Sunday, November 4, 2012

Slippery Little Snake

It's amazing to me how often time gets away from us. For instance, I can't believe my oldest nephew is married with two darling daughters (along with an array of other nieces and nephews who, mysteriously, continue to grow up --- without my permission); or how many of my college freshman were born in the 90's, the year I graduated from high school; or even that I've only posted on my blog twice in the year 2012 (this will be my third time).

In addition, as I was driving down a Moscow, Idaho street in my car this weekend, I had a sudden epiphany: It's been nearly a year since I've spent a weekend at home. Now, I'm going to contradict myself right here and say I have spent the occasional weekend at home, but honestly, I think it's just been a handful of times. Approximately a year ago we found out our mom had cancer, and pretty much since then, I have spent every break and nearly every weekend spending time with my parents and helping to take care of them. Is it a lot of time? Yes. Can it be exhausting? Yes. Do I regret any of it? No, not at all. How could I miss this opportunity to spend time with my parents and get to know them as adults. Because, honestly, I loved the long talks I had with my mom and seeing her zingers, sense of humor, and how she "handled" my dad. And I love learning my dad's foibles, quirks, and generosity to his children.

I'm not trying to sound like a saint or holier than thou, because, trust me, I have more than enough sins in my past, but I just recognized how much time I don't spend in my own home. It's so pronounced that my roommate even commented on how weird it felt having me home on a Friday. Time has scampered past me without my notice.

Again, this winnowing away of time hit me as I took my clean clothes from the washer today and prepared to hang them to dry (yep, I do that -- conserving natural resources and all -- did I mention I live in Moscow, ID? -- we're big into recycling, organic, and conserving our natural resources. I feel horrible if I throw away something I know can be recycled when I'm at my sister's house!). Anyway, sorry to go tangental. As I walked down the hallway with the basket of clothes I just thought how domestic I feel. As a kid I hated doing chores of any sort, but as an adult I enjoy a clean house and couldn't believe the sense of familiarity and rightness I felt as I went about my tasks and chores.

I know this is the month of November, when people post what they're thankful for every day on Facebook (which I think is admirable), but as Daylight Savings occurred this weekend and I "gained" an extra hour in my Sunday, I couldn't help but think about how often we don't really pay attention to the passage of time. Truly notice the leaves changing colors, people growing older, ourselves growing and maturing.

Those are my musings this evening, and some thoughts I've been thinking on lately. I have no eloquent way of ending this posting other than to encourage you to spend time with those you love and that are important to you. Too many times we wish we could have time back, but that is the one thing that no one can hold on to forever.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I saw today progressing different than that

Some days just never wind up how you planned.

My mom died last night. After expressing our love for her and going over plans for today, my sister and I wished her good night and went to bed. This morning I found her, called 911, and waited for the county deputy to finish his Unattended Death investigation before heading to the hospital to see about my dad who had been there since his emergency foot surgery a week earlier. He's home now and the coping and healing is slowly beginning.

Unsurprisingly it was deemed a death due to natural causes, but the death was a surprise nonetheless. Around Thanksgiving 2011 my mother had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. The cancer had spread into her gallbladder, liver, and lymph nodes, so everyone knew it was just a matter of time – just the time frame was unspecific.

As a family, we were blessed with the ability to say our good-byes, express our love and appreciation to her, and grow closer as a family. Right now I am emotionally and physically spent, so I’ll just cut and paste what I wrote on the Facebook family message board that has been updated as time has passed.

For those of you who haven't heard. Mom died during the night. I found her this morning and she had already passed. Although we're all saddened, there are many good things to take from her passing.

Luckily she died at home, which is where she would have wanted to be. She really hated hospitals and I know she wasn't looking forward to returning to one any time soon. Additionally, she didn't have to go through the intense pain and wasting away that is often seen with terminal cancer. Although her death was sudden (in that we didn't expect it to happen last night), she would tire easily and had other health issues. Overall, she was very upbeat and positive last night before she went to bed.

The greatest thing to remember is that she was so proud of her children. Like a proud parent she often loved to brag about how many kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids she had. She loved to talk about how successful each of us were as well as talk about how long she had been married.

In talking to the county officer who came this morning, he was impressed by how successful our family was (i.e. not in prison and we are upstanding citizens) and he talked about what a testament that is to what great parents we have.

So, to each of you, I want to say thank you for being someone mom could, was, and is proud of.

Funeral plans are pending, but it looks like they will be held sometime next week in Ellensburg, WA. We will post more when we know more.

For all the love, prayers, and condolences that have been expressed thus far, and will inevitably continued to be expressed: thank you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I love how my students talk about how I (i.e. teachers) have summers off -- like it's a good thing. Do they not know that "summers off" means I am revamping my classes, reevaluating assignments, creating calendars, finding new prompts (to minimize plagiarism), locating new readings, reading books about teaching (because we all know how much fun it is to read a textbook in your free time), and anyone of a number of other teaching-related things?

ALSO, do they not realize that, since I teach in college and I want to stay current and marketable, that I also do research and writing of my own (for "fun), apply to and/or present at conferences, submit to journals and publications, and other "fun" stuff like that?

I remember once upon a time when I also thought teachers had the life with weekends off. I'm pretty sure it started when I was in elementary school and my summers seemed to be lackadaisical and responsibility free, so you can imagine how glamorous a teacher's life seemed to be. Not only did they get summers off, but they were adults too! To a six year old, free time + adulthood = freedom to the extreme! -sigh- Those were the good ol' days! However, that belief changed when I became a teacher.

Summertime isn't here yet, I know. However, as mid-term grades have been submitted, we're on the verge of spring break, and summer plans are starting to be made...or at least discussed, I've begun to think about teaching, and summers, and how a responsibility free adulthood is a complete and utter farce. Pretty much like anything involving the Kardashians or television shows with the word "reality" in them.