Saturday, May 30, 2015


I was a substitute for a group of first graders the last week of school. It was an exciting time.  Awards day came and the students wanted everyone to see their reward for hard work.

That morning, one of the boys was upset. He knew his mother would be attending an awards ceremony for his brother who was at another school. He cried because he would miss seeing her. He got a stomach ache because he wanted to be with her. He asked to be sent home. I kept telling him that the school day would be over soon and he would see his mother.

Finally, at the end of the day, we had our awards ceremony. The children's names were called and they received their certificates. Parents applauded. Then this boy's name was called. He didn't just get a certificate. He also received a trophy. For what? Perfect attendance. To receive this particular trophy, he couldn't be late or go home early, either. Had he checked out early on that day, he wouldn't have been eligible.

His mother and grandmother were there to see him get his award. The boy wore a huge grin when he saw them.

Receiving awards is a great thing. Having someone to share the moment with, is far greater.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


There's an undeniable excitement to the end of a school year. It represents a period of hard work, assessments, and promotion. It is something for which the children and the teachers can be proud.

After hard work, there are awards ceremonies, banquets, field days, and class parties. Teachers rush to finish their paperwork while the students work on crafts or watch special films. Summer vacation will soon arrive and the excitement is barely containable.

It's hard to tell who is more excited, the students or the teachers. The children want to relax, spend long summers just being kids. Teachers long to have their free time back. They will have the summer to reacquaint themselves with their own children and their spouses.

Yet it's all bittersweet. Students are endearing to their teachers. Teachers are surrogate parents for 10 months. Summer means that relationship has come to an end. The students and teachers will see each other again, but the relationship will not be the same.

The 6 weeks of summer will somehow change all that.

Someday they may look back and remember, hopefully with fondness, the relationship they once shared.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Most of my gardening, these days, involves using planters and baskets in my yard or on my deck. Though I lack many skills, I do enjoy germinating seeds or potting vegetables. It makes me smile.

This weekend I was at a Lowe's gardening center, looking for a Mother's Day gift. While there, I remembered a couple of pots for the front yard that needed to be filled. On a budget, I thought I would look at some of the discounted trays of plants. The tray had starter plants that looked wilted, with lifeless leaves and sagging petals. If the trays weren't labeled, I wouldn't have recognized the flowers. However, for $.50 a tray, if only a few plants survived, I would be ahead of the game.

Rather than fill 2 flower pots, I ended up with 4 pots of flowers, and I also had marigolds to plant around my tomatoes to ward off insects.  Though I carefully put the plants into the soil, petals still fell off into my hands. Even more fell as I watered the soil. A few plants had no more than root and nubs of stems left. I wondered how many plants would make it through the night.

To my surprise, the next morning the begonias, inpatients, and even the marigolds looked refreshed and full. By the next day, even the nubby plants were showing new growth. My $2.00 worth of flower trays filled over 4 flower pots and each pot had flowers that are all ready blooming.

All the flowers needed was a new, healthy environment to flourish.

It makes me smile.

I've often felt like those flowers. I want to grow and flourish, but I've stumbled into an unhealthy environment where I seem to only wilt. As difficult as it was, I've had to change my environment. Though the changes difficult, the results health wise--and mental health wise--were worth it. I've even had doctors say they could tell, from one check-up to the next, that I had done something drastic which improved my health. The change was completely environmental.

 We are like flowers. We need the right environment in which to grow.

Monday, May 4, 2015


A while back, I watched an old Twilight Zone episode. The main character is going through a stressful time and his car breaks down near his home town. While stranded, he walks through the town and realizes he has also walked back in time.

I had a similar feeling a little over a week ago. My son, his fiance', and I visited a church where I had a membership on two occasions, once as a teen, and again right after I moved back into the town.

It was an unusual feeling to sit in the church with people I'd known for so many years. As a teen I was a bundle of emotions and had difficulty adjusting from the life of a military brat to the civilian world. The church was the only thing that seemed a bridge between those two worlds.

The second time I was a member of this church I was a single mother and college student. The members of the church were like an extended family and positive role models for my son.

Both periods of time ran through my mind as I sat in the pew. I looked for familiar faces, but sadly, others were missing.

Sometimes it is good to travel where you've been to get a clearer picture of where you are going.