Tuesday, June 28, 2011

[a very late] Happy birthday...

....to a very special woman,
You've taught me more things than probably any other person in my entire life.

~ Your "classroom" never had a chalkboard (or whiteboard or Smartboard).
~ Your classroom was never limited to one room or one building, for that matter.
~ Your homework assignments were a killer - especially the ones in summer (reading dictionary pages to improve my vocabulary or typing on a manual typewriter to improve my wpm).
~ You never gave grades but you cooked up food and fed me three times a day (and during growth spurts, four meals a day).
~ You never complained when you shuttled me from baton lessons to swimming lessons to violin lessons.
~ You didn't even raise an eyebrow when you would pick me up after marching band practice with a few other band mates (and assorted instruments).
~ You did, however, raise more than an eyebrow when I tried to hide my daily vitamins in my toybox.
~ And I'm sure you raised something else when you found I had eaten some of the poo out of my diaper as a baby.

~ You taught me algebra and trig from an unconventional desk (the kitchen table).
~ You fed me dinners on Wednesday nights in an unusual setting (the front seat of our station wagon on the way to my violin lessons).
~ You even dragged me kicking and screaming to a church youth retreat where I knew absolutely nobody (but ended up loving absolutely everyone three days later when you came to pick me up).
~ You sewed and fixed so many things for me with your famous aqua blue Singer sewing machine (school bag, music bag, music stand bag, prom dress, tailored wedding dress, countless Halloween costumes...)
~ You took care of my 3 month old son so I could go back to work.
~ You introduced my 2 hour old daughter to her proud big brother.

The things I've learned from you and perhaps remember the most are things you never "taught" me. They are things I've learned from simply watching you. I have learned about what it means to love your own flesh and blood. I have learned that patience can be much more powerful than action. I have learned that even in tragic events--like burying your 12 year old daughter--God is still in control.

You are a tough act to follow but an amazing source of inspiration.
Happy birthday, Mom!
I love you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

There's (not) 104 days of summer vacation

Is there a better way to start summer vacation than with a home mani/pedi? Part of Lolli's birthday pack of goodies included a bottle of nailpolish. On this first day of summer vacation, she picked her favorite color (out of my collection) and now she has matching toes and fingers in "Pink Chrome." I'm glad the color looks so much better on her than on me.

A couple of days ago, I had 'Shroom write thank you notes to all his teachers (being in the Learning Center and receiving special ed services at school, he had four thank you notes to write). It was a good thing I had him start a week before the end of school. He utilized every day until the night before to finish off his thank you notes. It involved a three step process:

1) he would write a draft on scratch paper
2) I would correct his spelling (insert step 1A before this: he would "decipher" his message for me so that I could correct the spelling)
3) he would write the final draft on the blank notecard

One of the step 3's looked like this:

Oh dear. I've always known he's struggled with reversing his "b" and his "d" and even his "3" in math. Okay, his seventy-one would come out as "17" and when asked to write thirty-seven, he would write "73" but still, I figured it was still on par with 8 year olds who ocassionally reverse letters and numbers.

He was copying this text from his draft. Should I have reason to worry that this is something beyond "typical" mistakes of an eight year old boy? His Learning Center teacher, in a recent conference, mentioned that he may benefit being screened for "d-y-s-l-e-x-i-a" as she had spelled out since he was within earshot. She needn't worry as 'Shroom has a hard time with auditory processing.

Well, this may be something we'll need to pursue with the neurologist as we look to find out more about his learning disabilities. I'm sure more to come on this topic will be forthcoming . . .