Saturday, January 22, 2011

I am a Mummy, and my Head Fell Off


Does anyone ever feel like they’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown as often as I do? I seem to go through a cycle of this every couple of months. That seems to me to be sort of a frequent occurrence.

Life starts going, and going, fast. And I feel like I can’t stop it. I try to do too much. I take on more and more at work, and then, all of a sudden I’m complaining to all in ear shot.

The people who know me (and love me in spite of that) also know that when I get like this, I start shouting out at random at least a few times a day, “For crying out loud, I’m a chicken with my head cut off!”

It usually takes some kind of epiphany to SNAP OUTTA IT!

This time, it is knowing, with even more intensity, how important PEOPLE are and the relationships we keep.

I went to a work conference yesterday about autism. The keynote speaker was Kari Dunn Buron, author of When My Autism Gets Too Big and When My Worries Get Too Big. What remarkable work she has done for children with autism and their families.

Throughout the day, I so enjoyed the videos and case studies of these precious children and adults on the autism spectrum.

I thought of the children at my school and their infectious, charming idiosyncrasies. Their heightened sensitivities, and yes, their behavioral difficulties that make our world all the more interesting and colorful and dynamic and mysterious.

School and education is so much more than reading, writing, math, and science or social studies (if you have the time).

I tell you what, MY social and emotional learning yesterday was beautifully increased. Our CARE for others, our connections and relationships are so much more important than…

…oops there’s another typo on this paperwork…

…well, this child only increased by 150 points on their math test, so that is NOT statistically significant ENOUGH to matter…

…you may only wear jeans on Friday, and you may only wear a collared shirt with khaki pants, and we must all judge and be upset with whoever does not follow these rules…

And all the other bullshit that goes on in schools every day.

What really matters is when…

…I look up from my desk because I can sense that sweet, third grade boy standing there, waiting for me to know he is there.

I smile and say, “Hi!”

He breaks into a goofy grin, awkwardly holds up his hand to wave at me, and in a too-loud larger than life voice says, “Hi, Mrs. Lorenzen!”

Then there is a moment of awkward silence as I wait for what I know is next.

He says, “Well, SEE YOU LATER, ALLIGATOR!”

I say with as much expression possible, “AFTER A WHILE, CROCODILE!”

And he gives a loud guffaw and walks away laughing, like I am the funniest person on Earth.

Or, there was the time that I am walking a different, dear-to-my-heart third grade boy to my office. He is socially still a little immature and is holding my hand as we walk. I am telling him, “I am so sorry I’m a little late to pick you up today! It has been a busy day. I’m like a chicken with my head cut off!”

Just then, we see the school principal walking by. The student is eager to talk to the principal. The student has language expression difficulties. The student says, “Hey! You know Mrs. Lorenzen. She is like, ummm, she is like a, uh, mummy! She is a mummy, and her head fell off!”

The principal looks at me quizzically. I just give him a smile and say, “He (the student) just knows me so well!”

Or, how can I forget ANOTHER wonderful fourth-grade boy that I have the esteemed pleasure to work with. He often tells me affectionately, “You have been with me ALL my years in school!”

“Yup,” I say. “Since preschool!”

“Yeah,” he says with a little smile curling on his lips. “You have never wanted to leave me. You have always liked me.”

“Yes,” I say, “That is true.” (Let me just fill you in on something – this child is a MASTER at testing those around him to see if they will stick by his side or leave him by acting in a…challenging manner.)

We share a comfortable silence for a moment.

Then, with that smile still playing at the edges of his mouth he says, “You look a lot older than you did when I was in preschool.”

“Yes,” I say with a grin, “I sure do.”

Thank you, God, for the reminders I needed to know why I do what I do. When I feel like a chicken with my head cut off, I also need to remind myself that, to these children I work with, I am actually an older-looking mummy who lost her head and loves them to death.

See you later, Alligators!

25 comments:

Finding My Weigh said...

I love this post. I really do. What wonderful stories and moments. When you're feeling crazy again in a couple of months take a minute to come back and re-read this. :)

Shell said...

Aww, at least you love them, even if you have no head. ;)

Theresa said...

I can totally related to the cyclical nature of losing one's shit. I have a total meltdown every few months and then it seems to reset me somehow. Would love to find a way to deal with stress that didnt involve momma freakin out!

Carri said...

What a sweet story! :)

Oddyoddyo13 said...

That's so sweet! I truly loved this post-all that life in those kids!

patresa said...

oh kristy. i like this an awful lot. love this. i'm so happy you're in the schools.

PAMO said...

Oh shucks. Now I'm in tears. Beautiful!
Your impact with these kids is tremendous. I still remember my first, fourth, fifth and sixth grade teachers for their role in my life and I'm 48. It's important stuff you're doing!

Clipped Wings said...

This is such a super post. I enjoyed reading it very much. You are an amazing and very caring person. These children are very fortunate you are in their lives.

SherilinR said...

aw! i'm the mama of one of those kids on the spectrum & i'm thankful for people like you who don't run away when they test & push you to see if you'll still love and stick with them in spite of it.

Ca88andra said...

I loved the stories! Great post.

Ratz said...

This is such a beautiful thing to share Kristy. Thanks for doing it. I enjoyed reading it and feeling and understanding a friction of the experiences you have everyday. I appreciate this.

Mrsblogalot said...

That was beautiful Kristy!

Sometimes we find our heads in the most wonderful faces!!

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Great post -- beautiful, and totally made me smile.

In a while, crocodile....!

Leighann said...

Thank God for people like you in our school systems. You are underpaid and under appreciated.

Mommyfriend Lori said...

You are awesome. Wonderful post, thanks for the reminder and making me smile.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Beautifully written. I am going through a mega grade-A funk right now. This was a good reminder for small blessings.

Anonymous said...

May the sunshine and safe harbor you give others come back to you without end.

Natalie said...

That brought a great big smile to my face! Your story was so sweet :)

Annette said...

These children are so lucky to have you...it makes losing your head worth it, I'm sure, to feel so appreciated! Kids really do say the funniest, most charming things!

Tenille @ Help!Mum said...

Beautiful post Kristy, thank you.

TV's Take said...

Oh I love those stories about the kids, particularly the last one. Only kids can say those things and we think it's cute. Your work sounds amazing and rewarding.

(Florida) Girl said...

I sometimes feel like getting in over one's head is an occupational hazard of being a woman.

Mommy's Sippy Cup said...

I love this post! Wonderful and so true.

I have a habit of thinking it's best for me to stay as busy and consumed with something at all times. Then I go on overload and wonder what the hell I did to myself.

Amy said...

I love this:)

I can only hope and pray that when my son begins school, he will have teachers like you in his corner. Your school is very lucky to have you!

Josh Hoyt said...

Great post. I enjoy reading about your experiences. You do a great job of being there for your students and helping them through the tough times in their lives. I agree that school is so much more than 1+1=2. It is so important for us as people to understand that life is so much more than how to make the next dollar or get the next toy. It is showing others that we care and that they are important and have meaning.