massacre and middle school misery

This morning I went out to the car, opened the door, and was met by an avalanche of decimated mini candy bar wrappers.The murderer had eaten them in haste and frenzy. Of the 13 recovered corpse-wrappers, all had been torn open with some crazed animal’s teeth–a well known one-handed method for binging and driving.

I really feel for the teacher/mom who was driving my car last night. She’s obviously feeling the load of the world on her shoulder pads and was seeking creature comfort in Nestle goodness. No judgements.

I’ve learned a few things about myself through this new school year. First, I was not cut out to be a substitute teacher (last year’s job). I love coming in to work everyday, I love dressing up and the smell of school carpet and seeing my little kids in uniform and white board markers and mostly, mostly, ukuleles and high schoolers.

I don’t know how I stayed home all those years. How did I not realize that once my kids were in school I’d get a j-o-b and want to go to work? Working at David O. McKay Academy feels like a direct blessing and tender mercy for giving mommyhood all those lonely years at home while my babies were growing. I’m so very, very glad I waited. It was so worth it.

It’s also exhausting.

I am asleep by 9 pm every night, or close to it. Some nights it’s more like 8:30, and when my alarm rings at 5 am I feel like a zombie who hasn’t brushed her teeth in 47 years.

And my morning scripture study is great, it keeps me going, but it’s not always a big motivating spiritual experience. This past week pulling out spiritual parallels feels like picking lint off a sweater. Sometimes my study is like a veritable buffet, but there have bee no rootbeer floats lately, lots of lint. That’s ok.

To be honest, and please don’t tell me kid I’m writing about this, my oldest child is having a very tough year. Another move, another ward, another school. He’s been diagnosed with a severe case of Sinusitis and is going in for surgery in another week and a half. In the meantime he lives with constant migraine headaches and his whole wonderful face is swollen from the frequent sinus infections. I feel helpless to help him.

Yesterday in the car he kind of broke apart and it all spilled out. He misses his friends, he misses his teachers, he misses his band program and his ward and being able to ride bikes home with his buddies everyday. He’s prayed for help, he’s tried, but he pretty much thinks he’s Job. The man/boy is miserable.

I just listened because there were no words of encouragement to offer. Jason and I are powerless in some ways, he’s growing up and has to figure out how to make this happen on his own. Don’t get me wrong, I dumped him off at someone’s house (much to his horror and dismay) on Saturday night for games and he wanted to strangle me. But he came home with a huge smile and had a blast because really, the Lord is answering his prayers even if he can’t see it. There are friends to be had all around him.

Things don’t ever get better overnight and they always require work. Peaks and valleys, lint and rootbeer floats. I believe they will get better for him. It doesn’t matter if your family moves every two years or if you go to the same school your entire life, Middle School is miserable.

More on that later, break is over.

pretty pretty please

So Georgia’s bedtime prayers go something like this.

“Heavenly Father, please please please pretty please with sugar and sprinkles and flowers and nice things on top don’t let me have any scary dreams. Only dreams of goodness and sweetness and puppies and candy and babies and mommies and teddy bears with cute clothes and cake and happiness, lots of happiness, and dresses and playing with nice friends and flowers and pretty stuff…or just no dreams, please please pretty PRETTY please with sprinkles on top let me have no dreams…”

She takes her praying so seriously at night, I am half tempted to secretly record one of these prayers because they are possibly the most intense prayers I have ever heard. I can’t decide if it would be sacrilegious or not, they don’t belong to me.

When I jumped on my blog this morning I was appalled to see that I haven’t written anything in over a month. Thing is, I write every single day but I’ve gone back to long-hand in a book journal. Total technological digression. Like living in 1994. I get up every single day at 5 am to read scriptures and write in my journal and I am absolutely convinced it’s the fuel that is keeping me going.

Last week Jason surprised me and asked if he could start joining me for scripture study in the mornings. Note to self: I had no idea this would be like spiritual dating. I feel like we’re getting to know each other in a totally foreign way, there is very little making-out involved during scripture study and we never discuss the budget. We sit at the table with our study stuff and talk about scriptural interpretation. It’s hot.

I am living this life that I never could have possibly foreseen a year ago. I teach four english classes, one high school drama class, and a daily elementary theater class at David O. McKay Academy. It’s like I work at EFY High. These high schoolers are the absolute light of my life, they are hilarious and fun and mostly respectful. I have about 25 kids in total. We did our little private school homecoming dance last weekend and it was phenomenal. Hey, I’ve been to plenty of high school dances. The theme was A Night in Little Italy at our principal’s house, set up the backyard and we had the dinner catered family/buffet style, then they danced to wonderful, clean music for a few hours before pitching in to clean it all up.

There was such a good spirit of joy and happiness there, it was unreal for a high school dance.

Last year I worked for CCSD and subbed at high schools. It is no exaggeration that at least once a day I would cross paths with a student that had a problem, and my hands were always tied when it came to advice. But at David O. McKay Academy? No ties.

Yesterday I had two different students throughout the day who needed a moment to stop and pray, and in both cases their prayers were answered within minutes. We were able to talk about prayer, how it works, why it works and Who is on the other side. These are girls who don’t utilize prayer at home and really need it in their lives right now.

I get to talk about that. I get to use the scriptures in my ENGLISH lessons. We read Joseph Smith’s narrative from the front of the Book of Mormon last week when we were talking about writing personal stories, he uses amazing imagery in his description of Moroni coming to his bedroom.

I have the best job ever.

Life is crazy and beyond busy and sooo full of challenges right now. Trying to fit in planning for all my students and still get laundry done and teach at the theater and stay on top of my classes at college and read to my kids at night and study my scriptures in the morning…it’s a lot. I’m planning the Europe trip for the Spring, the Harvest Festival, the German Christmas Market, helping students work on Project Based Learning, teaching ukulele to my study hall kids 6th hour…so many fingers in so many pies.

Here’s the secret, ready?

Get up everyday at 5 am and see what the Lord wants you to learn about in the scriptures. Journal it, write about it, take time for communication with the Holy Ghost first and whatever else happens during the day, no big deal. Even the crappy stuff seems to just work itself out. I’ve smashed up one of our cars this month and got our trailer stuck under a building…but problems that otherwise would be ruining my life seem to melt away when take time study and listen.

But really, someone should move that trailer. It’s kind of an eye sore.


*I’m no longer on FB, if you want my rather infrequent updates please put your email into the subscribe box to your right and they will occasionally trickle into your inbox. I’m busy, but I do love this virtual space to unload a little of my life.