Saturday, February 16, 2013

my grandma and my dad

As I wrote in an earlier post, my beloved grandmother is pretty sick.  Only Grandma and God know when she will leave us. 

In our family, there are 13 grandchildren; four of them are girls.  We are her favorites.  Oh, the boys might try to say they are the most favorite but we all know the truth.  Grandma loves us the best.  She always calls us her "beautiful girls".  The beauty clearly started with her.
I could share hundreds of stories about my grandmother.  The time will come for those stories to be shared.  And when the time comes, we will toast martini after martini in her honor and tell countless stories.  Or maybe it will be McNaughtons and Coke.  Either way, she'll watch over us and laugh along with us.
But that time isn't now.
Instead, I want to tell a story about the day my dad died. 
My brother texted early on October 1 and said he didn't think Dad wasn't going to make it through the day.   Patrick had flown out from Florida the night before and took the night shift so Mom could get a little rest.  He had finished calling the funeral home to make all the arrangements because I couldn't bear that task and told me Dad was ready to go.  I sped up my getting ready process and jumped in the truck to go to the hospital.  I envisioned the five of us together when Dad left us and it would be beautiful.
Dad had a different vision in mind.
As I was driving, I kept hearing Dad's voice "don't turn off to go to the hospital.  Go to your grandmothers house and be with her.  I need you to be with her.".  I thought I was crazy and ignored him.  Why would I go to my grandmother's house when I should be with my dying dad, right?  So, he said the words AGAIN, with that stern Dad voice that you didn't ignore.  "Michelle Marie, go to your grandmother's house. I don't want you at the hospital."  This time, there were images in my head, of kneeling at Grandma's feet, while she told me stories of my dad and played with my hair.
The feeling and urge to be with Grandma was overwhelming.  I felt so torn about what to do.  I wanted to be with my dad but I couldn't ignore that he clearly had a different idea for me.
Naturally, I did exactly what I wanted and ignored my father.  I went to the hospital.  Upon entering his room, I burst into tears and told my mom and brother that I wasn't supposed to be there and that Dad wanted me to be with Grandma.  To which my brother responded, "then why are you here?  If Dad says leave, you better listen to him.  He is still in charge."  My mom swears she could feel Dad pushing me out of the room.  I sobbed, kissed my father goodbye and Mom walked me out.  I called my cousin Jodie and my aunt and told him Dad wanted me at Grandma's.  I'm pretty sure I freaked them out.  But no one argued with me.
I pulled up to Grandma's house, pretty darn hysterical.  I told her through my tears that Dad wanted me to be with her, and she was supposed to tell me stories.  It didn't even occur to her to question my request.  She simply responded in her sweet, kind voice, "well, we better listen to Danny."  She sat in her chair.  I curled up at her feet.  And she started from the beginning.  Story after story poured out of her.  I sobbed but she never once stopped telling stories in the clearest, strongest voice I had ever heard from her.  It was beautiful.
I am not sure how much time passed before my aunt walked in and told me that Dad was gone.  I looked at Grandma and we told her.  She said, "he's gone?  I thought he'd stop by and say hello on his way."  I said nothing.  She was really quiet and then she said, "Danny gave me a better gift than saying goodbye.  He sent me Chelle."  Naturally, I lost it again.  The rest of the day passed in a blur with family, tears, and so much love.  My dad put me in the arms of my grandma on that day for both of us.  And I will forever be grateful for it.
My grandmother is ready to be with her loved ones in heaven.  She is ready to be with my dad.  And Dad will greet her with his big smile, arms wide open, and they will dance and laugh.  I want that for her.  I kinda also want it for me, too, but there is still much to be done here before it's my time.
On the day she dies, I will print and frame this photo to put in my office.  I know I have host of angels looking over me from above.
But these two will always be my favorites. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

he knows me well

My sweet husband sent this article to me for Valentine's Day.

It was perfect.

It didn't hurt that it came with a bottle of wine.

Monday, February 11, 2013

the day i almost passed out on a catwalk

Our school is currently undergoing a 75MILLION dollar renovation.  A complete overhaul that has landed me in a smelly, non-ventilated portable for a full school year while they construct my new office and classroom.  They tell me it will be worth it but each time they push back the move in date, they lessen my faith in their work.  They did make strides in appeasing me when they promised my ASB room would have a rubberized floor (for easy mop ups of spilled paint), floor to ceiling cabinetry for storage, tables on wheels, AND a utility sink (for easy mops ups of spilled paint). 

Who doesn't want a sink in their classroom, yo?

Anyhow, as a part of this remodel gig, the new performance arts center is operational.  Trainings for the new performance arts center have to occur to those who will use the space.  The new theater sits 600 people, has state of the art technology, all sorts of curtains, lights, and orchestra "clouds" in the sky and is super fancy pants coolness.  Since ASB uses the space for our events, I spent 2 hours of the work day, learning all there is to know about drapes and curtain rigging's.  Naturally, I kept saying "riggins", in loving reference to my favorite character from Friday Night Lights.  Unfortunately, no one got it but I totally entertained myself.

Who doesn't love Riggins?
For the record, my son loves him because he is also the lead character in Battleship, a movie Alexander currently loves more than Pop tarts.

As part of this training, we were asked to climb thousands of feet to the catwalks to see how the fancy schmancy pulley system works for the curtains and such.  We have a beautiful theater and I can't wait to see our program expand because of the state of the art work.   Drama geeks would totally have loved this shizz and I couldn't help thinking of my favorite drama geek, my brother, as I learned about each new bell and whistle.

And then they told me we had to go up into the catwalks. 

I remember my heart rate starting to race as we were climbing, and finding it hard to catch my breath.  One might have thought the response came from having to climb FIVE flights of ridiculously steep stairs to get to the catwalks.  Nope.  I was struggling because, with each flight, I could see us rising into the heavens and it was freaking my shizz out.  The stairs were the see through kind so I could see the floor dropping from below me.  When we finally reached the catwalks, we had to stand on grated metal, installed by the lowest bidder, supported by the thinnest metal ever made.  If I looked down, I could see the stage WAY below me.  On each side, the thinnest of rails was supposed to keep me from tipping over and falling to my death. 

This, my friends, is the part of the adventure where things get a little fuzzy in the ol' memory bank.  See, I'm the person who once stood on a ladder, outside her home, on the fourth rung, for three hours because she was scared and needed her husband to talk her off the ladder.  This the person who really wants to do the zip line in Fremont in Vegas but knows she'll never have the guts to climb the ladder to get to the zip line.  The person who refuses to walk across grated openings on the ground because she knows they are going to fall out from underneath her.

What the hell was I thinking when I agreed to walk the catwalk???  I have no idea.

According to my co-worker, the minute I stepped out onto the grating, color instantly drained from my face, I started swaying and, if she hadn't casually walked over and propped me up and edged me back to the door, I was definitely going down.  I don't remember any of it but I have enjoyed calling it my "near death experience", which is a total exaggeration but the best way to defuse my fear.

 Not even Riggins could save me today.   Not that I wouldn't mind him trying......

Sunday, February 10, 2013

all sorts of randomness

 If I were to be super mega-cognitive about life, I'd tell you that I grieve my dad on a daily basis and am discovering the many layers to the grief.  I'd tell you that I'm learning more about myself as a wife and a mother.  I've let go of the control I once felt the need to exert over our family and we are all better for it.
 I'm learning more about myself as a teacher.  I'm blessed to work with the highest achieving kids in ASB and letting go of control of the program has been remarkable.  Putting the program in their capable hands has brought growth for all of us.  Just this month, these awesome leaders took the lead on a project and raised more than $6500.00 for the American Heart Association. 
They blow my mind.

I'm learning more about myself as a daughter. My mom had knee replacement surgery and I spent three days in a hospital with her and another addtional seven days caring for her.  The dynamics of our relationship and the relationships with my siblings is changing. 
But let's not get all meta-cognitive, shall we?
Random updates on my life:
1.  My sweet grandmother, my sweet last living grandparent, is in poor health.  I believe in my heart of hearts, with the exception of my aunt, everyone who holds my grandmother's heart is in heaven.  She is ready to be with them. And that is ok.  I love her.  So much.
This is my absolute most favorite picture of my grandma.
2.  Mid winter break is next week.  The three of us are heading to Arizona and then over to Disneyland to play with my in-laws for a week.  As a bonus, Eric and I are staying in a hotel in Arizona while Alexander stays with his grandparents at the RV park.  To say I'm super excited to have a few days alone with my hubby is an understatement.
3.  When we return from vacation, work is going to amp up with no break in sight.  Fundraising events, student elections, registration for next's all going to pass in a blur. I'm going to have to really focus on keeping as much balance with home and work as possible. 
4.  Eric and I stopped drinking after the new year.  I'm about 99% sure we'll pick it back up while on vacay.
5.  I got a haircut.  Bang Bang.  I love them.
I don't know when I'll post again but I do miss it so I hope it is sooner rather than later.