Friday, June 3, 2011

Honor Roll ? Really?

I am kind of gonna vent here, so don't say I didn't warn you.

M came home from school today talking about how he was on the honor roll.  As a mother, I was very proud.  After we cleaned out the backpack and threw away all the meaningless paper, we finally got to the one piece of information I was looking for, The Report Card.

So I am very excited to report he was promoted for 4th grade.  This is a great thing.  I know he is a very smart child, he is on the "Honor Roll" Right?  So I am looking through his grades and they are all B's and one A.  ALL B's and one A.  HONOR ROLL?  I am thinking HOW is that HONOR ROLL?  I was never on the Honor Roll.  NEVER!  And I made all B's most of the time.  In Catholic School, I made C's and B's.  Once I switched to public school I was B's and A's.  NEVER GOT ON THE HONOR ROLL.  I was ranked 210 our of almost 900 kids in high school.  I am not really a math genius but that is pretty good statistically.   It is in the top 1/2 and in the low end of the top 1/4.  But I was still not on the HONOR ROLL.

To me Honor Roll was all A's.  Not all B's and an A.  All A's.  Have we all really lowered our standards that much?  Don't get me wrong, I am happy for my son.  But if we lower our standards just so we can all have the title, then what's the point of having standards.  

At the school the kids are going to they have these tags the kids earn though out the year.  They are called Brag Tags.  If the child has a birthday, they get a "Brag Tag".  If they get student of the month, they get a "Brag Tag".  If they earn recognition in anyway, they get a "Brag Tag".  M got an Honor Roll "Brag Tag".  He also got special recognition for Creative Writing, and Being on the ALL STAR team.  All Star is when the teacher nominates you for leadership in some way.  I am very proud of him for all he has achieved this year.   I am however very much in disagreement with this districts standards.

I want my children to strive for high standards.  Once you are given credit for achievement, what is next?  So my 9 year old thinks he is on the Honor Roll.  In his mind, he has made it.   Is there High, Higher and Highest Honor Roll and he is only on the Honor Roll?  I guess it's better than Not being on the Honor Roll at all.  Or is it?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Resilience has taught my kids respect and diversity.

What a bitter sweetness.  My baby is no longer a 1st grader.  I will have no more first graders ever!  While this makes me teary eyed, I also feel like a bit of a vet compared to all the mom's in Monkey's class........

I admit I was teared up, but for me it wasn't because my son had bonded with all the kids in his class and  I was gonna miss the memories they had created.  It was because this was my last time to have a first grader.   And a bit because of guilt that I didn't know the kids in the photos and because my child had been to three states and three classes this year alone.   

Kids are so resilient.  I know I tried to make sure they adapted well to the moves we made.  I just sometimes wish I could do it all over.  I regret that my kids ever had to be so resilient.  I try to compare their lives to mine.  I moved from Corpus Christi in Kindergarten and started 1st grade in  Arlington and went to South Davis for 6 weeks, then Wimbish for the rest of 1st grade and all of 2nd grade before moving yet again to St. Maria Goretti and I turned out ok.  Right?  My Father moved all over the country, Missouri, Georgia, Alabama.   Some kids live in military families and move every 2 years......... Most turn out ok Right?

More than anything, I hope all my boys have great memories.   I  know it has been hard for N being in the 7th grade but he made the basketball team in NY and has good friends here now too.  And the most amazing is my quiet M is learning how to adapt and speak.  He is such a boy's boy.  He has come out of his shell so much this year.   Monkey is such a charmer he has people eating out of his hand where ever he goes.   I hope these are truth's and not just excuses I am using to make myself feel better.

I am happy my boys have lived more than one place.  I am happy they experienced CT and NY and aren't afraid of the changes that come with moving.  They know the stereo types that people across the country have and they know they are not true.  Stereo types like, "All Texans carry guns and ride horses," or "All New Yorkers are rude." (We will blog about those stereo types later.)  They also are not afraid of taking the train or other forms of Mass Transportation.  New York City is a place they have experienced more than once or twice.  We have been enough that they recognize street blocks when they see NYC on TV.  My boys know diversity needs to be accepted and that just because people don't do things just like we do, doesn't make them weird or wrong.  They understand Jewish people, Catholics, Blacks, Asians, Whites, Protestants and even Muslims can all co-exist happily and are respectful of those differences.

N has told me several times when he goes to college he wants to go back North because he has less allergies there.  :)  This makes me happy.  I  hope they all remember all the wonderful times we have in our lives so far.  

I hope the decisions I have made will help these boys grow up to be respectful, educated, diverse young men and adults. Men that are not afraid to change.  Men that understand that diversity is a good thing.  Men that respect difference and can see that knowledge is power and lack of knowledge leads to hate.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Almost one year after my divorce......

My divorce was final 7/29/10.........14 months and 1 day after it was officially filed.   If you add up the cost in just financial cost he and I both spent, it was $30,000 dollars wasted.  This doesn't take into affect the entire divorce process.  What A NIGHTMARE, yet so cleansing and rewarding.  In the last 25 months, I have had the roller coaster of emotions.  I have been scared of the unknown, confused as to what to do, happy when I win a little battle, free from the "Hell" I was living in, sad because of all the dreams lost, it goes on and on.  

I have hated him, missed him, loved him and then hated him again.  But really, it isn't even about the Ex.   It's really about me.  So now that it's all over where am I now?   Can you guess?  I am almost exactly were I was before it all started.  


I have given up so much.
I lost stuff.  My house, My car, clothes, furniture, dishes, lamps, lawn mowers, bicycles etc.  That is a really hard thing to do,  by the way.  Imagine going through everything you own and getting rid of everything that you don't need at this very moment.  All my kids baby books, all those sweet memories GONE!   My PROM dress GONE!  My Wedding dress GONE! All REPLACEABLE to some extent.

I lost pride.  I was belittled and demeaned in front of a town of people.  Police came to my house regularly because of petty arguments.  My neighbor gossiped about me to the PTO and other parents in the town.  People who didn't know me from anyone.   People formed opinions about me based on information a bunch of drunken men discussed and passed on.  The wives of these men eventually saw that the man I was divorcing was hurt and making up lies in a drunken angry rage.  One friend said to me, "There is his side, her side and then the TRUTH, which is usually somewhere in between!"  You were right friend.........

I lost innocence.  My children had to lose friends and realize that people they thought were nice really were just playing in the game of life.   My kids asked me, "Mommy, why don't you have any friends anymore?"  And with a smile on my face, and my head held high, I had to say, "Baby, because they think they know the truth about Mommy and Daddy and they don't." Teaching my children the tough lesson in life that no 5 year old should ever have to learn is very hard.    

The losses are great.  But what I gained is greater.
I gained self respect.  Self respect is defined as pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity.   

I never realized I was capable of enduring all the things that happen in a divorce.  I never realized I was strong enough, let alone able of showing my kids that mommy can have people whisper about me in front of me and hold my head high and smile when inside, I was crying.   

The fact that I was so clueless about how to fight fire with fire, makes me realize that I am a good person.  And for that I feel proud!  Proud that I am able to teach my children this hard life lesson and still stand strong.   

I gained perspective,  perspective on life.  I learned acceptance.  I learned until you walk in someone's shoes, you have no idea what they are going through, or how you would handle it if it were you.   I learned not to judge.  I learned what LOVE is, and what friendship is and what Love and Friendship are not!  I learned to hug my babies every chance I get.  I learned to appreciate every moment I have with them.   I also learned to appreciate time I have without them. I learned about people, friends, fake friends, attorney's.  I learned about bullying.  I learned about how to protect from bullying and make sure I am not taken advantage of.  I learned how to fight for what I believe.  I learned that I am a strong woman.  I learned that I can teach my children life lessons by setting an example.  I learned how to treat people and how not to treat people.  

Mostly, I learned that if you have a garden and you tend to it daily, it has great rewards.  But if you do not tend to it daily it fills with weeds and looses it's rewards.  It requires hard work and effort to get it back to were it was before.  BUT the goal is to return it to the state in which it has rewards again.  

I gained freedom.  Freedom is  often taken for granted.  However, when you feel stuck, freedom is the one thing you would give anything for.   Sometimes when that freedom is finally granted, you wonder, "OK, NOW WHAT?"


To those of you that it seems like I am back were I started, Sorry it seemed like a meaningless fight to you.  

To me it was worth it all!  I gained so much personal insight that I would never have.  It has changed how I think forever.  It has made me close to who I was before, but so much better............Did you see all I gained and all the meaningless baggage that I lost?

Life is really about about building character.  And while innocence is lost, character is built.  I have the rest of my life to try to make sure my kids learn a valuable lesson from this and not walk away making the same mistakes in their lives.  

But I am slowly getting my life back.  
I am back where I belong, in TEXAS.  
I am on good terms with my ex which is so, so important for the kids.  
I have learned that I have a passion in my heart for being a mother.  
I have learned that I have PASSION, that is something I totally lost all together.   
I am slowing beginning to become ME again.  Not a person defined by others.  
And really all the things I lost in my marriage I didn't lose because they were taken from me, I lost them because I gave them up.  I lost myself because I allowed people to take from me what was mine.  I stopped standing up for myself.  I stopped caring.  

I stopped weeding my garden.  I became an overgrown mess of weeds.   So many weeds, I just had to mow it down and start all over.   

Now,  I am glad that I am almost back were I started.  This means, where I started wasn't that bad.