Middle School Graduation

Me pointing to my 8th grade graduation photo.

This Saturday, I had the privilege to attend the dedication of a Science Lab at my old middle school. My former science teacher, Mr. Lis, was the honoree. I graduated from S.E. Gross twenty five years ago. I really enjoyed my middle school years. I had good friends and even better teachers that truly cared. It was especially neat for me to return there with my daughters and husband and share in this event with them.

Mr. Lis was simply one of those teachers you don’t forget. He was funny but you didn’t mess with him. He made science fun and not intimidating. He broke it down for you and earnestly wanted you to learn the materials. I think because he combined humor with thoughtfulness and grace is all the more reason he was honored on Saturday.

Since he taught for close to forty years (!) in the same building, he had many generations of students attend this event. He had many stand up during the presentation and share how Mr. Lis had touched their lives and was not forgotten. Isn’t that what we all want but especially in a profession such as teaching?

I was especially glad that this event happened while Mr. Lis is still with us. So many times we remember to honor those with a dedication such as this one after the honoree has passed. Although that is still all said and good, it is still lacking the person being there in person, receiving the homage that they so rightfully deserve.

To Mr. Lis: Thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your patience to teach middle schoolers for so many years. Thank you for your humor in phrases like “hurry up and take your time” when we would take tests.

I thank God for the blessing that is you.

Holding Hands

I remember when I was about 10 or 12 and we were visiting my grandparents that lived in Southern Illinois.  We didn’t get to see them all that much because we lived in the Chicago suburbs.  We usually went there, though, during the summer for one of the many annual picnics that their little town held.  While we were at the picnic, my Granny held my hand as we walked around the park.  I distinctly remembering telling my older sister that “Granny wanted to hold my hand” and that I thought that was weird since I was clearly too old to have my hand held.  My sister replied that Granny just misses us and was showing her love through holding my hand.  I don’t know why this memory has stuck, but there it is.

C is still at the age where she needs to hold my hand.  Sometimes she doesn’t want to and so then I have to carry her, but for the most part she will reach out and take my hand.  She will do this especially when she is walking down stairs or needs assistance with something.  Miss M is now seven.  She is getting closer to the age that I was in the memory described above.  Nevertheless, when she gets out of school, she still reaches for my hand as we walk to the car.  This small act never fails to make me smile.  In the back of my mind I know that her wanting to do so will soon come to an end.  I don’t know why but it saddens me in however a small way.  Don’t get me wrong, I want my kids to grow up and fly out of the nest, if you will.  It is just that I can see what is on the horizon and I would like it to just slow down for a bit.

Perhaps this is what Granny was doing as well as she reached for my hand on that summer day.  I can only pray that she will continue to “hold” my girls hands as they navigate through life.  I know she is certainly still holding mine.

NewYearsEve Then and Now

A long, long time ago (1996), I became engaged on this date (to be more accurate, actually on the 1st)  to the man that would eventually become my husband.  Here’s the story of how I became engaged.  We went to our friends’ apartment in lovely Oak Park, Illinois for a New Years Eve party.   As we entered the party, we found out that those same friends had become engaged over Christmas.  The party went on, drinks were consumed, dancing was initiated and soon it was time for the New Years Countdown.  After we hit one and kissing and hugs commenced, my love shows me a box.  I then promptly told him to “put that back into your pocket!”  Nice, huh?  It wasn’t like I didn’t want him to propose…more like I didn’t want him to propose in front of the drunken audience.  So I then told him that we should go outside (in the cold!) and he could try again, if you will.  So out in the freezing cold, he proposed.  I think there were even people out there but they didn’t pay any attention to us.  He started to get down on one knee and I told him he didn’t need to do that!  I said “Yes!” (of course).  We then went back inside and told the good news to our friends.  They were a bit shocked, but also happy and excited for us.  

But today…how do we celebrate the coming of the new year?  By doing this:

But wait… you must see what fine vintage we are consuming..

That’s right …Welch’s of the Sparkling Grape Juice variety of “wines.”  At 8 pm we had a toast to “Poop!” Can you guess who the third glass belonged to and who thought of the toast?   Miss M!
Here’s to a 2011 that is all that you need it to be and more. And also, Poop!
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