Donald Trump, Jr., You Are Needed For Detention

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I know, y’all. 

I said I wasn’t going to write a political blog again. And I’m not. 

This is personal. 

For a little background, I’m sure the vast majority of you reading this know that while I’m a stay-at-home mama to my beautiful baby (ok, FINE. toddler…) boy, I used to be a teacher. 

A public school teacher. 

A proud public school teacher. 

I will spare you my thoughts  (again) on this mess (to put it nicely) of an election. However, the son and “advisor” of the Replibican nominee said the following during the spectacle that was the RNC. This is a direct quote:

“Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class, now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students. You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school.”

Wait, what? Did that really come out of Donald Trump, Jr.’s mouth?

Sure enough, it did. (Full disclosure: A fellow educator that I’ve never met summed up her thoughts so well here, and she inspired me to do the same.)

Did you hear that teachers? Administrators?

While you buy extra school supplies for a room full of kids you haven’t even met yet, instead of buying a new book for your own child, it is for you and not the students. 

When you use your “whole summer off” to attend inservices about all of the newest acronyms and assessments the district or government is requiring you to do, it is for you and not the students

When you’re not at an inservice, but instead you’re analyzing every square inch of your classroom on a sunny, summer day to figure out how learning is going to be best achieved, it is for you and not the students. 

My home away from home for a long time


While dropping your class off for lunch and you have a student approach you in tears because she forgot her lunch, so you find some cash in your wallet or, if you don’t have any, you give her yours, it is for you and not the students. 

When you stay after school to help that one student finally figure out subtraction with regrouping, it is for you and not the students. 

When you take a pay cut to teach in your community rather than a few miles down the road for more money, it is for you and not the students. 

That’s right, you guys. It’s for your benefit. Just like that sales clerk in a Communist country that Junior mentioned. 

That’s the reason you leave at dark and get home at dark, why you cut coupons to make ends meet, why you sometimes cry on your drive home because the world’s expectations are on your shoulders, why you sometimes cry on your drive home because you just want to take some of “your kids” home with you and feed them, read to them, LOVE THEM because you know they don’t get quite enough. 
Right?

Of course not. 

You do it because despite all that I’ve mentioned, you somehow can’t imagine doing anything else but serving these children and their families. Even with the  high responsibility but low pay. Even with the high expectations but low recognition.

Mr. Trump, do you want to know the real reason other countries “do better?”

It’s because here in American public schools, we take them all. 

Learning disabilities? Welcome!

English language-learners? Welcome!

Low-income? Welcome!

Homeless? Welcome! 

Already have thirty kids in a small classroom but you’ve just moved here? Welcome! 

The students may not score better, but we, the teachers and administrators, DO better. 

Class dismissed. 

Write It Down, I’m Writing In

If you would’ve told me a year ago that I would be writing a political post, I would’ve said there’s a greater chance of me breaking into a rousing rendition of “Rocky Top.”

Ain’t no telephone bills on Rocky Top, and ain’t no way am I singing that. 

(Just a few more months Vol friends, and we will all hear it approximately 8,245 times per game). 

But here I am writing one. And let me be clear, I am not expecting or trying to change any opinions or minds. So if you are aboard the Trump or Clinton train (which I have many dear family and friends who are), I’ll say this as nicely as I can, but please don’t take this as me begging to hear why I should vote for him/her. I’ve likely already read your thoughts or scrolled past your memes. Daily. 

I’m just writing this so it’s not a five-paragraph post on Facebook. Because ain’t nobody wanna scroll when reading a status. 

So. 

Let’s pretend to fast forward a few years. 

(I’m glad this is a metaphor, because TIME, SLOW DOWN). 

My precious son, Luke, is playing on the playground at school (if my husband was writing this, he’d add that he was pitching left-handed and striking kids out). He is constantly surrounded by two bullies. Other children see them, and many choose align with one. However, some don’t necessarily approve, but accept it because the other bully is worse in their eyes. They feel justified.  

Luke has two choices (again, just go with me here):

1. Choose one of the bullies to befriend. Throw insults toward the other group. It would be almost easier. 

2. Go against both crowds and join the group that refuses to participate in damaging others’ reputation or your own. 

You guys already know which one I hope he would choose. 

And I’ve already made my choice. 

Now, I know that’s an oversimplification of the election season. Yet, as I look at my snoozing boy on my chest right now, I have a responsibility to him so when he does encounter these situations, I can advise him without a guilty conscience as to who-and what-my vote endorsed. 

Because while my little ole vote may not make a bit of difference in the election, it does make an eternal one. 

Now, before you jump down me for that, of course we are not responsible for other people’s actions. However, this decision for all of us is not made in hindsight. Both of the leading candidates have stated what they would do. For just one example of each: One openly supports war crimes  (purposefully killing women and children), one openly supports abortions (purposefully killing babies). 

We can’t say we didn’t know. 

And I just don’t want that on my hands. 


Every night, in between my sweet husband drying him off from his bath and putting him in pajamas and him curling up in his crib as he dozes off, I rock Luke. Sometime I sing a lullaby, sometimes I just make the shushing sound, and sometimes I just rock with the white noise machine in the background. 

But every time I say a silent prayer for him and us as parents. 

I pray he comes to know Jesus as His personal Lord and Savior. 
I pray that his Daddy and me are always lights pointing to Him in our words and actions. 

Even in the voting booth when nobody else is watching but me. 

Never Trump. 

Never Clinton. 

Never Compromise. 

(For the record, I will go vote on Election Day because too many have fought for my right. Unless one has a radical change of heart, I’ll be writing someone in. The leading candidate right now is Chip Gaines. Or maybe Joanna.). 

It’ll Be Back Again Someday (Or in 13 Years)

Greetings from Nashville, Alaska!

Okay, maybe we didn’t get THAT much snow, but it may as well have been three feet. Because six inches in this area? SHUT ‘ER DOWN. 

There’s two viewpoints I notice people take:

(My extensive, scientific-based research is from my networking). 

(Some may call it Facebooking). 

1. This is amazing!

2. This is torture!

Now, I’m firmly in the first group. First, I am blessed with a warm home, abundance of food, a sweet husband, an adorable baby, and plenty more of life’s joys to really have nothing to complain about. 

Secondly, I’m a former (still feels weird to say) teacher. WE LIVE FOR SNOW DAYS. I don’t think that excitement will ever go away, no matter how long I’m away from the classroom.  

And so, today is the day the Great Thaw of 2016 begins. And while I do look forward to seeing civilization again (well, most of it…), I’m not going to lie. As ridiculous as it sounds, when this snow finally becomes water on the pavement and drops on the branches, it kind of feels like I’m saying goodbye to a wise friend

I know, I know. IT’S PRECIPITATION. 

But I do think this wintry friend taught us all a few lessons. The primary one being SLOW DOWN. 

Maybe it’s because we were well-stocked with groceries, or maybe it’s because we have the wonderful advantage of neither my husband or I having to drive on slick streets to work, but whatever the case may be, I loved being forced to stay in and do nothing but watch the snow fall. 

And more than that, with my two boys by my side. 

Not only at our screen door watching the South’s version of a blizzard, but by my side for dinner. 

And lunch.

And even breakfast. 

We’ve had no choice but to keep the car in the garage.

We’ve baked sweet treats, made pancakes, found some homemade goodies in the freezer for dinner (thanks, Mom!), built towers with Luke, watched him knock them down, rocked and read stories, fly “SuperBaby” down the hallway, built a snowman, made a snow angel, had tickle fights, cleaned a little bit, and of course a few crawl races with a squealing ten-month old. 

  
During Luke (and I)’s naptime, Brett even managed to wrap one of his grad classes. Notice I said during his nap. He could’ve taken a much-deserved nap himself. He could’ve easily said, “I need to work on homework,” but he didn’t. He chose us. He chose our family.

  
I could write a five-paragraph essay on how we all need to take a breath and stay home more often and INVEST IN OUR HOMES AND OUR FAMILIES. 

(Well, maybe a sermon). 

Don’t get me wrong. Of course it’s good to invest in others (I believe Jesus had some things to say about that), to travel, to get out and about. Errands have to be ran, jobs don’t get done on their own, and life has to go on. 

But I think we all can and should adjust the speed of how we live it

And this ole friend made us all do just that.

For all of those wanting warmer weather, it’ll be here soon (it’s Tennessee, so it’ll be this weekend). Maybe we can remember the lesson our friend tried to teach us when those temps creep back up. 

Gather around a picnic table. 

Make milkshakes instead of hot cocoa. 

Go swing instead of sled.  

Build a Lego skyscraper rather than a snowman. 

The roads don’t have to be ice for us to slow down. They’re just a slap in the face (especially if you try to walk on them) that we should. 

Thanks for the memories, Snowmaggedon ’16. 

You’ll melt away, but you won’t be gone. 

  

15 Realizations of 2015 (Spoiler Alert: Leggings Are Still Not Pants)

Ba bah ba ahhhh bah ba baaa buh aaahh gaaa ba bah ba.

MAMA!

Oh, sorry y’all.

Luke thought since he can eat read board books, he could also write a blog.

And you read that right. He has said MAMA! Multiple times, in fact.

Although, his train-of-thought is really this: “I’m fussy… getting fussier… why haven’t you picked me up yet… brink of meltdown…okay, I warned you… meeellltttt—“MAMA!!!!”—dooowwwwn!!!!

But IT TOTALLY COUNTS.

Mama: 1, Dada: 0

(And when he says it, I’m wiling to give him ALL OF THE THINGS.)

(But he really just wants my attention).

(Because me? I’m MAMA).

(Prideful? Naahhh….)

I do apologize to my handful of readers for no blog since October. Truth be told though, I didn’t think there’d be another in 2015. This little human keeps us, what’s the word?, BUSY. And you might suggest I could when he naps. However, Luke seems to think the crib is fine and dandy during the nighttime (which LET’S GIVE THE LORD ALL OF THE PRAISES), but remains a torture device during the day.

So the blog-writing, laundry-sorting, floor-sweeping, dust-wiping will have to wait. Because they’ll always be there, and he will always not.

Those sound like some LOFTY 2016 resolutions, though.

Usually, at this time of the year, I write about things that should stay in the year we’re about to leave. And I really could probably do that again, but spoiler alert: Leggings are still not pants, Elf-On-The-Shelf still needs to be packed away forever, and Florida-Georgia Line still makes terrible music.

So this year, in honor of 2015, here’s 15 realizations from this life-changing year (in no real particular order):

1.  I’m so that mom. I take pictures of Luke everyday, and I post one (or two…) just about daily. And I could be sorry, but I’m not. I’d much rather look at a cute baby than read why Trump/Obama/Fill-in-the-blank is the devil.

2. Two things you don’t think you’ll ever say in the grocery store until you have a baby? “Do we need Boogie Wipes? Let’s pick up some gas drops while we’re here too.”

3. Daytime television REALLY needs to step up its game. Although, a Fixer Upper marathon still reels me in every single time.

4. I’m pretty sure when Luke is old enough, he’s going to want to send a Christmas card to Uncle Chip and Aunt Jo and wonder why we won’t visit them in their farmhouse or the silos.

5. God’s love has been reframed for me in a whole new way with Luke. Brett mentioned this in our LifeGroup, and it stuck with me. We were talking about the difference between God’s love and human love. I love y’all, but would I give up Luke for you? To save you? To redeem you? I’ll be honest, I don’t think so. But He did. So the verse I’ve heard since LifeGroups were known as Sunday School, John 3:16, has come alive in a whole new way.

6. I’ve tutored some sweet kiddos a little bit, and to my burned-out teaching friends? If  I could give you anything, it’d be an extra hour (are you laughing your head off? EXTRA HOUR? HA!), so you could find that joy of teaching without any tests, evaluations, and a whole bunch of “stuff” in the way. It makes you wonder how education has turned into what it is. (But trust me, your work is important and if nobody’s told you lately, you’re doing a great job).

7.God provides. We knew He would, and He has. From paying for a brand new car unexpectedly without a loan to Brett winning a full-tuition scholarship for his MBA out of thousands, well, it’s humbling. And reaffirms everything, especially… He is faithful (and He was when things weren’t so solid, too. He’s always there planning paths far better than our own).

8. Diaper pails work until a certain point. Without going into too much gross detail, basically that point is when solid foods are introduced. Then, just trust me: Bag it, tie it, toss it. Outside.

9. Baby shoes are adorable but pointless. That is a battle not worth fighting, my friends.

10. It’s important to take time to be silly even (especially) you’re sleep-deprived or stressed. The other day, I could barely keep my eyes open and Brett and I just started singing Adele’s “Someone Like You” as loud as we could to each other. He was in the kitchen, and I was in the living room laughing my head off. Mood lifted. (Try it, “NEVERMIND I’LL FIND SOMEONE LIKE YOUUUUUUUU….” Don’t you feel better?)

11. I don’t know if having Luke has made me hyper-aware and I didn’t notice before, but twice in the past couple of months I have seen children left in the backseat without anyone else while their parent is shopping or in a restaurant. Oh. You better believe I call or alert authorities when I do (and if it ever happens when it’s burning up outside, I’ll find someone to help me bust a window). I can’t imagine purposefully doing that to Luke or any child. Kills me.

12. People are very gullible. All these political blogs (conservative or liberal) that say an outrageous headline and get reposted a million times make me want to throw my laptop out the window.  There should be a quiz at the voting booth before one votes to see if you’re smart enough to tell the difference between actual reporting and clickbait.

13. We have recently caught on to the wonder of sleep-sacks. Not sure what their magic is, but these seven-hour-stretches-of-sleep don’t have me complaining.

14. I totally get the, “I’d rather be sick than you” line now. Nothing worse than feeling helpless, and so far it’s only been a sinus infection that’s had him down.

15. And on that note, I’m so thankful for so much this year. God gave us the desires of our hearts in abundance in 2015. A healthy, active, funny, curly-haired, blue-eyed baby boy that we are smitten with more every single day, family that’s been an amazing support system, friends who have showered us with gifts and love, and His grace for when we don’t appreciate our blessings enough.

2015, thanks for all you gave our sweet family.

Especially for those four bags of epidural during a long stretch of hours in March.

Amen.

Happy 2016!

Sunrises, Shade, and Swim Diapers: Beachin’ with Baby

Tap, tap.

Is this thing on?

Y’all, I have to admit something.

I thought once Luke grew out of his newborn stage that I would be ALL UP IN THE BLOG. I suddenly would have way more free (well, hands-free) time, so many thoughts to share, and, as the Dixie Chicks sang, Wiiide Opppeeen Spaaaccceeessss!

Well, that hasn’t exactly been the case.

As our sweet baby boy has grown, he wakes up as the Energizer Bunny a little bit more every day. Listen. I’m so grateful he is so healthy.  Once we passed that “fourth trimester,” the time, it really does fly. He’s seven months this week, and while that does hurt this mama’s heart a wee bit, I am just so thankful he’s growing and, by all accounts, thriving. I love watching him explore and discover something new every day. He is the definition of precious, curious, active, unintentionally funny, and WIGGLE WORM. He has brought my husband and me endless joy.

Just not said hands-free time, my thoughts are a little scatter-brained, and not a wide open space to be found.

(Except our living room floor which has been sans coffee table due to the tiny human who I think is part-monkey.)

(Just watch out for the board books, squeaky toys, singing train, stuffed animals, and puppets).

(He still hasn’t learned to clean up after himself after seven months).

While he’s napping in his crib (which, for the record, I still feel like I deserve a SHINY RIBBON every time this successfully happens), I thought I’d revisit this little memory-keeping space.

Oh, I could do something more productive.

Clean the bathrooms.
Sweep the floors.
Watch last week’s Nashville. (#TeamDeacon).

But I’ve chosen to invest in the blog, and I know my husband will be ever so appreciative.

So, I thought I’d share some baby beach tips we learned on our recent trip. As the date was getting closer, I was seeing RED FLAGS. However, we really had a wonderful trip, and was even more surprised how well he did in the car. We only stopped twice on the way down, and just once on the way back (winning!).

For the days and weeks leading up to our Great Voyage to the Gulf, I googled and pinterest…ed until I think I read every blog offering advice for traveling with an infant to the beach. Some were helpful (a baby pool!), and some we realized weren’t for us in a manner of 3.05 seconds (a baby tent).

In no particular order, here’s what worked for us both in the car and on the sand:

1. A Baby Fan

While Luke is generally a happy baby, he considers the car seat his arch-nemesis.  That’s not too big of a deal on a fifteen-minute drive to church, but on an eight hour drive spanning three states? HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. Other than the whole restraint thing, we think one reason he wasn’t a fan was because he gets so hot in it. So we bought this baby fan and I think it chilled him out a little (pun totally intended).

2. Sit in the Back

This was the one I was dreading the most because I haaate riding in the backseat on a long trip (I know, #firstworldproblems). But, I think our trip would’ve felt much longer if I didn’t. I could play with him, pat him to calm him down, distract him with a squeaky toy, and he just knew I was there.

3. iPad in the Car (YEP).

Don’t go calling the American Academy of Pediatrics on me. We will only do this for long trips, but it was a lifesaver. During a meltdown one day on the ride home from church, while being stuck in traffic, Brett and I were feeling pretty desperate. So, I pull out my iPhone and pulled up an Elmo video from YouTube. And all of the sudden, the demons left my child, and he went back to being sweet angel baby. Well, what do you think we did before our trip? We bought the “Best of Elmo” for $10 on iTunes, downloaded it on the iPad, Brett “McGuyver’d” it with binder clips and twine, and we were set for our trip. He only watched it probably about an hour total or so each way, but DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG AN HOUR IS WITH A HAPPY BABY? A lot faster than one with a baby that hates the world (even if I know the words to every song Elmo has ever sang).

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4. Ground Floor Unit

Brett knows I have one requirement for our stay on the beach. Our room must be beachfront. If I have to drive or walk across the street to get to the Gulf, I’d rather just stay home. I know, that is totally snobby, but it’s just how it is. I now have a new one: a ground floor (at least while he’s little). I cannot even tell you how much easier it was to just walk out to the beach from our patio. We could leave gear on the patio without hauling up and down stairs, easily go to the room for a quick diaper change or break, and it just saved so much headache. Do it if you can! I promise your view will still be better than fantastic.

5. Rent a Crib

This one may just be tailored for our sensitive sleeper, but we knew our Pack N’ Play wasn’t going to cut it for our baby boy to sleep in every night. Great to play in, but not so comfy to sleep in. We never have “co-sleeped” during the night, so that was out. So we rented a crib for a small fee and it was worth every dollar. I’d write a check for a few good nights of sleep every time. I was able to enjoy gorgeous sunrises a lot more with a few hours of consecutive sleep (key words being CONSECUTIVE).

6. Inflatable Baby Pool

One of Brett’s coworkers was kind enough to loan us their shade tent for Luke to sit in on the beach. Well, after one attempt at that, we knew it wasn’t for him (though for many babies, it would be). He couldn’t see us, and though it was shaded, it was hot since the breeze was blocked. So our plan B was using the $4 inflatable baby pool we bought at WalMart on clearance, and he was so much happier. He could see everything, and feel the sea breeze his Mama loves. Put a few toys in there, and he was a happy crab (if there was ever such a thing) for a little while at a time.

7. Sun Protection

It was just our luck that when we got to the beach, we discovered that all of Luke’s sweet, floppy beach hats were just a tick too small (thanks to my genes for the big noggin’…). Thankfully, we had a pretty adorable crab cap that fit perfect and he generally kept on. So, hats of course, swim shirts, and baby sunscreen. You know what’s not fun? Putting on baby sunscreen on a baby’s face. It’s similar to herding cats, except more hissing is involved. (Also, I had read that swim diapers only hold, ahem, dirty diapers and not wet. So, he was in regular diapers on the beach.) (I learned this was true when walking back to our room holding Luke, and feeling a warm stream down my swim cover and legs. This gives me great comfort to know that the pool is completely clear of any bodily fluids, I’m sure).

8. Find a Routine

Our first day was the rude awakening that HEY, YOUR BEACH DAYS HAVE DRASTICALLY CHANGED. Part of this has to do with him hating the baby tent that I mentioned, and that made him pretty grumpy. So after I had been down there ten minutes, we went back to the room, and then Brett gave me beach time that afternoon by myself (which, I have to admit, was guilt-free and LOVELY). The next day though, we switched gears with the baby pool and learned that once he played in there for a few, a beach walk and the sound of the waves led to a nap under the beach umbrella. It was different than years past, but no less enjoyable (in fact, a lot more sweeter).

9. Pack Essentials

My husband laughs (and slightly grimaces… or maybe that’s the other way around) at my packing when we go on a trip. I pack anything I can that we might need. Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, trash bags, ziplocks, all the bath products, even a couple rolls of TOILET PAPER (There are certain things that you just need to have your brand, you understand). He likes to remind me that we’re not visiting a remote island, rather just near the Florida/Alabama line where a Publix is a mile away. So, basically I’m saying don’t be like me, pack less. (I did just pack a few diapers and bought a pack down there). (But I totally used a coupon). (#SorryNotSorry)

10. Set Up a Tip Jar

If you have a cute baby, your beach set-up will be a destination on just about everyone’s beach walks. We should have had a sign that said, “Stop and See: $1, Picture $2.”

But really, could you blame them?

We could have made a fortune!

We are thankful God blessed us with that little crab a little more every day.

When Revival Happens in the Parking Lot

“I’m feeling adventurous this morning!”

Those words came out of my mouth as we passed by our street while chasing down bad guys.

Actually, I said those words as we passed by our street to look for more yard sale signs. At the same time, the baby just woke up from a nap and was teetering on the fine line between fussy and giggly.

When you become a parent, your definition of adventure changes DRASTICALLY.

This was living, y’all.

We passed a few more streets and drove around a large neighborhood before calling it a bargain hunting day, and we turned back on to Highway 70 heading towards home.

We were laughing along to the radio when we heard it.

CLICKETY CLICK CLICKETY CLICK CLICKETY CLICK.

Uh-oh.

I didn’t mean that kind of adventurous.

Fellowship Baptist Church was just on the right, so my sweet husband pulled in and parked. He went to the hood, I went to get the baby out of the car seat, and then we saw it… a cord thing dangling on the pavement.

(I later learned that it’s called a belt).

(I did not know cars had belts).

(Maybe it makes the engine’s waist look smaller).

Thankfully, we weren’t far from home and my parents live close by, so they were on their way to come get us (thanks again, Mom and Dad!). It was also a low humidity morning in August in the South, which that alone is a miracle in itself.

But something really cool happened in that church parking lot.

While we waited for a few minutes, two different people – complete strangers – pulled in and asked if there was any way they could help. One of them was even getting his phone out for us to use to call loved ones if we needed it.

They didn’t know us, and I’m sure they were in the midst of a busy Saturday morning.

(In fact, one told us he was on his way to Antioch to visit his sister).

Yet, they made time. They made a choice. They saw a young family with the car hood up in an empty parking lot and stopped. They could’ve kept driving and gone along with their day, as many did, but they didn’t.

Would I have stopped?

I don’t really want to answer that question because, well, I know the answer.

I would have kept driving.

Oh, I would have made myself feel better by knowing that I have no car expertise at all to offer (see belt insight above), but I learned something today. I could offer my phone to make a call, I could offer to drive down to the Dollar General down the street and buy a cold drink, but the most and best I could offer is to let them know I care.

Those two gentlemen did that today.

In a world where people get shot in church, in movies, and we cringe to hear where next, those two guys taught us that there are still good people.

Let’s not be the Priest or Levite looking the other way when others need help.

Let’s be the Good Samaritan.

Let’s be the good.

Despite our good intentions, I think we sometimes make this whole church thing a whole lot more complicated than it has to be.

It doesn’t take a fancy building.

It doesn’t take committee meetings.

It doesn’t take bright lights, a choir robe, a smoke machine, a wooden pew, or a coffee bar.

It doesn’t even have to take money.

All it takes is a kind heart to shine the light of Jesus to the world.

Before we found ourselves in that parking lot, we passed that sweet little church on our yard sale excursion. I remarked that their sign was advertising a revival.

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Revival? I believe we just had it.

(Fun fact: We received a check in the mail this past week that we weren’t expecting. It more than covered the complete cost of the repair to the car. Thanks, God. I think you wanted me to learn a lesson this week. Lesson learned).

From an Apple on My Desk to the Apple of My Eye

Dear Mrs. S,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Luke’s Mom. I go by another name too, but it’s all I’m seemed to be known by now, not that I’m complaining.

I haven’t been around long, but it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t exist.

You, however, have been around for over four years now. Really, it’s been over five years if you count that first year when you went by Miss G.

(You’re still trying to not go into the fetal position when you think that those kids that remember you as that are now seventh graders).

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be you. An elementary school teacher with an endless supply of Expo markers, boxes of Crayola crayons in a bright-colored tub, your own reading rug and rocking chair to read stories to children and change your voice to different characters, your own bulletin boards to decorate, your own class to lead down the hallway while having eyes on the back of your head, and even your own papers to grade with your multi-colored pens.

And, thank the Lord, I got to be you these past few years and it’s been a great joy of my life. You have met friends that will be lifelong, taught students who will change the world, and grown into a profession that’s become a passion.

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But that little girl you were wanted to be something even more than the teacher with the polka-dot dress and colorful lanyard.

You wanted to be a Mommy.

A Mama who was able to stay at home.

We’re going through a transition right now, sister. One you’ve prayed would arrive and wondered if God would grant the desires of your heart. And praise Him, He did! One where your husband crunched numbers and you saved up together to allow my dream of staying home to happen. And praise Him again, it has!

It’s a beautiful and joyful transition.

But can I let you in on a little secret?

It’s also a little bittersweet, too.

Don’t you think I’m complaining. I am so grateful to be here and to see you step away for a while.

While you have some friends that don’t understand why you would want to, you have many friends who would love to be at home, but can’t for their own reasons right now. It doesn’t make me any better of a mom and them any less of one.

(On a side note, I will guard what I say on social media. Because you know what a tired teacher who is also the mama to a sweet baby doesn’t want to hear? How tired I am. Newsflash: So are they, but they have to get up in the morning and wear dress pants. You can stay in pajamas).

Much like teaching, there’s nothing that can prepare you to be a mom until you actually are one. College courses and labor classes are one in the same. Helpful information, but once you hold that baby, much like once you stand in front of that first class, you realize you really know nothing.

But that teaching thing? You felt like you were (finally) getting into your groove.

And don’t think I haven’t noticed you.

The school supply sales are full throttle, and it’s all you can do to not pick up a few boxes of Crayola (for those kids who inevitably bring in RoseArt), a few extra Elmer’s gluesticks, and some bulletin board border for a fresh start.

On Sunday morning? When the pastor asked for all the teachers to stand so they could be prayed over? Well, you felt a little out-of-place as you remained sitting (until you bolted for that colleague down the aisle to pray over her. I know that was all you).

You’ve been seeing all sorts of ideas on Pinterest that make your teaching imagination come alive with cross-curricular activities, how you’d design your classroom this year, and all the little stations you’d have set up your Open House next Friday night.

You, in a cruel twist of fate, are even having school dreams again.

You’ve visited that second home of yours of the past five years a few times with friends as they set up their rooms and decorate their doors, and you’ve felt that twinge of, “Am I doing the right thing?”

I’m here to assure you.

You are.

God has made it clear that you are by how He’s provided when it didn’t make sense. He’s had this laid on your heart as long as you can remember.  You didn’t dream of the wedding and the dress, you dreamed of the husband and the family you’d hopefully have.

You can think back to when you were a very little girl and remember eating a Happy Meal with your Mom at McDonald’s on a random Monday, reading Bible stories on her bed, and taking walks around the block.

I want that too.

.

You see, I’m a little selfish. I want to see all the “firsts,” I want to be the one that calms Luke down when he cries in the middle of the day, the one who walks countless laps as he finally falls asleep on my shoulder, and the one who even changes those dirty diapers.

(Well, Daddy can do that too as he feels led).

It’s true, you loved seeing your name outside that classroom door, but one day you’ll see it again. There will be other classes for you to love, but there will never be this time of my life or his life again.

You knew the moment you found out I’d come around that you, Mrs. S., didn’t stand a chance.

Home is where I’m supposed to be.

You aren’t going too far though, as you tutor some sweet kiddos once school cranks up. So, don’t go throwing away those flashcards and file folder games just yet. You’ll get to keep your second love close to your heart, just on a much smaller scale.

Oh, and that darling son of yours? Well, he’s going to need that creativity you loved using in your classroom. Show him the shapes as you build castles with blocks. Build a fort and stack it with books and a flashlight. Teach him the alphabet with a silly song. Practice your numbers with hopscotch and sidewalk chalk. Read one of your favorite books with a puppet on your arm.

You used to pray every morning on your short drive to work for many things, but you’d always include, “Let me be a light to my students and coworkers in my classroom and hallways.”

I promise to carry that light in this new phase of our lives together, even if it’s just the living room and hallway to the bedroom.

Thanks for all the wonderful memories, Mrs. S. It’s with a little tear in my eye but a smile in my heart to tell you that I promise to make the most special ones while you’re away.

– Luke’s Mom

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