An ode to our snot-wipers, butt wipers and spark igniters.

Cheers, teachers.  We’re in the last week of term one in New Zealand.  Parts of America and the UK are just entering or just leaving Spring Break.  And Australian schools are breaking for an Easter holiday too.

Cheers, teachers.  You’ve made it. We’ve made it.

You’ve gotten to know your class of little or big darlings.  You’ve done a few rounds of testing in all core subjects, you’ve met with as many parents that were willing to meet at their pre-arranged time as possible, and no doubt you’ve returned many an email.  Some necessary.  Some…maybe not so much. Or not at all.  I’m sorry about that one I sent last week about my darling’s non-regulation sandals for the beach day.  Yep.  I am.

Cheers, teachers.  I don’t know how you do it.  You maintain peace and order, while stimulating brain cells that are an endangered species from having watched far too many Stampy Cat tutorials, you sort out lost uniform pieces, lost lunch money, lost lunch orders and lost kids.  And all with a smile on your dial.

Cheers, teachers for encouraging my kids.  For running with their crazy ideas when they spot an opportunity for a little something extra to participate in.  You see initiative, I have to try harder to see that, to look above and beyond your lost lunch hours and major negotiating skills put in place.

Cheers, teachers for all the snot wiping and the butt wiping that you do.  Some days I walk into kindy and see you cleaning up someone’s number twos.  Never a harsh or unkind word spoken.  Sometimes that’s barf material to a kid’s own mother.  Not to you.

Cheers, teachers for all the hours you put into your job…hours put into my kids, when sometimes your own kids are waiting patiently in the sidelines.  Thank you for your insightful words.  Thank you for seeing the good in every situation.  Thank you for seeing that spark of interest, and lighting a fire that will hopefully burn bright for many more years.  For the laughs and the tears, thank you that they are never at the expense of my children, but they come as part and parcel of this privileged partnership.

Cheers, teachers.  One term down.  Three to go!  I’ll continue to cheer you on from the sidelines, and let you do what you do best.  But just give me the nod, if you need a spot of this……

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Cheers, teachers.

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Beyond the smiles.

It was my husband’s birthday yesterday. To honour the spunky hunk I posted a reasonably recent photo of him on Facebook, along with a few lines about how I feel about him. Then I got to thinking about that particular photo and what it represented.

The photo was taken in New York, in Times Square. We’d been ‘given’ a glorious 56 hours away from our three kids, and my very generous brother had flown us over to NYC to be there while he was there. The time  was magical in a huge number of ways. I honestly wasn’t expecting to love the city as much as I did, it was awesome to explore it with my brother and his wife, the weather was beautiful, the sights were stunning, it was simply magical. The photo shows a very happy husband, thoroughly enjoying a once in a lifetime experience.

What the photo doesn’t show is that happy husband had at that time begun to exhibit some pretty severe symptoms for type one diabetes. That photo doesn’t show the seriousness of what he was facing. The week after we got back Michael went to the doctor and was diagnosed with this life changing condition.

Beyond that smile, there was a lot more going on than what that smile would let on. Yes, that smile in that photo was genuine. We had an absolute blast in those 56 hours and created memories that will last us a lifetime. But, I’ll always remember there was more going on, there was more beyond that smile.

Last year before my kids started their new school, I remember being weirdly freaked out and overwhelmed by the thought that my kids wouldn’t fit in. It felt like everyone else had it all together, that their kids were all extremely high achieving and I held onto a completely unfounded fear that my boys with their ‘point of difference’, their speech impediments, would suffer and not fit in, when all around them were ‘perfect’ kids.

Yeah, well, it didn’t take long to realize that as I said earlier, this was an unfounded fear. A stupid fear. Ignorant thinking on my part. You see I know, I really do know, that there are no perfect kids. Just like there are no perfect people. We all have our issues. Every kid has something that they struggle with, some things are obvious, others are not. My kids did fit in just fine, because it is an imperfect world we live in.

But that false thinking of mine prompted me to think, more often, what is really going on with  x, y, z kid? How is that family doing?  Just like so much was going on behind the scenes of that photo I took of Michael, a moment in time, in Times Square…..what’s going on beyond the smiles of your kids classmates? Your kindy teacher? The check out operator you see once a week? The basketball coach? Hairdresser? Friend you just texted?

Now I do know that most people aren’t going to open up, blab on your shoulder and tell you their life’s woes, just because you’ve bothered to take the time and noticed them, some may though! And we actually don’t have to be in the loop with everyone’s own private business. But I felt this worthy of a blog post because I myself need reminding that so often we only see people’s highlight reels. We’re exposed to all that is good and noteworthy and praiseworthy in life, and it is easy to think how easy some people have it. And that can isolate us in our struggles, especially our kid struggles. But we’re in this together. There are no perfect kids and there are no perfect parents, but we are better together.

We are better when we look beyond the smiles, when instead of highlight reel, we see a real life reel.

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