Tag Archive | family

Pilgrim ponderings

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view from a boat on the Sea of Galilee

It has been over a month since I returned from my first pilgrimage. Though I’m back into the hectic pace at work and gearing up for another Carnaval season, I like to reflect on my experience often.  Our trip was like none I have ever experienced.

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St. Michael letting it be known. 

I knew I was going to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for some time. However, I kept news of it under wraps because I had personal and spiritual reasons for making the trip.  As I have chronicled in recent years, I have had to deal with certain situations and individuals who brought toxic negativity into my life.While the context was professional, it greatly affected me personally.  Dealing with those people, and one person in particular, made me confront destructive negative behavior daily. It challenged me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Fear and anxiety can paralyze.  I often felt physically unable to speak or to defend myself in the face of this type of energy. I got through these years of challenge through faith, love, commitment to putting my students first. During this time, I made a commitment to show my gratitude by making a pilgrimage. I had the opportunity to spend this past Christmas in Israel and the West Bank.

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Wade in the water…

The places we visited were familiar to me through my faith life. I have sung about them in the mornings during the Liturgy of the Hours.  I have read about them as a lector and taught about them as a catechist. To have them made real and tangible still leaves me speechless. There were so many moments during the trip when I became tearful and quietly cried. I thought tears would come in certain moments but they did not. Tears came when they came.

It was hard to come home. Being on pilgrimage helped make me more mindful.  I realized how compartmentalized, hectic and scheduled my life is. In so many ways, my life here at home is  limited day to day. While on pilgrimage, I had many opportunities to relish every sight, sound, and taste. I was reminded that every experience is a true gift. It was liberating, reassuring, empowering, and inspiring.

20181230_165224.jpgMy pilgrimage was magical, surreal, and beautiful.  I saw the Mediterranean sea, walked by the Jordan River, sailed on the sea of Galilee, and saw all of Jerusalem from Mount Zion.  It put things into perspective to set aside time to get back in touch with what is valuable. It gave me strength. It changed me. It won’t be a trip I will soon forget. I can always call it to mind whenever needed. For that I am grateful.

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Tee reads Living My Life Like It’s Golden. Yes! 

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Mom fails

Mom dilemma #3721:  Your child does not turn in a major project. What do you do? Do you email the teacher for an extension? Do you reprimand your child verbally? Do you take away their privileges? Do you blame yourself for your poor time management and cluttered environment? All of the above? Sometimes I feel like I have this parenting thing down. Other days I realize I don’t have any idea what I’m doing and I’m operating from intuition and hope.

I used to think that it was Mondays, specifically Monday mornings,  where I had my major parent fails. Nope, puede ser any day. During the work week, I deal with parents who ask me for advice about their adolescents. I’ve worked in high schools or 22 years. I have been a mother for 10(I include pregnancy). I have more experience and more damn sense being a high school administrator and teacher than I do being a mom. 

I wonder how much damage I have done. Will she fail academically? Will she end up depressed or anxious? Will she abuse drugs or sex? Will she hate me someday? Does she hate me now? I make the mistakes I advise parents to avoid.  I say things which hurt my daughter’s feelings. These mom fails make us all feel terrible.  

Parenting never gets any easier. But the love for my child gets deeper and more complicated. My little person is growing up into an individual with a mind of her own, a will I don’t want to break and a heart I don’t want to disappoint. I pray to be a better parent daily. I wish to be a good mom. I wish M could understand all the different things that go through my mind, all the fears and doubts. I wish it were simple but it never was and won’t be. I can only hope that the love I feel always guides me.

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Sleepless in San Leandro, the sequel

One night this past fall, I was up for two hours between 2 and 4am. M had told me she had misplaced her Moana TsumTsum.  She did not yet tell me it had been gone for weeks. M, like both of her parents, is a notorious pack rat so she struggles with clutter. I stayed up looking through things, recycling paper, throwing trash out, and adding to our donation bag. I hoped to find it.

I know I could have used that time in a different way. I could have worked; there are always emails to answer, agendas to craft, a newsletter to compose and translate into Spanish.  I could have worked creatively by posting to my blog.  I could have practiced one of my dance routines as there are now occasional gigs with my dance group. While I may know a routine, I can always work on technique and precision. That comes from lots of practice. Given my time management struggles, this does not consistently happen.

While I could have used those two hours differently, I sat and knelt in the dark, going through different drawers and boxes to find the missing toy. In the morning, M said I shouldn’t have wasted my time. When I saw how crestfallen she looked at the thought of not seeing this toy again, I knew she would be happy if it was found. She then told me it had been missing for a long time.  She decided to ask Santa for a new one. During another round of cleaning a month or so later, we found a bag of toys we had stored during the summer.  Moana was there.  We had several good laughs about that late night of cleaning.

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I do a lot for M because I would like her to feel good or better. When M was tiny, we spent hours up at night. We would play. I would chat with her. She didn’t sleep through the night until she was two years old. (Sleepless in San Leandro)I didn’t know what it was like to get several hours of sleep for a few years.  Despite the challenges, it was time well spent.   As a mom, I often question my commitment to dance, writing, and my career because of the time they take from M. Making a difference as an educator and as a writer are important to me. She is the person I want to make the most difference for in this life. M is my reason.

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