1. Having to dress shop at the mall on Monday for 2+ hours because your daughter “needs a new dress because every girl in my class is wearing one on Wednesday”. She will have to check every single “cool” store first, before actually finding a dress in the store you suggested in the first place. You will also have to make the requisite stop at Starbucks for some type of Strawberry concoction. She will be mad at you because you will not let her get a coffee because she is 12, and you don’t see how a 12 year old needs coffee. She will let the cat out of the bag that she orders coffee when she goes to the mall with her friends, and then stare at the floor. She will give the barista a fake name when she orders her drink, and when you ask her why she did that, she will reply in a whispered tone “Mommm. It’s not cool to give them your real name! Everyone knows that!” She will grin like a champ when they yell her fake name when her drink is ready for pick-up.(For the record, you are the only people in the store, and they still yell.) She will get in the car and take the perfect selfie of her and her Starbucks drink with her fake name prominently displayed and will post it to Instagram. She will spend the drive home telling you how many “likes” she got on that one.
2. Having to leave work yesterday for 20 minutes to run home and drive your daughter to school because someone (Mom) accidentally put the dryer setting on low and the yoga pants she HAS TO wear to gym did not dry in time for school. She will text you at work 7 minutes before the bus is coming to let you know this. No, she cannot wear something else to school! Your daughter will beg and plead to stay home, but that isn’t happening. When you are driving her to school you will hear all about how she has now missed gym but is wearing the yoga pants anyway because that was her chosen outfit for school and she knows you would have been mad if you got home and she didn’t have them on. (She is correct on that one!) Also, she will tell you that because of the dryer mishap this is her first time being tardy in 7 years of school. The streak is broken and she will be upset about it. (Tardiness is a catastrophe that you are unaware of), and now because it is after 9:00, she will not be able to sit with her class at the assembly that is occurring, because she is tardy for that too. All of this will be your fault. You will drive back to work thinking about the million times she has made you tardy for work over the past 7 years. At 3:20 pm, she will come home smiling and say that she was glad she didn’t stay home because she had a great day, but will still be upset at the tardiness marring her permanent record. She will then grab a snack and go up to her room to blast music and scan Instagram for anything she has missed in the last 6 hours, as well as to see if there are anymore likes on her Starbucks selfie.
3. Having to get out of your pj’s on your sick day (there’s no such thing for a Mom) because you HAVE TO drive a very specific outfit over to your daughter’s school (after a series of panicked laden texts, which she is doing while hiding face first in her locker, because phones at school are a bigger no-no than tardiness) because the dress that you spent two hours shopping for, and that she looks so beautiful in is ITCHY…VERY, VERY ITCHY and she “can’t take it for another minute”. When you get there, the secretary will want to know how you know your daughter needs a new outfit if she isn’t in the nurse’s office because they’re not supposed to have phones in school. You will reply that your daughter is 12, 12 is a fun age, and you are part psychic with a $hit-eating grin on your ugly, sick face. The secretary will look less than amused at your answer and will make “the face” at the other secretary who is sitting there listening to your conversation. You will then stand there awkwardly pretending to read the bulletins hanging on the wall while you wait for your daughter in the itchy dress to make her way down to the office. It will feel like an hour, but probably will only be about a 3 minute wait.
4. Your daughter will finally come down to the office to get her specified clothes and will actually give you an unexpected heartfelt thank you for bringing that in, will hug your arm, and tell you that she hopes you get some rest…and you won’t be annoyed anymore. In fact, you will smile as you drive back home.
Yes, that’s what having a daughter is like. (God bless my friends that have more than one!)
Hello Everyone. Normally this blog pokes fun at things, but not today. Right now, nothing is funny. I have a feeling this will be a fairly long blog post, but I hope you will read it to the end, because I need to get it out.
I live on the Jersey Shore. To be more specific, I live on the mainland in Ocean County, smack-dab in between Seaside Heights and Long Beach Island…two areas that have been completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. My town has been devastated on the bay front areas, and torn apart in the inland parts of our beautiful town too.
I was very fortunate, and although I am not the most religious person, I have been thanking God for days for sparing me and my family. I live a few blocks from the water, and by what I think is a miracle, the tidal flood stopped about a block from my house. A huge tree fell outside of my house into the street, snapping poles in half like wafers, and pulling lines down everywhere. Miraculously, my house was completely unscathed. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I do know that we were incredibly lucky.
For those of you reading this who are not from New Jersey, I know you have seen the pictures on the news of the destruction here. I’m sure you cringe or just stare at them in disbelief. You can multiply that feeling by a million, for those of us who live here and grew up frequenting the beaches and boardwalks, or spending lazy days on the Barnegat Bay on our boats see it in magnification. We stare at the destruction and envision our childhoods, our liveliness, and everything we have ever known, knowing what it used to look like, in comparison to now.
I am a teacher at the high school that the students of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, as well as other destroyed waterfront communities attend. Some of my friends, my co-workers, and my students have lost everything. When we go back to school, my job will be a thousand times harder than it ever was. Algebra suddenly becomes highly unimportant. Letting them come in and talk it out will be the education they will receive, because it is what they will need most. I keep trying to figure out what I will even say to them. What can I say to a teenager who has lost everything? I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is that I will have the strength to give them whatever support they need when they walk into my classroom, starting with big, tight hugs, mixed with tears. I will hide my broken heart. Theirs is broken more than mine.
My power was restored last night, and I have never been so thankful for electricity in my life. Unfortunately, my neighbors here and so many others in my town and the surrounding areas are still living in darkness. I felt a twinge of guilt flipping on the coffee maker this morning, knowing others wish that’s how their day was starting today. I cried (again) when I put my steaming cup of coffee on the counter and stared at it, because the tiniest things now bring big emotions with them.
I will probably never feel the same about complete darkness. I will never forget what it felt like to stare into that darkness in the height of the storm, literally wrapped around my daughter on the living room floor and praying for safety as the storm came whipping through. The sound of the lashing winds is something I hope you never know, and it is something I will never forget.
My husband is a police officer here. He was out in that storm, and has been out every night since, working to help and protect the people of this ravaged town. I had no way to contact him during the storm because everyone’s cell phones failed, and words cannot describe the terror I felt inside about that. How would he know if we needed him? How would I know that he was alright? I never want to know that feeling again.
Speaking of cell phones, we all learned quickly here just how dependent we are on them, as well as what it’s like to pray for bars to be on the screen. Service was incredibly sporadic, and getting a text or hearing someone’s voice for a second was like getting the Christmas present you wished for as a child. At least you knew others were alright, even if just for a mere second, but then it would go dead again, and your stomach would knot right back up. I will say that the amount of people that care about you becomes quickly apparent, and sometimes from places that you wouldn’t expect. I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life that love me.
Facebook, when I could finally get it on my phone yesterday, has been an amazing tool. I was able to see that my friends were “ok” (a term I use very loosely right now), and I was able to get my first look at the damage here via pictures. I thought I knew what I would see because I had listened to the radio in my car for days, but there was no preparing myself for that in actuality. I stared in disbelief, and then sobbed looking at those pictures. It was beyond the realm of my imagination, and truthfully it still is. Our beloved Jersey Shore was demolished. Seeing it with my own eyes made the nightmare a fact, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. We all say the same thing here, after we get our first look at the pictures for ourselves. (BTW, if you are on Facebook, please like the following page: Jersey Shore Hurricane News. It has been in existence since Hurricane Irene came through last year, and is absolutely amazing. The guys that run this do it for free and are like heroes to all of us. We all use it here for information year round, and it will give you the reality of what it is to be here, more than I ever could. It also has great information about making donations to those who need it most. Just be careful to read thoroughly and use some common sense.)
I could continue to go on about what I experienced, but I won’t. My personal experiences are nothing compared to those around me here. Really what I want you to know most is this:
We live at the Jersey Shore, but we are nothing like “The Jersey Shore” that you see on MTV. We are people that are kind, yet as tough as nails! We are people who always stand together as one in the face of adversity. We huddle up like no others can, and take care of each other. Despite the fact that there are reports of looting and crime, that’s NOT who 99% of us are. We are people who will help one another in a time of need, without exception. Even with our own lives in tatters, we are people who help our neighbors. There is no “I” in team, and we all know it. We are standing amid destruction right now, but we see can see past it. We might currently be knocked down, but we are people that always get back up. We will rebuild this area and our lives. We will never forget what Sandy has done to us, but we will come out of this on the other side, better than ever and as one. Believe it.
We are JERSEY STRONG.
Can’t. My least favorite word. I ban the word both in my classroom and in my life. I prefer “I just haven’t yet!”, because that is the truth! Sometimes a task may seem arduous, but when you put can’t in front of the task, you might as well just say you won’t because that will be the end result! Can’t is a mindset, pure and simple.
This morning I heard about Claire Lomas, and her story brought tears to my eyes. Claire was paralyzed from the chest down as a result of a horse riding accident five years ago. Two days ago, she completed the London Marathon in a Bionic Suit, when she crossed the finish line 16 days after the race started. The ReWalk suit, enables people with lower-limb paralysis to stand, walk and climb stairs through motion sensors and an onboard computer system. By shifting her balance, the suit mimics the response her joints would have if they were not paralyzed. She walked 2 miles a day being cheered on by her husband and 13 month old daughter who toddled beside her.
Claire will not appear in the official results and did not receive a medal when she finished as competitors have to complete the course on the day of the race to receive one…but that’s alright because what she did receive was much better…There were hundreds of people that showed up at the finish line to cheer her through the tape, and over a dozen runners gave their medals to her in tribute to what she had accomplished. She also raised $111,346.86 for a charity which funds research to develop treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck.
When asked about her training she said “There were times when I questioned if I would make it when I was training. Once I started , I just took each day as it came and every step got me a step closer.”.
Did you notice that she never said can’t? I did!
Claire Lomas is my new hero. She did something truly amazing…because she could!
Maybe the next time you feel the need to say that you can’t, you should remember Claire Lomas.
So, how will you challenge yourself today?
***PS – There is now a Facebook page called “Claire Lomas. Give Her a Medal”. Please go “like” it. The organizers of the London Marathon really need to reconsider!!!