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My little girl started 2nd grade today.  She was a little nervous, I was a lot nervous, but the morning went off without a tear from either of us!  You know, I think grown-ups forget all to quickly how hard it is to be a kid.  I am so proud of how brave she has been through school transition this year.  We took her out of private school (where I also happened to work) and enrolled her in the public elementary school up the street.

It’s her first time in a public school (her dad and I both went to public) and I won’t lie – I was scared.  We were leaving a private school, I used to call it my “happy little bubble”, a place where she went to work with me every single day for four years.  If she got sick, she came to my office.  If she needed a hug, she came to my office.  I was never far away.  But, as I’ve blogged about before – things changed.  The happy bubble became less happy and I needed to move on.

Last Friday was the meet and greet at school.  It was a time to bring all your school supplies up, see where your desk is, say hi to your teacher.  Jordan was nervous.  She had a lot of questions about riding the bus.  We got to school and I could immediately tell that this was going to be an awesome school year.  The building was buzzing with energy.  The teachers were excited to see the kids.  The kids were excited to see the teachers.  Genuinely excited.  You could feel it.

So, today was the day.  Our first morning at our new school.  Here are some photos before the bus arrived:

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It’s always rough to come back from vacation.  This year, I think it was harder for me to go on a vacation.  As our week in Wisconsin got closer, I kept asking myself – what do I need a vacation from?  I wasn’t sure.

I have spent the last 11 years working full time.  I got married, had 2 kids and maintained a home.  Now?  Take away the 40+ hour job.  I am doing some consulting work, but I spend most of my days with my kids.  The decision to leave the only job I knew was a really tough one.  I poured my heart into that job and into the people.  I loved it.

Well, that is until I didn’t.  The job became emotionally and intellectually unfulfilling.  I want to be clear though, the people did not.  I thrive being with a group.  When I’m asked to do something, I almost always say yes.  I love to help out when and where I can.  I’m definitely a people-pleaser.  I love talking to people, learning about their lives and telling them about mine.

As we drove to Wisconsin, I couldn’t help but not feel that excited.  Something was bothering me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  Why wasn’t I happy?  I left the job that made me unhappy, I was getting to spend more time with my kids who I adore.   I knew not being around the people (many who became dear friends) was going to be a huge adjustment.  But, it was more than that.  I was being short with my family, especially my husband.  As we pulled into Wisconsin, got everything settled and all tucked in bed, it hit me.

Enter: athazagoraphobia.

As I lay in the dark, tears quietly streaming down my face, I realized exactly what I was scared of.  I was terrified of being forgotten.  Or worse, terrified of being remembered for something that was insignificant.

When I’m gone, I don’t want people to think, “oh, Jami made the best salads.”  Or, “she was so organized.”  Or, “wow, she got some really great donations for the auction.”  Are you kidding?  Gag.

I truly believe that I was put on this earth to do good work, to do good things.  I don’t want to be remembered for being, well, ordinary.  I know it’s not going to be easy.  I have days when I feel very brave, like I can conquer the world and there are days when I don’t.  I just know there is something inside of me, something waiting to come out.  I know at times it will be scary.  But, I also know that I must do it.

I’m pretty sure that my athazagoraphobia is only temporary.  So, watch out world.  I’m coming to help.

As many of you already know, I’m a mom.

And, like many of you moms (and dads) out there – a busy one.

I can’t count the number of times I hear my name screamed, whined, or just called out for every single day.

Its been a stressful few months and just when I think I can’t hear that name again or think about the stress of life, I get to go to Walgreens.  By. Myself.

Yes, Walgreens.

I just got back from 10 minutes of an open sunroof, windows down, music cranked up loud (tonight, it was the Zac Brown Band with Jimmy Buffet singing Knee Deep) and all of a sudden, I’m not in St. Louis anymore.  I’m not really sure where I am, but its warm, there is a beach nearby and for 10 minutes I don’t think of anything that causes me stress.  It’s really a beautiful thing.

Where do you escape for 10 minutes and what do you listen to on your way there??

So, this has been an emotional couple of days.  Yesterday, my day consisted of letting everyone know that I wouldn’t be returning next year, watching volunteers cry in a meeting when they heard, me crying in the same meeting and a steady flow of staff coming in to ask “what am I going to do next year without you?”  So, I decided since the day was emotional already, I might as well break the news to tell my little girl that she was going to change schools next year.

I. Was. Terrified.

I didn’t know how she would react.  It is the only school she’s ever attended.  If she got sick, or a boo-boo, or just needed a hug, she could come to my office.  This was all about to change.

I told her in the car on the way home.

She cried.  I cried.

I did the best I could and told that we would of course keep in touch with her friends.

And then she was just quiet, so I shut up (because normally, I talk things to death and this was one of the few times I was speechless.  Nothing I could say was going to change this or make it any better for her).

And because it was Monday and already a banner (NOT!) day I had to go to the dentist and get a permanent crown put on.  Jordan went with me and played in the waiting room the entire time.  She’s a great kid.  After the dentist, we drove home and as we pulled into the driveway, four neighborhood kids came running to the car and I knew things were going to be okay.

It wasn’t until bedtime though that I realized all of the stress and tears and worry that I had about telling her the news was really all of my anxiety.  We finished reading, wrote in her reading log and did our happy thoughts.  She then looked up at me and said, “I’m kinda glad I get to start a new school in 2nd grade.  I mean, I’m really glad I get to finish 1st grade and that you didn’t like come in the classroom like in the middle of math and say, (she’s waving her arms at this point) “Hey, we’re going to a new school RIGHT NOW.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of her.  What is it about growing up that change, even change we’ve been wanting, causes so much stress?  I am sick as a dog today and I know it’s because the last 2 days I’ve been an emotional wreck.  All I have to say is Jordan ROCKS.

See? She's One Smart Kiddo.

May 1, 2011

Delta Gamma – Run for Sight

I wanted to mark this day down as the first day Jordan and I ran a 5K together.  After completing my 1/2 marathon, she said she wanted to run a race with me.  I couldn’t say no.

We had a perfect opportunity to support a friend whose daughter has been helped by the Delta Gamma Center.  You can find information about them here:  http://dgckids.org/.

We couldn’t have asked for a better morning.  The sun was shining, the temperature was just right and we were surrounded by lots of good friends.  But, today was so much more than that.

I was running with my little girl.

She squealed when we started.

She sprinted at first, but quickly realized she couldn’t keep that pace up.

We talked about the tortoise and the hare.

We walked when she needed to walk (which, to be honest wasn’t all that much!).

She beamed when we saw her 1st grade teacher on the corner cheering her on.

And, she finished strong.

Wait, we finished strong.

She finished her first 5K in a little over 46 minutes…15 minute miles for my little 7 year old’s legs.  I am SO proud.

I know I’m no alone.

How many of you out there have extra little bodies in your bed most nights?

I do.

Sometimes we have snuggle nights.

They get super excited for snuggle nights – can you tell?

Other nights we have sleepless nights.

Last night, Jordan snuck in at some point, I didn’t even feel her come in.  Not long after that, I heard Joey yell through the monitor, “Dad! Daaaady!!!”

And, before you know it, there are four people in our king size bed.

Lots of kicking, lots of crawling over each other, whispers of, “Mom, can I have some toast?”.  Um, no son…it’s 2:30 a.m.

The alarm went off this morning at 5:45 a.m.  Way to early.

I was tired, cranky and not ready for the day.

Until I got this message from his babysitter:

Joey -“Jess I build a tower for my mommy.”
Me- “Joey I love it”
Joey- “Jess you take a picture and sent it to my mommy?”
Me- “ok”

Yawn!  (Who cares about being tired when you get messages like that!!)

I wonder when the meaning of Easter for me went from attending church on

Holy Thursday,

Good Friday,

Holy Saturday and

Easter Sunday to

chocolate bunnies,

Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs,

and pastel covered M&M’s.

Much to my mother’s disappointment, I’m not much of a church goer anymore.

Wait, let me clarify, not much of a Catholic church goer anymore.

Because if you ain’t Catholic, you ain’t right.  (OK, my mom has never said that in her life, but its more fun to think about her delivering the message that way.)

Last time she visited she said “so, you really just don’t like Catholics do you?”

Ouch.

I went to church literally every weekend growing up.  I believe.  I do.

It is important for me to raise my kids with some religious foundation.  Its something I think about often, but am finding hard to put into practice.  I struggle with (because of my history) taking them every single week somewhere for church to talking to them at home about a higher being in a more general sense and hoping that it will provide them with enough foundation for them to make their own choice when they get older.

Tonight though, and the inspiration of this post, my 2-year old picked out Noah’s Ark for one of his books.  Jordan started reading it and when it said “God, told Noah he was going to make a flood to rid the world of its evilness.”   She said, “That seems kind of cruel.  Why would God do that to people?”  Her question caught me off guard, so I just said that he was doing it to rid the world of evil.  And she pushed, “But, what if we were there? What if the flood killed good people?”

I don’t know.

I wonder that same thing almost every day.

So, Sunday while my kids are hunting for their eggs, stuffing their bellies with M&Ms and other chocolate goodies, I’m going to look up and thank God their mine.  Because he blessed me with 2 amazing kids.

And, that’s what its all about.

 

Today my little girl is 7.

It’s really hard to believe that 7 years ago today my life changed forever.

The overwhelming sense of responsibility hit me the moment they placed her in my arms and I began crying.

I knew the way I looked at the world would be different.

I knew that my single, most important job was to do what I can to protect my little girl.

My little girl is a bright, kind and caring child.  She loves “mothering” her friends and her little brother.  She isn’t much of a risk taker, she likes to know what she’s walking into, assess the situation and then join in.  I see her leading at times, following at others.  She loves to pick out her outfits in the morning, even if its plaid, polka-dots and stripes all combined – she feels completely confident in her choice.  She wears no less than 3 pieces of hair decoration a day.  She knows the difference between right and wrong.  She knows how people should be treated.

I can remember the stress of having a newborn and not having a clue sometimes what I was doing.  And, while that type of stress is gone, the stress of being a parent never goes away.  It’s just a different kind.  Different worries.

Worries like:

Growing up to fast.

Getting her feelings hurt.

Not having enough self-confidence.

Her education.  Is she where she needs to be academically?

Getting physically hurt.

Being bullied.

So, I think I’ll start home schooling her, never let her out of the house and wrap her up in bubble wrap.  It will be fine.  Right?  I’m kidding.  Honestly, 99% of the time, I feel like I can manage the worries, but as every birthday comes up it reminds me of how easy those newborn stresses were and how much harder the stresses are going to be.

So, I say to you my sweet girl.  Happy Birthday!

(When can I stop worrying?)

I knew it would happen some day.  I just didn’t know when.

Or how hard it would hit.

She’s growing up.

I remember worrying about how much formula she was getting.  Deciding which solid food to give her first.  Her first fever.  Her first cold.  What I wouldn’t give for those to be my worries today.

We had a rough day.  Sure, she’s 6..almost 7.  But, she tested me today.

As a parent, I think we all want our kids to be good kids.  We want them to be truthful.  We need them to be kind.  We want them to do their best.  We sat down tonight and talked.  She knows what her punishment is and we will stick to it, but more important than that was explaining to her that as a family how important it is to be able to trust one another. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we have this conversation.  I know that this is just the beginning.

To be completely honest though, it wasn’t really what she did that was so bothersome to me.  It was the realization that the days of worrying about what seemed so monumental 6 years ago are over.  Ouch.  Big ouch.

To my little girl:  Be kind, be brave, be truthful, do your best.  And don’t ever, ever, ever lose your smile and that great belly laugh we have all grown to love.

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