Monday, April 18, 2011

More Signs

Two more universal signs slapped me in the face this week.  I didn't think it needed to be so jarring, but I don't control these things.  The universe has its own way of getting our attention.

My first sign occurred in the medical field.  A nurse called to tell me I needed a follow up mammogram;  there was a spot on my previous one taken two days ago.  Luckily, the appointment was the following day.  After the digital mammogram, the doctor determined that the spot was still visible and ordered an ultrasound.  With knees buckled, I braced for the worst.  My husband's mother died of breast cancer 23 years ago after fighting it for over 8 years.  She was only 44 years old.  I turn 44 next month.  Life is short.  Her life was shorter than most.  The older I get, the younger she gets.  Even though I was only dating my husband when she died, I helped her as best I could through it all.  I saw her battle again and again only to lose in the end.  I know there is so much more that can be done today for treating breast cancer, but I did not want to think about it.  The weight of what this could mean to me and my family made me feel 100.  One hour later, I was free as a bird!  The ultrasound showed a fluid filled cyst.  "Nothing to be concerned about... See you in a year!"  Wow! Life can change on a dime!  The message I took from this tiny scare: Carpe Diem!

our neglected children
My second sign came when my daughter asked me to play a game with her and I automatically said no.  I didn't even consider it.  I had so many papers to grade and forms to fill out for 101 students that I didn't even think about taking a break to play with my rapidly growing eight year old.  As she walked away, I could hear "The Cat's in the Cradle" playing on the radio in my head.  I actually liked that song when I was a kid.  Not a favorite now.  I am missing out on my kids' childhoods.  When I thought about it I realized I spend more time with other people's kids than my own.

Our family is stretched to the max timewise and working what feels like two fulltime jobs makes me as stressed as can be.  We have dreamed of taking this family sabbatical to get healthy mentally and physically, socially and emotionally.  I want to take a career break and try my hand at writing curriculum...

Am I asking for too much, Universe?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I believe signs are everywhere. If you know where and when to look. That's a big IF! I think signs have been showing me things all my life, but most of the time I was looking in the wrong place. Well, I'm paying attention now.

In my first post on this blog, I wrote my true feelings down for the first time without flinching. I made the decision not to return to teaching next year and instead, pursue my other career dreams and fulfill our family's dream of traveling for a year at the same time. I wrote it in almost a stream of consciousness not really thinking about what I was saying. Immediately, I felt lighter...relieved. That's when the signs appeared.

The next day, I awoke and felt recharged. I was fired up enough to finish my writing project! It was the accomplishment I needed to confirm I could tackle my new career choice: writing curriculum for gifted education with which I have worked since 1998. I signed a publishing contract in February for my first project, but hadn't finished writing it. I was filled with doubt, but after deciding to commit to really doing this for a living- I finished!

That same afternoon, still high from the closure of the book, I received an email asking me to speak about my book's curriculum at the National Association for Gifted Children's national convention in New Orleans! How's that for affirmation! I'm suddenly feeling not so irresponsible after all!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Time to Poop or get off the Pot!

To "clean" up my grandmother's favorite phrase, it is April and teaching contracts will be out any day now.  We have been talking about taking a sabbatical year off from our regular jobs for five years.  Yes, we know it is a mid-life crisis.  Yes, we know the economy has changed dramatically in the past five years.  What seemed totally resonable five years ago seems down right insane today.  Yes, we know.  We're doing it anyway.  We have been running the middle class American marathon for over 15 years and we need a break! 

We have made the pros and cons list.  Both sides are long.  Pro- We get lots of time with the kids. Con- We get lots of time with the kids.  You see how the list goes...  Our lists are like Newton's Third Law: For every Pro there is an opposite and equal Con.  That is why it is time do what Mama Ruby always said (see title of post.)  We need to do it or shut up about it.  I am not signing my teaching contract for next year. 

Oh, God!  Did I just say that?