they sat me down and asked that I stay on as a full-time teacher. Again, at this point, I still didn't "get" that I was really a teacher. I felt that PART of me was a teacher, but the other part was a savvy business woman who had run several educational centers successfully for clients who simply happened to be students she cared very much about.
Boy aren't I stupid?
I respectfully declined. In fact, I had already been offered another position that would allow me to spend my weeks working from home. Not surprisingly, it was from another business promoting academic excellence. I was convinced they wanted me for my business sense (considering the work I had done turning around several of my original centers). Within a few months, that job turned into a nightmare, and my husband was asking me to begin working with him and his family. For years I had turned down his requests for this. I just couldn't see working with family EVER being a good idea. I happen to love my husband's family, and I was scared to death of that dynamic somehow being messed up by our daily interactions. But I finally gave in, seeing that I was unhappy where I was. At least with John I'd be able to stretch my business legs again.
Again, I realize I'm about as stupid as they come. But don't worry... I've got a trifecta on that a little later.
I began working with John's family. I absolutely SUCKED. I mean, I've gained more appreciation for the most unassuming material in the world (let's call it Product X) in one week than I have in my entire existence using it (and I've used Product X, in many forms, my entire life). I mean, if Product X were a food, it'd be corn. I'm not kidding. Check the link.
So anyway, I'm not a dumb person. I've never had to study, and I've never really had trouble grasping even the most difficult theoretical concepts. But this? This most basic and taken-for-granted-commodity? You'd think someone was trying to teach me quantum physics, in Greek, using two cans and a string from Mars while I sat at my desk here in the USA.
No matter how hard I try, no matter how many times I read something, have it explained to me, walk through it, take tutorials, etc... none of it makes sense. I felt (eh, and still do feel) like a total failure who disappointed not just my husband, but his whole family. Stellar, right?
After I delivered my son, Vince, I spent a year away from work. I focused solely on survival (ha!). Seriously, though, it was tough work, and I thanked God every day for the blessing of being able to stay home with him. However, when the 12 months came to an end, I knew I should attempt getting back into work. I wanted Vince to enter daycare for socialization, and I didn't want to be sitting at home twiddling my thumbs all day, so I picked back up with my husband's family.
This time, I told myself, I was gonna throw myself into it a million times harder. I was gonna create a manual, I was gonna ask everyone even MORE questions, and damnit... I was gonna figure this OUT.
See? Trifecta of Stupid. Someone, somewhere, probably could've made a whole lotta money off my lack of faith and intelligence.
Within a few months, I realized I was stuck in the same baffling place. NOTHING made sense, and even when I suddenly thought I understood something, a rug was pulled out from under me, proving that I didn't know the first thing about what I thought I did. It was no one's fault but my own. I became super discouraged and felt horrible that I was pretty much making others' jobs more difficult since they had to pick up the slack for my ignorance. Finally, I begged my superior to give me a different task... ANYTHING that wasn't Product X. So he did, and I've been much happier. Sure, I still screw things up when it comes to Product X, but at least I'm not involved with it on a regular basis, which frees up others from having to fix my repeated errors. In my current capacity, I'm able to help my direct superior with his job, and that makes me feel better. If I could, I'd do everything for that guy... he's such a sweetheart. :)
But I digress...
It took this almost 3 year tug-of-war to finally appreciate the fact that I am, in fact, meant to teach. No matter how much I run from it, no matter how much I deny it, the truth remains evident. I'm a teacher. My heart and soul belong in teaching. I mean, I feel like God just turned off a switch in my mind and said, "No... you're not gonna learn Product X, 'cause if you do, you're gonna stay there forever and that's NOT what I want you to be doing. Now listen to Me!" And as if to seal my suspicion with a uppercut to the face, God sent Sr. Jean (the Religious Education coordinator from my parish) to me with a very straightforward request after I had spoken at a conference. The conference, mind you, had NOTHING to do with education. She had just assumed I was a teacher by the way I spoke and 'worked the room.'
She asked if I'd be willing to teach 6th grade CCD.
Shoot, really, God? HECK YES! I almost backflipped at the opportunity after tending to my nervous anxiety that I would fail horribly and send the kids on a path to Hell.
So anyway, with this life-line in place, I'm reclaiming the lost part of who I am... the part I've denied for my whole life, but the part that I am now most proud of.
At our meeting last night, one of the other teachers asked me, "So, when did you decide you were gonna be a teacher?" I have no idea why, but it was like time stopped and my mind flashed back to my 1st year of college. I was working at Circuit City in the camcorder department. One of my managers saw me "up-selling" a camcorder to a customer, making sure he had not only the camera, but the warranty, cassettes, tripod and case. I also explained why he'd want the DV model vs. the VHS / Hi-8 models that'd pretty much be out-dated within the year (boy does that age me, or what?).
After I completed the sale, my manager looked at me and said, "You're gonna be a teacher someday."
As usual, I laughed and said, "Not in a million years."
She replied, "You watch. You can explain stuff that wouldn't make sense any other way. You know what they need better than they do and explain it to them. You teach them."
I just shook my head and walked away, making some stupid comment about trying to hit a quota.
But what she said struck a chord and it has stayed with me all these years. A seed was planted and when my new teacher-friend asked me that question, I saw the flower of that seed, triumphant, saying (in Peggy's voice) "I told you so."
So yes... dang it. I'm a teacher, even despite myself. :)
I love them, Lord. You know I love them. I love them with every fiber of my being, and I would sacrifice just about anything for them. So if this is what You request of me, fine, I accept.
I willingly hand them over to You. They are Yours. I will walk away, but You take good, special care of them. Help me to relinquish my claims over them and offer even my bitterness and solitude as a means for this victory.
But seriously... I know I don't need to ask this of You. You know best for everyone, everything and at all times. I'll make my request again anyway. Take good, special care of them. I give them to You, so I'm expecting miracles. Amen.
Whew! Another huge one. I couldn't help myself, today. I found this cartoon and you couldn't smack the smile off my face if you tried. *Grin*
This past weekend, I realized that my favorite chapel veil was missing. I knew I had placed it in a bag with 30 other things as I was clearing my car out, but after my husband's party, everything was gone and I was afraid that he'd tossed the bag into the recycling. So I asked St. Anthony if he'd be so kind as to condescend to help me find it. In fact, I said the typical "St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around, my chapel veil is lost and I'd appreciate it being found." I also added, "But if you're too busy, I totally understand. It's only a chapel veil, and I can buy another one if I have to."
I didn't have time to look for the veil (since I was on my way to Mass), but a few hours later, I decided to tackle the recycling bin. I only did it half-heartedly, though, once more repeating the St. Anthony prayer. Considering the rain we got, I figured even if I found it, buried beneath all the trash, it'd be beyond ruined. So I gave up and went back inside.
Very late that night, John and I were finishing up a movie. I asked him to pause it because we were nearing midnight and I wanted to get in my nightly prayer. So he paused it and I locked myself away for the Divine Mercy chaplet. Upon completion, I went to the bathroom so I'd be able to sit through the rest of the film. In front of me, sitting on the edge of the tub, was a bag. Inside the bag was MY bag... the one I had been looking for... and inside that was my chapel veil.
I burst out of the bathroom victorious saying, "Thank you, St. Anthony! John, look! St. Anthony found it! I gave up, but he didn't! Thank you, St. Anthony! You're so awesome!"
Even John grinned. Normally, he's pretty dismissive of my religious talk, but I think even he was mildly amused that this "great saint" would bother to help a random chick find something as silly as a veil.
I think that's part of the miracle of St. Anthony, though. He truly IS a great Saint, but he humbles himself so as to become patron of the most ridiculous things. He takes care of such seemingly insignificant tasks, and as promised, God has exhalted him above many others for such humility. St. Anthony is one of the best known saints, and we have his humility and willing intercession to thank for such generosity. :)
***So I ended up editing this message and mailing it to my Pastor. Why? because our priests deserve to know what we're thinking of them. Not only when we're unhappy, but when we're happy, too. Happy coincidence, he got it on his birthday. Ha.
I sent it anonymously, though. I still can't help but be a little on the shy side. <Blush>***
So I'm totally in love with the above picture, and I'm glad I found it, because it's exactly the sentiments I had after participating in the Mass this past weekend. Everyone on the East Coast was in a tizzy over Hurricane Irene, but Father Piotr was completely calm, collected and even jovial. I seriously love our pastor. He's gentle, wonderful, and thoughtful. He's also very prudent, kind and generous.
Anyway, he gave a wonderful homily, injected with common sense, chiding, and gentle humor. During the consecration, he knelt reverently and I wistfully noted that for many other priests, this motion was an automatic gesture... something that was barely thought about, just done because, well... that's what "the Red" said to do.
Fr. Piotr, though... he always seems to take his time kneeling before the now consecrated Host. I truly believe he always acknowledges Christ upon the altar and through his actions encourages us to better understand this as well.
During the Eucharistic Procession, Fr. Piotr handled his line of communicants and quickly moved to the next line as his fizzled out. I again smiled, feeling elated that he was proud of his calling to minister to his people. He didn't just retreat to the sanctuary to begin cleaning the chalice and pattens. No, no. He moved to where he saw a need and filled the space, bringing Christ to his flock.
Finally, at the end of Mass, Father Piotr made a couple amusing announcements to help allay fears and dispell confusion surrounding Sunday's mass schedule. Since everything was up in the air due to the storm (tornado warnings, hurricane conditions, power outages, etc), he said the following:
"Some of you have asked me about the mass schedule. A lot, actually. Who am I? God?"
To this, everyone laughs, because during his homily, he brought up last week's Gospel, in which Jesus asked the apostles "Who do you think that I am?" St. Peter, of course, replied "You are the Son of the Living God."
Anyway, he continued:
"At this point, the schedule remains as normal. But please be prudent. If you see cars or trees or other things flying around, stay home. For the safety of yourselves and others. Check in on those who may be alone and scared. If it happens that no one is here when I come to say Mass, rest assured that I will say it - by myself - for all of you."
I think my heart melted into my shoes at that point. Father Piotr... good and saintly Father Piotr. I could imagine him there, offering the Mass for his parishoners and all those affected by the storm. And he would, too, piously, humbly, praying that God would accept this sacrifice on behalf of those unable to offer it with him.
My heart was so happy and alive with the deepest affection for him at that. I wanted to hug him after Mass, but since he was being pulled in thirty separate directions, I shyly nodded a "Hello" and simply made my way into the rain and headed home.
I sometimes feel so embarrassed for these feelings of affection. They are in no way unchaste. I just truly believe Fr. Piotr (and all priests, really) are hand-chosen by Christ. And the wonderful men who carry their vocations proudly make my heart swell with unspeakable love and gratitude. They, after all, enable me to participate in the Eucharist. They are the ones who offer me a bridge to Heaven... to the forgiveness of Penance. They, too, are the ones who offer me the consolation of Last Rites and a Catholic burial.
Say a prayer for these wonderful men. They truly are saintly beings called to walk a path separate from all the world. It is a difficult, lonely road, so offer prayers for their consolation and joy... also strength to follow the path with faithfulness and love.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace!
We echo the most majestic greeting given to Our Lady by the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. This greeting reminds us that we are addressing our prayer to the Queen of Heaven and Earth - of Love, Truth and Mercy Incarnate. She is full of Grace Itself as God takes refuge within her most holy womb.
The Lord is With Thee.
The angel, understanding this, awaited her "Fiat." As soon as she uttered her humble, trusting acceptance of God's plan, no doubt he knelt before her, adoring not the Blessed Mother, but the Child she then accepted into herself through the Holy Spirit. God had always surrounded this humble Virgin. He always resided joyfully within her heart and soul. Now, he took physical shape within her body, and henceforth they became inseparable in a wholly unique way.
Blessed are Thou Amongst Women
Here we are faced with the words given to Our Lady by both Angel Gabriel and her cousin, Elizabeth, during the first moments of the Visitation. Elizabeth, deeply moved by the Holy Spirit, cries out the Divine Revelation that Mary, her young cousin, unknown to any man, was the dignified spouse of God spoken of in Psalm 45, verse 17: I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever. Indeed, the Blessed Mother acknowledges her blessings once more through her Magnificat in stating "All generations shall call me blessed."
And Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus.
Ah, here we are at the exact center of the prayer. Who do we find? Jesus. After all, Jesus is at the center of all Mary is. Her very existence is to both bring Jesus into the world, and bring the world back into Jesus. Thus, at the center of even her most revered prayer, Jesus is the foundation on which it is built. Jesus was the reason for the angel's majestic greeting. Jesus was the reason for Elizabeth's inspired emotion. And it is through Mary's intercession that we hope to reach the heart of Jesus.
Yet we are also reminded that Jesus is both God and Man. He is, after all, a product of both God (the power of the Holy Spirit) and Man (through the Blessed Mother's physical bearing and tending). Thus, it is fitting to call Jesus the Blessed Fruit of HER womb. For as much as God did to create Himself within her, she also did her part in ensuring He grew and was born into the world safely.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
We acknowledge her unique place as Queen Mother (a topic I could devote several blog entries to!), and in doing so, trust that our next request is placed in capable and loving hands.
Pray for us Sinners now and at the Hour of Death.
Like children lost and in need of help, we turn to our Heavenly Mother for guidance and assistance. We understand that, as the Mother of God, her intercession is strong. She is not to be swayed, and knowing how much she loves her Son... how much she, too, sacrificed for the salvation of humanity, God cannot say "No" to her. Nor would He, as her intentions always reside peacefully within His Will.
The word "amen" is a Hebrew word meaning "Have faith and believe." Once we adopted this word for Christian use, we taped it onto the end of our prayers to add conviction. The "Amen" places our stamp of firm conviction on the Hail Mary, reaffirming our beliefs that the statements we make (and all the nuances they carry) are true. So true, in fact, that we would be willing to stake our lives on their validity.
I love this picture of Our Lady. She's cradling the Infant Jesus in her arms. Protective. Loving. Yet she isn't looking at Him (though her attention to His every need is unwavering). Instead, she is looking at all of us, beckoning with her maternal eyes to come. She is saying, "Come, my children. Come to me and see the Gift that I hold for you. Come to me and I shall share with you my most Perfect and Beautiful Son. He is God and Mercy, Love and Truth. Come to me, and I shall share Him with you."
Oh, how I love this picture! You can see the hay from His manger, and the rocks from the cave at Bethleham in the background. From the earliest moments of His Life, she was there... offering Him to the world. First to St. Joseph, then to the shepherds and wisemen, and perpetually to us.
Anyway, the reason I chose this picture is to explain why the Rosary isn't just a Marian prayer. Mary, as she pointed out in her beautiful "Magnificat," said "My soul doth magnify the Lord." She is nothing of herself, for she understands that she is a reflection of God - a glorious crystal which He has chosen to magnify His Love, Grace and Mercy for all humanity. The same is true of the Rosary. As the wonderful Scott Hahn pointed out once, the Blessed Mother doesn't keep all the prayers of the Rosary to herself. She doesn't revel in the Hail Marys, hoarding them all to herself. She takes each prayer and lovingly offers them to Her Son, who in turn offers them to God the Father.
Remember... the Magnificat was Our Lady's response to her cousin, Elizabeth, at the Visitation. When Elizabeth humbled herself before the Queen of Heaven, feeling unfit to be in the Presence of God and of she who carried God within her womb, Mary gently offered those prayers of humiliation and joy to God through the Magnificat. She took what Elizabeth offered and handed the glory straight-away to God, the true reason for ALL Glory.
So with that in mind, I offer the Rosary as a Christ-centric prayer. A photo album in which Jesus is WHOLLY present in each picture. We begin the Rosary with the Sign of the Cross, Christ's victory over death and sin. Each decade begins with the Our Father. Note, especially, the words "And give us this day our daily bread." Unwittingly, we ask God the Father time and again to grant those graces most necessary for our salvation! God (the Eternal Now) grants us these graces - most notably the Mysteries of the Rosary - through these prayers. He gives us the Nativity... He gives us the Crucifixion... He gives us the Resurrection, Pentecost and even the Coronation! We ask for these things, unwittingly, each time we begin a decade of the Rosary. And then, to complete the circle of thanks, we give glory to the Trinity at the close of each decade with the Glory Be.
And the Haily Mary... oh, let's not forget the Hail Mary. My next entry will be dedicated to this wonderous prayer.
Whoa! Huge picture today, painted by an anonymous Dutch artist from the 1500's. It does, however, make my point quite nicely. The Rosary is, in all actuality, the photo album of Christ. I realized this through my contemplation, and then, almost as confirmation from the Holy Spirit that I was on the right track, heard it on a CD I had picked up about the Rosary. How nice was that?
As I began to pray that first Conversion Rosary, I wanted to REALLY pray it. I didn't want to just run through the words as I did when I was a child. I wanted to REALLY immerse myself in the prayers so I could offer a proper Rosary to Our Lady. So as I prayed each mystery, I tried to place myself in the scene of the decade.
For example, during the Scourging at the Pillar, I imagined not only the Adorable Body of Christ (hanging, limp from pain, exhaustion and loss of Blood), but also of the soldiers tasked with the torture. I pictured them, massive, brutish and possibly gleeful, being goaded into worse and more sinister whippings by the invisible demons that surely surrounded them. I also pictured St. Michael the Archangel, no doubt present as well, barely able to contain his indignation and fury, held back ONLY by the gaze of His God and Master who wished to suffer this agony to save even those who would turn from Him. How St. Michael must have humbled Himself before His God as all others around Him abused and tortured Him.
During the Joyful Mysteries, I'd picture the Blessed Mother during the Annunciation given news that she was to be Mother of God. How utterly confused she must have been! But through her absolute trust in God's Will, she humbled herself (the Queen of Heaven!) before the Angel Gabriel and accepted, once more, the Divine Plan. "Hail Mary!" he said. "Hail Mary" indeed! We may not understand this anymore, being so far removed from the history in which this tiding was first offered, but "Hail" was a term reserved for royalty, something the humble, unknown Virgin of virgins would never dream to hear for herself (let alone hear it from the lips of an angel!). I wonder if all the angels in Heaven were peering down upon her at that moment, falling over one another as they waited to hear the "Fiat" fall from her lips. Could you imagine?
The reason I share these images with you is to help you look at each mystery deeper... as a picture. After all, if this Rosary is a photo album, each decade presents us a picture. Jesus, of course, is at the center of each picture, but look deeper. There are not only the surrounding images of the Blessed Mother, angels, or even sinners. There are background characters that, sometimes, are invisible to us unless we truly contemplate what each picture is showing us.
So I encourage you on your next rosary, really look at each picture. Try to place yourself in the midst of the setting and ask the Holy Spirit to show you things you may have missed, to unlock the treasure of beauty hidded within each scene from Christ's life. It makes the Rosary less of a chore, and more of a reverent, loving reminder of the gifts our God has given us.
My mind wanders... a lot. In attempting to pray the rosary when I was younger, I'd rush through my words as quickly as possible in order to say everything before I fell asleep. Mostly I was unsuccessful. I'd end up snoozing halfway through the 1st or 2nd decade. Nice, right?
As I noted in my
" story, I hadn't touched a rosary in years. I simply didn't have the self-discipline to carry out the prayers. They all seemed boring... insurmountable. Don't get me wrong... I still struggle with getting myself started. It's much easier to solicit motivation for the Divine Mercy chaplet. It's less than half the time of a good rosary! But I realized that I was going about the rosary in the wrong way. I remembered a story I had heard as a child. I'll share it with you, because it always stuck with me, gnawing the back of my mind, urging me to offer a similar gift to Our Lady.
An elderly woman lived in the city, and took the bus everywhere. Having no family to rely on, she relied heavily on public transportation for her daily necessities: shopping, salon visits, doctor appointments, and Mass. As a result, she spent a good amount of time waiting for notoriously late buses. To pass the time, she'd pray her rosary, offering each one up to the Blessed Mother for whatever intentions She saw fit to use them for.
One especially dreary day, this woman waded her way through the snow with her rosary in-hand. She saw her bus coming and readied herself to board. Unfortunately, the bus driver hit a patch of dry ice and slid into where she was waiting, killing her instantly.
Before she knew what was happening, she found herself being led to Heaven by her Guardian Angel. Heaven was extremely festive that day... Heaven was celebrating the birth of the Blessed Mother. The angels and saints surrounded Our Lady with the most exquisite gifts. The elderly woman, embarrassed that she had no present to offer, humbly bowed before the Queen and apologized for her lack of offerings. The Blessed Mother smiled and pulled the most beautifully wrapped present of them all from beside her. Placing it on Her magestic lap, she said,"Daughter, the rosaries you've offered to me all these years are more precious to me than any offering given to me today. Each represents intentions dearest to my heart, and they've translated into so many of my children finding their way home to my Son and I. Thank you for your loving generosity."
Ever since hearing that story, I've wanted to go to Heaven with a beautiful box full of rosaries just for Her. As a child, I used to resolve to say one rosary a day... then one a week... then one a month... and so on until I simply gave up saying them altogether. I always felt guilty for my laziness ('cause that's really what it was), but I never really did much to change it... until reading about Our Lady's repeated requests for rosaries earlier this year.
I have no idea what it was, but something in me was deeply touched by this message and I really did resolve to pick up the rosary more often. As I noted before, it had been so long since I'd prayed a rosary that I had to keep the mysteries open in front of me while I prayed for reference. But it's a good thing I did! In that first "Conversion Rosary" I made (Sorrowful Mysteries), I experienced the power of this beautiful prayer. I meditated the moments surrounding each mystery and came away with such a profound appreciation for the Passion that all other aspects of my spiritual life suddenly found themselves lacking. More on that in a later blog.
Anyway, the more I prayed the rosary, the more I contemplated the depth and and beauty of our faith. More importantly, I began to understand (and appreciate) the unfolding of God's Will in everything.
So with that in mind, I'll be starting my Rosary series. I've been itching to write about it for a while, and seems like this week is gearing up to be the perfect opportunity.
That adorable man holding my sleeping son over there is my wonderful husband, John. He turned 30 today!
We had celebrated on Sunday with friends. We held the annual "Meatbar" Competition (think gross hot dogs and even grosser "condiments") and topped off the contest with a surprise pie-ing of John. We amassed a small army of pie-nades which we chucked at him from every angle. Surprisingly, cleanup was simple, and thankfully, no one tracked it back into the house!
Anyway, today was his real birthday, and so we went to dinner with his family (which was entertaining itself courtesy of Vincent's behavior the whole time). Before his dinner, however, we experienced our first earthquake.
Around 1:50pm, our entire office building / warehouse began to sway forcefully back and forth. Knowing that Colorado had just suffered a quake earlier that day, I thought, "No WAY those aftershocks can seriously reach us over here!" As we were shaking, I looked up Earthquake Watch map and saw a red pinpoint in Virginia. "Ohhhhh, so that's what's causing this!" The shaking was just beginning to subside as I picked up the phone to call my son's daycare to find out what protocol they were following for the safey of the kids. When the director picked up, she was audibly upset.
I tried to calmly explain that it was only tremors from the quake in Virginia and that we very likely had nothing to be worried about. She was upset, though! She kept saying that she didn't know what it was and, being from Jersey, had never experienced anything so scary. I guess being from Philly, I've experienced plenty worse than the ground shake a bit. Ha ha. In all seriousness, though, I think just knowing thata quake had happened earlier in the day prepped my mind a bit to grasp the reality of the situation as it unfolded this afternoon.
Anyway, I asked what she planned to do with the kids and she promptly said she was sending everyone home. Alrighty, then... I guess I didn't have to worry about making it to dinner on time with Vince after work anymore. I no longer had to fight rush-hour traffic to get him! Ha ha. Ah well.
I have to admit thinking of these messages while on my way to pick up Vince. Everyone noted that we simply aren't quake-prone, and now with news of Hurricane Irene headed for us, it almost seems like Mother Nature is trying to tell us something. I guess the point is to be ready no matter what the circumstance, huh? :) I'm just happy we're all safe and sound.
Feeling like a jerk today. I realize that I'm incredibly hard on my son at times. I dunno why I expect such perfection out of a little boy. He's barely two, and I have such crazy notions of how he should act in public places. I get annoyed when he doesn't share, and more annoyed when he doesn't understand why I'm upset with him for pushing another child away from his toys.
I think this - again - is a pride issue. I don't like that other parents might think of me as a lazy mother who doesn't reprimand her child when he's doing something mean to another kid. I don't like that other folks might think I have a "bad" child who would be better off with some other saintly mother-figure. I also realize that growing up, I had an ultra-strict mother who expected perfection from us as well, and now I'm continuing the cycle of foolishness with my own son. Humpf. :( I feel rotten.
I've tried to temper my frustration more often, but it surprises me how many times throughout the day that I expect Vince to be acting in a way too mature for his age and development level. How in the world do I scrub my mind of these insane expectations??? Why do I even have them in the first place other than prideful arrogance that my child SHOULD be more perfect that anyone else's? Ugh, ugh, ugh. I really do feel rotten for such stupidity, and even more rotten for sometimes acting out on that stupidity by angrily correcting Vincent for something as stupid as tossing his sippy cup off his highchair for the umpteenth time.
Bah... maybe writing about it will help me acknowledge my issue and hold myself accountable better. God only knows I don't want Vince thinking I actually expect perfection from him. Poor little guy. I need to remember... children are not gifts to be molded but presents to be unfolded. :)