Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tomorrow we're headed to Colorado for Thanksgiving. We have reason to be extra thankful this year, as our brand new niece entered the world last Friday. We are excited for a break and to be around family.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Real Life on TV

The other day my mom told me about an episode of "Brothers & Sisters," a show I have never seen. In the episode, one of the characters has a miscarriage, and then a D & C (I had a D & E). I decided to watch it...

The beginning of the show started with the excitement of having just discovered the pregnancy. Because I knew what was going to happen, I kept waiting for the sad event to happen. She went to the OBGYN and had an ultrasound. I felt like in a way I was reliving my own experience, except she had no idea what was about to happen, and I did. The doctor looked at the screen, expecting everything to be fine, and then adjusted the screen, staring at it more closely for a few moments. At this point, the woman sensed something was wrong.

I remember watching the face of my ultrasound technician, laying there at 1:30 in the morning. She looked for an extra amount of time on the screen, while Michael and I both held each others' hands and our breath in anticipation. Deep down we knew the news was bad, especially as we studied her face and saw in her eyes a hopelessness as she spent extra time searching the screen for some sign of life.

The doctor on the show then told the woman, "I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but I can't find a heartbeat." Those were the same words we heard that night, and the memory of it hit me all over again.

Later in the episode the woman admits she can't bring herself to drink a cup of coffee. That would somehow validate the truth that she no longer needs to be aware of what she eats or drinks-I remember going through that same thought process. At the end of the show, after her surgery, the woman said to her mom, "I think I just need to be sad for a while." Only someone who has experienced that kind of loss can understand the true depth of those words.

What I've learned through this whole process is that there are times when I just need to embrace the sadness that washes over me. Sometimes the sadness hits as a direct response to something, like seeing a pregnant woman or a brand new infant or getting an email from a pregnant friend. But sometimes it's a bit more subtle, when it's just a "normal" day, yet somewhere deep down I feel a little empty, like a piece of me is missing.

I've noticed that the sad moments have decreased in frequency, though they still happen. And I think as time moves on, they will continue to decrease in amount though not always in intensity. Part of me knows that these sad moments will never completely disappear, and truthfully, I don't want them to.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Back in the School Environment

Since I started substituting I have been very busy. I've been glad to get called almost every day, and mostly in the same building which is only a few minutes from our apartment. After only a couple weeks, though, I'm already realizing how different this is than having my own room with my own students. I don't have nearly as much of an opportunity to build relationships with students.

The other day I was subbing for a study hall and a student asked to go to his locker. He came back a little while later and reeked of cigarette smoke. He had been working really hard on his math homework. Then he sat talking to a friend telling him how his parents keep making him take drug tests, and he's figured out how to get around them, and how if they find him taking drugs again they are sending him to a rehab/boot camp place in Utah.

And of course, he didn't think I could hear a word he was saying, as all students think teachers, especially substitutes, are deaf. I sat there frustrated, knowing there was no real point in confronting him or doing anything about the fact that I suspected that he was smoking. Not to mention, he could care less. He obviously had bigger problems. The thing that killed me was that if I were his regular teacher, and had built a relationship with him, I would have felt more compelled to do something. He seemed to care a little about homework- he was sitting there working on his math for most of the period.

I don't mind substituting. One of the big perks is that I read all day. Usually I pass out a worksheet for the students to work on, or they watch a movie. Most teachers just make the lesson plans super easy for a sub, so I am more like a glorified babysitter for high school (and occasionally middle school) students.
So, I have read a lot of books. In the past week I've read the following:

Barack Obama's "Audacity of Hope"
"The Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah
"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "For One More Day" both by Mitch Albom
"Child of the Jungle" by Sabine Kuegler