The Day Before Thanksgiving…

You guys, I totally impressed myself on the eve of Thanksgiving 2018. Now, we all know this does not happen often, so naturally, I had to bring it to the blog.

I had a long day at work. We only had a half day, but the kids have some unspoken rule that when we have a half day they are really going to make us work for it. My little friend “Henry” was quite the handful today. I mean behavior wise he was fine and by “fine” I mean typical Henry behavior. However, you know how you get if you drink like five cups of coffee? Well, this was Henry today, minus the coffee. Like I said, there is an unspoken rule between these kids. They know.

Henry was constantly up and down, throwing Ipads, throwing phones, running out the door, running into the parking lot. Constant. I was at my limit about forty-five minutes into the start of my “half day.”

The only reprieve I had was during “circle time.” Our teacher started this new thing and I personally love it. I believe this should be a staple in all classrooms. However, I do not get paid for my unsolicited opinions so we will just keep that between us. Our teacher started allowing the kids to listen to music. Like good music not the ABC’s traditional “kid songs.”

Yesterday, while the teacher was playing the acoustic, the kids got to listen to some old-school Guns N Roses. It was amazing, especially because for me personally I was in my element. The day before that was Mowtown, and today John Denver. The teacher brought up “Take Me Home, Country Roads” on Youtube while strumming the acoustic. Immediately I started singing to Henry ….

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze

Magic happened. Henry calmed down. His eyes got wide and there was a different kind of spark. I grabbed his hands and started dancing with him.

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain mama
Take me home, country roads

He was now focussed on something other than me chasing him out into oblivion. For those three minutes not just Henry, but every student was focussed. Some were watching the teacher play guitar, some were making up their own lyrics. All of us Para’s were singing and to put it frankly, we did not give a shit if we were off key or not.

This is where I am supposed to be.

Now, naturally, the rest of the day was a challenge, but for those three minutes, totally worth it.

Once home, I was beaten. Henry made me work, but he is worth it so that is okay.

My day had only just begun when I got home. I had to run Vinnie to the bank because they locked his card. I had to figure out dinner while cooking a turkey and my first batch of mashed potatoes.

You guys, I do not know how I did it but I did! I did it without the fire department being called, I did it without burning the turkey. I even tried a new “loaded mashed potatoes” recipe…and get this……there are no dirty dishes in my sink. I told you I impressed myself!

Today was a good day, although at times it did not feel it would be a good day.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am so incredibly thankful and blessed. I enjoy my job. I enjoy it more than I thought I ever would, and I would not even have a job if it was not for a Mr. Stewart. Mr. Stewart (whom I usually use an alias for) taught Sofia and was then forced to have me as a parent volunteer. There are not enough words to adequately explain how much of an impact he had on me. And, because I know him too well, he will deny all of this and tell you it was “all me.” No, it was not. Mr.Stewart allowed me in his classroom and taught me. He pushed me outside of my box and was the one person who talked to me about becoming a Para. He allowed me to study in his classroom and on the day of my test encouraged me all the way.

I have said this before and I will continue to say it, Mr. Stewart saw something in me that I was not able to see in myself, and because of that, no other teacher/mentor can ever compare. I learned so much in his room, and now, I am able to take all of that and hopefully teach my new kids. And, I work with a pretty amazing bunch of kids. In a roundabout way, this is my full circle moment.

One adorable non-verbal little girl has started making very loud “grunting” sounds, something she has never done before. Do you know what that is, or at least how it was explained to me? This adorable little girl is finding her voice box. Just like a baby who starts making “sounds” for the first time, this is what this little girl is doing. Give it time and I will have a front row seat to hear her say her first words.

These are the moments, outside of my own home that I am thankful for.

The other day I had a meeting with my VP. Although I cannot get into the logistics, she said to me “Jennifer, we want you here. Not many people want to do Functional Core. The kids love you, we do not want to lose you.”

The only thing I could think of was “Who would not want to do Functional Core? This is life-changing stuff?”

Well, their loss is my gain.

In closing, I want to add, if any of you guys reading this ever have an opportunity to volunteer in a Functional Core classroom, do it. Just do it. It will be one of the hardest things you have ever done, you will come home and cry, you will doubt everything you have ever known, you will tell yourself you are not cut out for this, then, one day out of the blue, magic will happen and you will see, it was all worth it.


One thought on “The Day Before Thanksgiving…

  1. So happy to read this blog! Thanks for sharing and doing what you do. I agree, that must are probably not “cut out” for it. Thanks to Mr. Stewart for seeing what he did in you.
    This is a great read to start Thanksgiving Day.

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