Last night I sat in amazement at the blessings coming my way.
I was in the couch, exhausted. My morning began with an 8 am faculty meeting. I’m usually at school by 8 am every morning, and need that 45 minutes to prep for the day, which meant I started the day behind schedule before it even began. The meeting ended, I ran to the cafeteria to grab my breakfasts for my kids who need to eat at school, then just barely beat the first child to my door. My Teaching assistant was pulled to cover a meeting, which means it was my job alone to feed fourteen children who need breakfast, get the others started on appropriate and meaningful morning work, help everyone unpack, take lunch orders, enter it into the computer, take attendance, check folders for notes, and check the emotional state of every child coming in and hug those who need a better start to their day.
All in twenty five minutes…
While nauseous from chemo and sweating like crazy from induced menopause and detoxing.
For fun, let’s throw in my new assistant superintendent popping in to meet me for the first time in my silver wig.
However, she jumped right in and stayed and helped. That’s the test of a good administrator. She passed with flying colors.
We all went out the garden to show her how amazing our community is with all of the flower and straw bale donations, and we did some breathing and yoga sun salutations. We also saved our scarecrows and brought them in before the big storm. Teaching empathy, even to scarecrows, sets the stage for a good life. She made a video on Twitter about her visit and it was nice to see my morning through someone else’s eyes. Apparently it only feels hectic and crazy on the inside.
Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves.
I grabbed my puppets and did a big puppet show reenacting the three billy goats gruff, we learned how to form the letter b, played a math game with dice and some of my erasers from the target dollar spot, then went to the smoke house.
I’ve been going to visit the riverhead smoke house for over twenty two years, and it’s so important what these volunteers do. They told a story about a little nine year old girl five years ago who saved her family five years ago because of what she learned in the smoke house. As it turns out, the baby from the story? Her baby brother? He is now five years old… and in my class. He got to show the children the article that is framed inside the trailer, and the children got to meet the the brother of a real life superhero… who saved lives at nine years old.
By the time the day ended, my energy bucket was empty again. I ran home, put together dinner in containers and packed it for rob, drove Morgan and Quinn to his office and then picked up Maddie. Rob went to town hall for a ceremony for the riverhead tomcats, of which we received a certificate thanking us for being a host family.
Then he was off to a Latin trip meeting and finally Boy Scouts . He started his day bringing the kids to school early, as Quinn is now in sixth grade orchestra as a fifth grader and has morning practice. If you think I’m busy, poor rob has had to pick up a lot of my slack. He is amazing.
Maddie did her homework while I slept, and then?
Magic happened again.
Riverhead local shared the gofundme link, the spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and Denise Civiletti wrote some amazing things. I had her daughter twenty four years ago in kindergarten. Once you are in my class, you are always in my heart. I’m so lucky to have so many families still in my life.
Then I got an email from Stony Brook, staying that riverhead building supply contacted them and will be making a donation in my name to dr stopeck. I worked at RBS twenty seven years ago or so, and made some amazing friends while I was there. It may have become a huge corporation in the years since, but they still have a small town heart.
My friend who owns Lucharitos has decided that at our school craft fair on Saturday, all proceeds from his taco truck will go to Dr Stopeck as well. So this Saturday… let’s all eat some tacos while supporting my school.
It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year. We have so many amazing class baskets and a chinese auction you just have to see to believe. We have vendors and activities for the whole family. It’s from 10-4, and I’ll be there from 12:00 until I get too tired to stay and volunteer anymore. Come and see me, get a taco, and support my school and my oncologist.
Today is another long day, as I’ve been asked to sit on a committee with some teachers to give input on the bond. I know it’s a hot topic, with lots of passions running high. We live in the age of the 2% tax cap. The bond is the only viable way we will be able to solve this population and space crisis. And believe me, it’s a crisis. People have become very vocal about going around and rounding up people in overcrowded houses and illegal housing. I don’t think people realize that should children be kicked out of housing, they become homeless. Think of the trauma those children will now have. Teaching academics is hard enough, then throw on the emotional and social support services we have to provide. There is also a law called the McKinney vento act, where if a child becomes homeless, the school district still has to educate them and bus them from whatever shelter they are placed in, no matter how far away. Think it’s expensive now, our bus bill? Let’s add transportation from shelters in other towns to the bill.
These are children.
Children who I love.
Teacher hearts are wide open. We don’t say, “I only love you if you’re legal.” Every teacher I know and work with loves each child no … matter… what. We don’t see generic faces or make blanket statements. We see children. Every day. And we love these children, we fight for these children.
We fight for ALL children.
Our jobs have become infinitely harder as we have multiple languages in our rooms now, with poverty at an all time high. We don’t choose who enters our rooms. But we chose this profession, and with it, comes love and compassion… for all.
There has to be a compassionate way to make sure everyone is living in safe environments without the angry mob mentality I am seeing.
It’s making people ugly.
I get it, and I’m a taxpayer.
I’m also a Christian.
Do agree with everything I see on this bond?
Will I speak up?
I’ll add my thoughts on what should be cut out to make it passable in my eyes.
Will I keep the children on my heart and in my words as I ty to help find a way to save our district?
Children are our future.
People have such preconceived notions about children who aren’t the same color or have the same background. Let me tell you, I see the future. Every time I go to the hospital, I’m cared for by people from all backgrounds, all colors, all languages. I look at my little five year olds, and locked away in their tiny hearts and minds just may be the cure for cancer.
Let’s be forward thinkers and move with common sense and compassion.
The beauty shown to me by this town the past month has been overwhelming. I used to hate October and all the pinkwashing. I took it back this year, and the town has stepped up behind me.
We can do great things when we move as one, with a common goal in sight. And at the center should always be kindness.
I’m excited for the second half of the month. Madame swoosh is flying in from France this weekend and I’ll be making an appointment to see her and her daughter. She always seems to show up when I need some energy the most. I’ll be seeing my friend jennifer Williamson at the craft fair as well, as she will have a booth.
Swoosh swoosh swoosh, cancer begone.
It’s three a.m. and I’m hoping to somehow get back to sleep. Until then, I’m praying for my Boy Scout family as they continue to wait for justice for andrew. I dont know how the lawyer and the man who drove drunk and killed a beautiful little boy can sleep at night. I’m covering the family and scouts in my love, every night at three am. Justice for andrew and troop 161 will be coming soon.
I’m praying for my town to find compassion and solutions. The grandstanding and pointing fingers and politics and mob mentality of “round them up and kick them out” needs to stop. Be human.
I am praying for my friend Kelly who had breast reconstruction surgery yesterday from her triple negative surgery. If you’re on Instagram, check out her “talk is cheap” page. My friends Nalie, Stephanie, and Brittney are also in my prayers, as they are attending a release and myofascia retreat and share their information with me.
I’m also praying for you, my friend.
Whoever reads these words, may the Lord bless you and keep you safe, warm, loved and healthy.
May today be full of compassion, kindness, and research breakthroughs.
In Jesus’s name, amen.