11 November 2010

Thank you

Today is Veterans' Day.  I want to take a moment to say thank you. 

Thank you to all the veterans who have served and sacrificed and worked long hours in awful places, so that I can sit comfortably in my house and watch my children play safely in my front yard.  Even though that wasn't the reason you did what you did, that's the result and for that I'm grateful.  You may not consider yourself a hero, but I do. 

Thank you to the families of veterans who have given up so much precious time with their fathers, husbands, daughters, sisters, wives, sons, and brothers, spent long hours on your knees in church or by your bedside, praying for the safe return of your loved ones, and waited by the phone or computer for the phone calls and emails that come as often as they can but are never quite enough.

Thank you to the kids who are this very moment packing for basic training, the kids who, in spite of the reservations their families and friends must have given the state of the world we're living in, are answering their nation's call.  Thank you to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines you will all become in a few short months. 

Thank you to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for the United States.  "Thank you" isn't even nearly enough...your loss will be felt forever and there is nothing that can give enough comfort to a mother or father, wife or husband, son or daughter who has said goodbye for the last time. 

This morning, I spent some time at my kids' school helping put on a Veterans' Day presentation.  Along with several other moms, I gave some of my time to help the kids learn about what a veteran does, and why it's important to say "Thank You."  I don't know a single vet (and I know a fair amount) who really wants to be made a huge deal over.   I don't know many who would call themselves a "hero."  Most would say, "I was just doing my job."  No one expects or even really wants the ticker tape parades and all the hoopla.  But it sure is nice when someone says, "Thank you for what you do." 

I think of one the most important things we can do is to teach our children about the value of service, of giving something back, of contributing to something bigger than yourself.  Our children are not only our own futures, but the future of this country.  Saying "Thank you" takes no time at all, and it doesn't cost anything at all, but the dividends are tremendous. 

So for this one day, no politics, no points to be made, no agendas.  Just....thank you. 

04 November 2010

Seriously, is it worth it?

Good Lord.  I'm posting maybe twice a month lately, and it's because of school.  It feels like I have zero time for anything besides school.  These are my last two quarters, and it is HARD.  I finally reached the place where all my man-cubs are in their own school all day, and I thought I'd have time.  More time.  I have one afternoon and two whole days a week off from school, and silly me, I thought that would be, you know, free time.  Heh. 

I cannot adequately express how many pages of reading (and subsequently, writing) I am required to do every week for three history classes.  Hundreds of pages every day.  Literally.  Not only do I have to read them all, I have to analyze them in the context of the geopolitical situation, AND remember it all well enough to discuss it intelligently the next day, or the day after that.  Maybe I'm not cut out for college after all.  Oy vey. 

In one of my classes, we received a sound scolding today for not doing the reading.  The professor did not raise her voice or call us names, but she made her disappointment perfectly clear.  She sent us home to read, with the promise of a quiz at our next class meeting.  On top of the quiz we were already having.  When she said, 'you need to go home and read' and dismissed us a half hour early, I felt like I'd been naughty, and sent to bed without dinner.  But I was grateful all the same, to get out of 30 minutes of class time.

I know it's ridiculous to even entertain the idea of quitting school.  I'm less than two quarters from my degree.  But right now, I'm wondering if it's worth it.  I'm giving up a lot of time with my family, a lot of sleep, and my stress level is through the roof.  I told Captain America the other day, "I've come to a realization and I don't like it, but it is what it is.  I am useless to this family until the end of March, when winter quarter is over and I will be finished taking undergrad classes.  Useless."  He is totally supportive and awesome but I hate this not being present at home business.  I'm here but I'm not.  And when I am here, I'm busy writing for my freelance gig (deadline Monday!) or organizing a Veterans' Day event at the kids' school (which I do NOT begrudge and I do enjoy, it's just a lot of work).

And here's the really crazy part....I'm considering (or at least, I was till this quarter) grad school.  I think maybe it's this one professor and her class that has me feeling so bad.  She barrels through lectures, she's kind of soft spoken and I'm hearing-challenged, AND she clicks through her power points so fast, I can barely read them, let alone process and/or write down notes.  She has high expectations and I am just not meeting them.  She keeps saying things like, 'this is a 500-level class so we have to up the ante...' but my 600-level professor is perfectly happy keeping things a little more relaxed.  I'm learning just as much, if not more, from him, but he's not tightening the screws every time the class meets.

But in spite of feeling so maxed out, today was really a good day.  I was afraid that, due to overnight guests in my bed keeping me awake till all hours, it was going to be a rough one but it's a funny thing....I said a little prayer and asked for help to get through my day (Captain America is somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying a nice walk in the sunshine and sleeping in, by himself.  Not that I'm jealous) and I did.  The boys sailed through getting ready for school and were even ready to go 5 minutes before I asked them to be.  No muss, no fuss.  This doesn't happen on the days I don't take the time to ask God for help. 

Note to self....maybe you should think about asking for help every day, not just the crappy ones.  Hmm. 

So, I'll be going to morning prayer with the boys at school tomorrow.  To remind myself that it's ok, and necessary to ask for help. And also because the middle man-cub is participating in a skit.  Dressed like George Washington.  White wig and all.  I sense a photo op.