Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
the kids started school today. Ciarra is in 4th grade. Her new teacher was kind enough to spend a few hours with me this summer, asking good questions, wondering how to best teach Ciarra. I worry every year, but I wont worry that this woman will care about her...that is obvious. I was at work at noon when I got this email:
Just testing to see if this works. It's 10;15 and Ciarra is off to a
great day and a great year. She seems happy and is working hard. All is
"All is well." That was music to my ears. How kind of her to take the time to reassure me. And so she did.
Jesse is in 8th grade, and he did just fine, too. Football after school, homework, and a little Xbox Live, he just went to bed. From the sounds of things, he did ok, too.
4th grader/8th grader,college kid...my babies are growing up.
Oh yeah, in Ciarra's communication notebook was a letter, it said:
Ciarra's first day of school as a 4th grader: She is off to a fantastic start! Seems happy, and worked hard on a word search with the rest of the class. I asked if she wanted a partner, and she said she was "all set" alone.
We are busy going over rules and schedules. Her specialist schedule is in the front of her assignment book.
12:30 Lunch/Recess all went well. What a lovely young lady! It's going to be a great year. Her homework for today is to read for 30 minutes, or she can work on her Clicker 5 program instead, I know how she loves that. Have a nice evening!
As a parent of a kid with special needs, we are prone to worry more, I think. will they be liked? Will the teacher want to teach them? Will they see who she really is, and work hard to bring out her potential?
I think the answer is a resounding yes. Of course, I reserve the right to panic once in awhile, but already I know...yes, she wants her there, yes she likes her, and yes...she can and will find every bit of potential in my amazing little girl. Breathe, mom.
(I have misplaced my camera...not sure how...but...will post first day pics later...I hope.)
The parents and coaches of a 13-year-old Waldwick boy who died during football practice were at a loss today to explain why the seemingly healthy athlete collapsed while running drills on a mild summer night.
“There were no signs of this whatsoever,” the boy’s father, James Fisher, said in an interview in the family’s home. “He was strong.”
“Yesterday was his birthday, yesterday he was 13,” said the father, who could not hold back the tears as he spoke. “We had gotten gifts.”
Sean Fisher had been practicing with other 7th and 8-graders in the Waldwick Junior Football Association Monday night when he fell to the ground, said Ray Jimenez, a coach and the league’s president.
“He just dropped,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez ran for a phone to call in the emergency while the father of another player – an emergency medical technician – came down from the bleachers to perform CPR. Jimenez then raced to his car to find the health form that Fisher’s parents had submitted when the teen signed up to play with the league for the first time this summer.
“I wanted to see if there was any medical condition listed on the form, but there wasn’t,” Jimenez said.
“He was very loving," Shelia Fisher said. "He was really coming into his personality.” When Sheila Fisher got the call about her son, she was at home making cupcakes for the celebration they’d planned for Sean’s birthday last night. They raced to the field, where paramedics were using a defibrillator to try to revive their son.
“When we got there, they were working on him,” Sean’s father said.
James Fisher said his son was pale and wasn’t moving. The couple followed their son’s ambulance in a police car as he was rushed to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, where he was pronounced dead.
My son is 12, and he will turn 13 in a few weeks. He is strong, funny, engaging, brilliantly intelligent. He is my heart.
Tonight, he starts practicing in full pads. I heard this on the radio yesterday, on the way to football practice. I just read the story and saw this young man's face...and the awful, anguished faces of his parents...today. I can imagine so clearly how they feel, their pain, but I dont want to imagine it too much. It is too close to home for me. This boy of mine loves this game, he has eaten slept and breathed football since he was 3 years old. And he is good at it.
How can you not feel a connection, not absolutely ache for that mom, when everyday we make the same trek to the football field? I am sending a prayer today to this family, and for all of the little boys I watch every afternoon, dreaming huge dreams and trying to push themselves ever harder. God, please keep my boy safe, I just could not stand to lose another son. And God, please send that grieving mother the peace and comfort of your presence.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Jim and I decided yesterday to take off for the day and go do "Maine stuff" with the kids. Unfortunately, Kristin had to work. Jesse really didnt want to go at first, he (and I) have bad colds and he just wanted to stay home. In the end, he decided making Mom happy was a good thing. So we headed to Belfast. Jim has been wanting to check out Reny's dept store, and so we did.
He was able to buy quite a few things for his "Man Room", which is what we call the new space he has built for himself in the garage.
He closed half of our 2 car garage off and finished it all in pine and real trees, built a bar, and hung all of his deer mounts and stuff down there. We are waiting for the furniture to arrive, and then we will get him a big screen TV.
We had a birthday party for him Friday night, big gang of friends, and most of them brought MAN ROOM presents, so he is well on his way. The party was a blast. I am SO grateful to Kristin, Andrea, Ciarra and Jesse for the help they were getting the room ready and cleaned. Kristin (and Ciarra heeeheee) decorated the whole room, it was a HUGE load off my shoulders.
So, we did Reny's, then we hit a flea market. In Maine, every weekend they have flea markets near here, and mostly it is just STUFF, a lot of other people's junk, mostly the kind of junk you would find at a bad yardsale. But some treasures, too. He happened to find some old posters and ads for hunting/fishing/guns, and they were perfect for his room.
Next, we headed to Moose Point State park, where we played on the rocky beach for awhile.
The kids and Jim looked for shells in the rocks, Ciarra came home with a little pile.
It was actually pretty chilly there, and no place to swim,
so we headed to our next stop...Crosbys!
Crosbys is a really neat little summer lunch place that sells seafood in a little shack, with picnic tables under a gazebo and a small play area.
Ciarra got to swing for a bit while our food was prepared.
We go a few times every summer, the food is delicious! The kids had chicken fingers, Jim had a huge lobster roll, and I had a haddock basket..yum!
After ice creams,we headed back into Bucksport, to visit the new observatory over the bridge at Fort Knox, officially called the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.
The Penobscot Bridge site also is home to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, the first bridge observation tower in the United States and the tallest public bridge observatory in the world. The tower reaches 420 feet (128 m) into the air and allows visitors to view the bridge, the nearby Fort Knox State Historic Site and the Penobscot River and Bay.
The old bridge (The Waldo-Hancock Bridge) was a very narrow 2 lane bridge, with chunks of concrete falling out and plywood reinforcers, it always felt high, but in reality it wasnt. It was RICKETY, driving across it in a stuff wind could be very much like a rollercoaster ride. The state put in a new bridge last year, and it is HUGE by comparison!
The Penobscot Narrows Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge over the Penobscot River near Bucksport, Maine. It replaces the Waldo-Hancock Bridge, built in 1931. The new bridge is 2,120 feet (646 m) long. It is one of two bridges in the U.S. constructed recently to utilize a cradle system that carries the strands within the stays from bridge deck to bridge deck, as a continuous element, eliminating anchorages in the pylons. Each epoxy-coated steel strand is carried inside the cradle in a one-inch steel tube. Each strand acts independently, allowing for removal, inspection and replacement of individual strands. The cable-stay system was designed with a system that uses pressurized nitrogen gas to defend against corrosion. Additionally, in June of 2007, six reference strands within three stays were replaced with carbon fiber strands - a first in the U.S. Monitoring on the strands will evaluate this material for future use in bridge designs. These engineering innovations helped the bridge appear in the December 2006 edition of Popular Science as one of the 100 best innovations of the year. The total project cost was $85 million. The bridge was designed as an emergency replacement for the Waldo-Hancock Bridge and from conception to completion, just 42 months elapsed. A unique project delivery method, referred to as 'owner facilitated design/build' partnered Maine DOT with FIGG as the designer and Cianbro/Reed & Reed LLC as the contractor.
From the top, you can see just about everywhere, even Cadillac Mountain! It is a little nerve-wracking, you are in effect inside a glass room 42 stories high, and you can see straight down. The old bridge is dwarfed by this thing. You can see the Bucksport paper mill,
Fort Knox (we skipped the Fort today, but it is an awesome old fort!) and the very New England town of Bucksport. The kids loved it, and Jim did too.
I am a little scared of heights, but I kinda enjoyed it too...if I didnt look down too much!
By the way! This place is fully handicapped-accessible! It has every feature of Universal Design you could imagine, including a wheelchair elevator shaft! Neat!
Arent they sweet together? I just adore these guys.
We had a really busy, fun weekend. The kids start back to school Wed, and I am going to really miss the time with them, even if all we do is hang out. Sometimes, I really want to homeschool. :(
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
when I was in 3rd grade, my best friend was a little strawberry blond girl named Sherry Hobbs, freckle-faced and cute. I loved her so much, she and I danced and laughed and played for endless hours on the Air Force base our Dads were stationed at. I learned really young that friendships change, when you are a military kid, you get used to saying goodbye. It doesnt hurt less, you just get better at it. I was not good at it yet when she left. She spent the last few nights before she left with us, my Mom made the days special, it has always been something I am grateful for, the care she put into that goodbye. Sherry and I said our goodbyes, and she climbed into the back of an old station wagon, then turned and looked out the window, her tears matching my own. I waved goodbye until I couldnt see her anymore, then tried to hide the tears that streaked my face. We wrote some letters, but we were little, and soon the distance between us ate up even those. I learned to be more cautious with my heart, to give it less easily, and to hold something back with every new friend thereafter. I dont think I was cut out to be a military kid, the goodbyes were so routine, and so painful for me.
Fast forward 20 years, I am 27. I am a Brownie Girl Scout leader, and my new co-leader is a gregarious, hysterically funny single mom named Wendy. We hit it off in a way I usually dont allow myself, opening my heart completely, fully, for one of the few times in my life. Soon we are best friends. Our kids are best friends, and we add to the group several times between those early years and now.
Now, I am 40. Wendy is married, and struggling to make ends meet, especially with the price of oil and 7 months of winter in Maine. She and her dh decide to move away to Florida, where he has family. New jobs, new faces, less bills. They plan and plan, pray and worry, and finally it is time to go. I gather up my kids, and we drive to the airport to say our goodbyes.
If it was anyone else, I could do this without crying. But as I watch them get ready to go away, taking this woman who could be my sister away, taking away the little boy that has lit our hearts for 4 years now, my heart aches. The tears come, and I cannot stop them. She hugs me and says goodbye, hugs each of my kids. And my own 12 yr old son, who so adores her little boy, is standing there with tears in his eyes. And I think of my mother and how strong she was for me, how she made it ok, even when it wasnt. And I suck it up, stand tall, say goodbye. The kids head out to the car and I stand alone, watching the plane take off, carrying away one of the best friends I will ever have. And I am a little girl again, the ache in my heart just as strong, the tears just as hot on my cheeks. This time, I will never stop writing, calling, being here.