The Day After Graduation or Oh Crap Day

Welcome to the day after Graduation or as it is affectionately called at my house, “Oh Crap day”.  It’s the day every parent sits back, kicks their feet up, and then looks around and thinks, “Oh Crap”.

That little baby that you brought home 18 years ago is about to walk out into the world and try to make it as an adult.

Many kids take the fast pass. They turn the tassel, shake a hand and head to their job on Monday.  Most of the time, the same one they’ve been working all year. Maybe it’s not their career job, but it pays the bills and let’s face it, it’s all they need right now.

Then we have those that are thinking about college.  They are thinking it’s going to be so much better/easier at college.  They just need the freedom to show the rest of us that they can do this.  Yes, they still need your money, car insurance, and dental plan but to them, that’s not important.

No matter the path you take, one thing is for sure, as of today, you are in charge of you.

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This new adult life you are embarking on is a game, you just have to know what inning you are in.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. In the beginning, you will be in the “getting comfortable with crowd” innings.  Find out quickly what you stand for.  High School is over.  I would love to tell that the friends you have had since 1st grade will be your bff’s forever, but they won’t.  You will make friends that have something in common with you now not just the street they live on or the Biology class you are in.  These people, you will actually choose to hang out with.  Choose these people very carefully.  Choose people that fill you up and don’t tear you down.  Choose people that make you feel like home but challenge your thinking.  Choose people that make you laugh, go in the direction you want to go, and cheer for you along the way.  Remember, if at any time these people make you feel off, you.don’t.have.to.be.their.friend!  Walk away.
  2. Now you are figuring out who you want to be.  In these middle innings, every day counts.  These innings will be where you settle in, things start to become automatic and you will start to think about winning or losing.  The world is not very good at letting you know what matters but it is VERY GOOD at rewarding what matters.  People who are good to others, always win.  So hold the door, say I’m sorry, play with the crying 6-year-old at the park and call your grandmother.  These little things will help you understand those around you and get you ready for the last few innings.
  3. The final innings of this new game, you will have to make some decisions.  Will you swing for the fences or lay down a bunt?  Either way, you have a chance to win.  This is where you may need to take a deep breath and look at your parents in the stands.  Yep, they’ve been there cheering for you all this time.  They have tried not to coach you too much, hid their eyes a couple of times and even worn their lucky socks in 100-degree weather.  They have been there and will be there.  Yes, your mom has cried during a few of the innings and your dad has worn a hole in his walking shoes but that will explain the awkwardly long hug at the end of this game.   They were just regular people 18 years ago, but now they could win the Power ball lottery and you would still be the best thing that happened to them.  So be gentle with them.  Let them wear your “Biggest Fan” shirt, hold up a foam finger and pose for another family photo.download-1.png

Remember the world will cheer for the first and the last in every competition.  Learn to cheer for yourself when you are not in one of those positions.  You’ve got this.

Scenario 1: Don’t Worry, I’ll Manage

“So, what did you do today?” I asked my daughter home from college as I started making dinner.

She grabbed her phone and shook it at me.  “We’ve lost a roommate today.  If we don’t get another one by the end of the week, we may have to sell our bodies, but don’t worry, I’ll manage.”

She dialed and I stood there stunned.

She made nice with the person on the other end.  She listened, shook her head, and wrote something down.  Then I heard her say, “I’m sorry that it is not going to work out.”

“Was she crazy?” I asked.

“Nope.”

“Did she seem nasty?” I wondered

“Nope.”

“Then what was wrong with her?”

“At first, I thought she was the one.  She could cook, enjoyed cleaning, had a 401K at age 20 but…?”

“But what?” I asked.

“She didn’t have a microwave pasta cooker and a subscription for Hulu.”

“Aren’t you being a little picky?” I asked.

“Mom, this is just how it is these days.  You have to have rules before letting people join your group.  She has to be able to cook.  Not just ‘ordinary’ cook either.  We need her to be able to make a feast out of microwave popcorn, three eggs, and a leftover quesadilla.  She must be able to do laundry between the hours of 4 and 5 pm.  She must be able to read lips, not sweat in borrowed clothes, and love the music by Jon Bellion.  When inviting a boy over to work on a project, she must secure that they will bring a friend or a snack, preferably a snack.  That’s all.” she said as she snapped a picture.

“Wow.” I tried to not look shocked.  “I’m curious what you bring to the group?”

“Granny’s frozen dinners, a wireless printer, and a dad that can fix things. Duh!  And don’t worry mom, I’ll manage.”

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Scenario 1:  Allyson

Life Instructions or a Testing Manual?

When you are giving State tests for three days straight, you start to hallucinate.  I start hearing voices, beg for another adult to let me go to the bathroom, and entertain myself with solving the world’s problems.

download.jpgToday though, it became very clear that the STAAR testing manual could be an instruction manual for life.

Like really, think about it.  Maybe it’s you getting ready to have your first born. Wouldn’t it had been nice to have someone give you these instructions?

Today you will be having a ‘baby’.  I’m going to give each of you a ‘baby’ booklet.  Do not open or write on it until I ask you to do so.  If you have any questions while I’m giving you this ‘baby’, please let me know.  Please keep your ’emotions’ on the table until I tell you that you may use them.

Please check to make sure that you have the right ‘baby’, it should have your name at the top.   If you have any questions, please raise your hand.

Open your ‘baby’ booklet and locate the reference materials.  You may use these when you are solving problems with ‘raising your baby’.  The reference materials are perforated and may be torn out of your ‘baby’ booklet if you choose.

Well, heck yes, you better believe I’m tearing out the reference materials.  They will be laminated and taped to the refrigerator.

But I really believe God has the best lines in the instruction manuals.

If you need help, please raise your (eyes to me).

Yes, it said ‘hand’ but eyes sound better.  Remember, I am hallucinating.

Then I started thinking about all of the parents that are graduating their first born or their last born.  Really this manual could be for you too.

Give only one answer for each question of our graduate.  Remember to give your answers very carefully and make your mark dark and neat.  If you find that you need to change your answer, completely erase your first choice and fill in your new choice.

Does anyone have any questions?

I cannot help you answer any of going-out-in-life questions.  You must answer those on your own.  I can only help you with questions about the direction you should go.

You may not know all of the answers to all of the questions.  If you don’t know the answer, choose the answer you think might be correct.  Remember, you may write on your ‘heart’ if you would like to make notes.

Then God shows up again.

If you need help, please raise your ‘eyes to me’.

By this time, I’m stumbling over my words and I look over my reading glasses at the 11-12-year-olds that are staring back at me.  And I start to think about getting older and all of the years I have read these instructions to children.

What if this was an aging manual?

You will have around 90 years to complete this life.  Stop when you come to the last page.  During your life, you will be provided with reminders of the time you have left.  All of your ‘adventures’ must be recorded by the end of your time.

You may check your answers when you are finished, but do not open or work on any other section of your life.

Be sure to erase any stray marks that you might have accidentally made on your life.

Are there any questions?

Most answers at this point are “I can’t answer that for you; just do the best you can.”

Now for those middle years.  The ones between the beginning and the end.  The dash years some say.  What did the instructions have for them?

Please sit quietly so that you do not disturb others who are still ‘having fun’.

Remember you may use a ‘bible’ during this time of your life.  (You will actually NEED it.)

You will now be taking ‘on life’ by yourself.  Remember to ‘love’ very carefully.  Make our marks dark and neat.  (And be very careful with who you are making them with.)

While you are growing up, we will be quietly moving around ‘your life’ to make sure you are following directions and ‘making the most of it’.

And God shows up again to do His thing.

If you need help, please raise your (eyes to me).

Are there any questions?

If not, you may begin.

PS.  They even give you something to say when you see someone that needs a little redirection:  Please go back and ________.  (Fill in your own blank!)

 

Go Be  Amazing!!  Allyson

Even a Momma Duck Knows

This week is not ending the way I hoped.  In my head, we would take the month old ducklings to my parents.  They would run, play and flap their little wings.  We would laugh as they frolicked in the water and splashed with their momma.  We would throw out some food and walk away patting ourselves on the back for a job well done.

But nature is cruel and we didn’t make it to ‘release day’. Instead, I cried, took down the fence, filled in the makeshift water ponds and cussed a coyote or two.

I have however sat around for a few days and been in amazement at how perfect God is.  From the beginning, like the Genesis Bible beginning, God prepared, even a momma duck, for the job of motherhood.

Here are my top ten:

10. Sacrifice everything for your family:  Texas Spring Hail Storms, roof replaced, neighborhood kids, me, not eating, sitting for 28 days…She didn’t waver.  That’s what Momma’s do.  Just watch a momma who needs to slam on her brakes, she will throw an arm out of socket and possibly leave a bruise on her front seat passenger trying to protect her family.IMG_9259.JPG

9.  Mommas really are the only person a child needs in the first few days of life:  She knew just what to do when they were hatching.  She kept the eggs that hadn’t hatched underneath her and rotated them to the top while fluffing herself so that the new babies could dry. When we went to the hospital to have Mikayla, Jeremy and I hadn’t attended our childbirth class yet.  She was early and I was scared.  When we got to the hospital, I told the nurse, “I don’t know what to do.  I haven’t been to my class.”  She quickly replied, “You will know what to do.  I promise and I will be here to help you.” Sure enough, I sat, rotated and then fluffed myself on the way into the operating room where they sedated, cut and pulled the baby out. Maybe not like nature!  IMG_9362.jpg

8.  Your babies will do what you do:  If Momma Duck got in the water, the babies got in.  If she ate corn, the babies ate corn.  If she preened her feathers, the babies did too.  It was a reminder that my girls will do, say and act like me, no matter how good, bad or ugly my example may be.IMG_9267.jpg

7. Sometimes you need a break from it all: Even Momma ducks need a break from 12 babies.  She didn’t need to go far.  She just needed a few minutes to herself.  She would sit right outside the sanctuary while the babies were begging her to come back in, and just close her eyes.  Young mommies, this is for you.  You are not being a bad momma if you don’t spend every waking (or sleeping) moment with your new baby.  You need to take care of yourself and sometimes that means just going to the bathroom for 5 minutes without a baby in your lap.

IMG_9426.JPG6.  Sometimes you need to eat the lettuce:  After about a week, Momma duck was not eating the wheat and corn.  I started to get very concerned.  So I grabbed some lettuce and threw it in the pen.  She looked at me like I just threw her a lifeline.  In 20 minutes, she had eaten all of it.  (I’m not going to make any more comments about this subject but every once in a while…eat the lettuce.)

5. Listen to the thunder but run from lightning:  We laughed that over 55 days, our Momma Duck predicted the weather better than Pete Delkus.  She moved her babies around the duck sanctuary depending on what her senses told her about the weather.  The teenage years are when this one makes the most sense for human mommies.  Lots and lots of thunder around our kids but let there be no doubt what we are capable of doing at the first sign of lightning.

4.  Let water and worries roll off your back:  It rained three days after the babies hatched and I was worried about them getting wet.  My man reminded me, they were ducks, water rolls off their backs.  Well, he was right.  Those little babies didn’t even mind the rain.  They actually loved it.  All of my worrying and they just let it roll off of their backs.  God helps worries roll so give it to Him.  He’s got you!IMG_9409.jpg

3. Quack enough and often so your children will always know what your tone means:  I have said I love you to my girls probably a million times.  But some of them were said with different tones.  The “I’m-so-glad-you-stayed-asleep-after-I-laid-you-in-your-crib” tone– I love you.  The “If-you-slam-the-door-again-while-I’m-talking-to-you” tone–I love you.  The “You-better-be-glad-daddy-didn’t-find-out-about-your-late-arrival-at-home” tone–I love you.  And the “I-can’t-believe-I-get-to-be-your-mommy” tone–I love you.

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2.   Daddy Ducks only come around after everyone has been fed and bathed:  How in the world did he know that the babies had eaten and had a fresh swim when he would fly in and land in the pool?  It was the craziest thing every night.  He knew they were all taken care of and just wanted to check on the momma.  Some nights she would make her way out to say “hi” but most days he would survey the scene and then fly away.  (I will say, after the tragic end to their family, Daddy duck didn’t leave Momma Duck’s side.  It was very sweet to watch them taking care of and mourning with each other.)

 

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1.  One of the most important things to teach your babies is to shake their tail feathers:  Everything in our world is too serious.  We don’t spend enough time just laughing, having fun and shaking our tail feathers.  At my niece’s recent wedding, it was clear that our family is not afraid to have fun.  We didn’t care if people laughed at us because we were laughing.  We didn’t care if people stared at us because we were busy having fun.  We didn’t care if people shook their heads because we were busy shaking our tail feathers.

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To my amazing Momma and to all you Mommies out there …I wish you a day filled with love, laughter and a little time to yourself.  Happy Mother’s Day

Allyson

 

 

 

 

Really All That Matters

Shots fired.

She told twenty-one 2nd graders to be very quiet while she locked the door and pulled the curtain over their window.

Shots fired.

She sat huddled in the corner of her classroom and told all of her kids to close their eyes while she prayed.

Shots fired.

She grabbed the baseball bat beside the door that Jonathan had brought for show and tell.  Hell was coming with her if someone stepped into their room.

Shots fired.

She could hear the shouting outside the door but no one made a sound.

Shots fired.

They said they were the police but she didn’t believe them until the officer opened the door.

Silence.

They told her to cover the children’s eyes with the bandanas they had brought in and that everyone should hold on to the rope and not let go. She kept them all from crying.

Silence.

She walked her class slowly through the halls wishing she could have shielded her own eyes from the scene.

Sirens. Flashing lights. Terrified children all looking at her.

“It’s going to be alright,”  she said.  Trying to believe it herself.

Parents running, crying, screaming, weeping.

“You saved them.” “How could we ever repay you?”

When she graduated from college, she never wanted to fight off the bad guys.  When she got her masters, she never wanted to hold weeping parents in her arms.  After 27 years in the classroom and having to work a side job, she never wanted to have to keep twenty-one 2nd graders quiet while guns were being unloaded in the next room.

And the world questions what teachers get paid?  The world makes jokes about teachers having summers off?  The world finds it hilarious to say,  “She couldn’t do anything else, so she teaches?”

Well, tonight, twenty-one 2nd-grade children and parents know what a teacher is worth…

and

that’s

really

all

that

matters.

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Kids, I see you.

This weekend has been full of Senior Sunday, graduation parties and electing a  group of adults to lead our schools, and I just want to say to the kids…I see you.

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Our past week has been full of election emails, phone calls,  and questions.  Attacks have been made, structures have been questioned and friendships have been tested.  But one thing is for sure, the kids were not put second.

Not once were the words, “the kids don’t deserve this” ever spoken.

Not once did anyone say “our district isn’t the best in the state”.

Not once was a teacher’s love, quality or willingness to “do whatever it took” for a student ever said.

So we are winning.  All of us!

But as we think about leading our schools, we all need a little reminder of who we are leading.

So, Kids, I see you.

(I hope you don’t mind if I share the research with other adults.)

Image result for generation zYour group is called Generation Z, kids born between 1994 and 2010, and you don’t know a world without the internet. You will become the most entrepreneurial, conservative, diverse and educated generation in the world.

The majority of your generation believes in volunteering (77%), concerned about man’s impact on the planet (76%) and display emotional distress when kept away from your personal electronic devices. (79%)

(Fun Fact:  51% would give up eating but only 44% would give up their phones for a day.)

You are able to multitask and often are watching Netflix, doing homework, listening to music and Facetiming your sister. (84%)

Even though adults will say that you don’t communicate, I wonder if they have ever asked you how you would like to receive information.  Studies show that 11% would like a text, 16% would like an email, but 52% would like a face-to-face meeting with a boss or manager.  Thanks to texting, you know how to communicate concisely and efficient.  You are interested in making a difference and say you are most influenced by your parents.  (81%)

Our job as teachers, administrators and newly elected school board members, is to not forget some of your biggest worries and needs.  Nearly 50% of you are working a job in high school, 64% of you are seeking advanced degrees in one aspect of your lives, and 80% of you feel you are more driven than your peers.  That’s a lot of pressure on you by your parents, peers and yourself.

(Adults, we need to not forget mental health needs for this generation. They will look to us to increase opportunities to listen, teach and serve them as they grow and develop.)

85% of you research online, watch lessons online and use YouTube or other media sites to learn something new.  You are always searching for ways to make yourself better and feel that you couldn’t do that without the internet (76%).

You worry about money after graduation, seek your dream job and think about raising a family but, 72% of you feel school didn’t teach you enough about any of these areas.  (Financial Literacy, laundry sorting, how to sit in a meeting, how to dress for an interview and what to do when your phone rings in a meeting need to be taught.)

You want to start your own business one day, expect to fail, wish your hobby could turn into a full-time job and want to invest in changing the world.  You purchase your clothes online, textbooks online, identify yourself as deal hunters and enjoy time eating out with your friends more than any other social event.

But I also see you making your own lunches because your parents are already at work.  I see you getting on the bus in the dark and returning home hot, sweaty and tired.  I see you going to work, making the grade, and volunteering at Relay for Life.  I see you caring for others, showing empathy and teaching the rest of us how to accept differences.  You hold your peers to a standard that is higher than what your parents even hold you to

and for that

kids

I say,

I SEE YOU!

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Research done by Visa, JWT, University of Maryland, Robert Half, Millennial Branding and Randstad, Deep Focus, Future Workplace and internships.com.

Mrs. Price/Allyson/Mommy

 

For Better or Worse or 78 months Whichever Comes First

I read the other day that if a divorce is going to occur, it will happen at the six and a half year mark.  I wondered what was so mystical about this time period and then it hit me…its the marital warranty running out.  Everyone knows a car’s warranty expires after 3 years, your air conditioner after 10 years and marriage at the seventy-eight-month mark.

At the end of this time, its as good or bad as it is going to get.  A wife has cooked 5,108 meals, you’ve met all of the relatives (even the ones that missed the wedding).  Its when you stop becoming ‘company visiting’ and the courtesy that comes with that has faded.  You’re husband’s feet smell, the wife leaves the toothpaste in the sink, you don’t hide the occasional gas expulsion, and walking through the living room on a Saturday night and telling your significant other to “Get it on your mind” is considered foreplay.

Children have usually entered the picture at this mark also.  They must be watered, fed, educated, clothed, maintained and disciplined.

The goodbye kiss in the morning is one step above getting your Red Cross Recertification for CPR.

At this point, marriage feels like a game of tug-a-war and you are just hoping that both of you keep holding on.  istock_franckreporter_tugowar_teambuild.jpg

I read about a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary the other day.  Maude and John had this advice.  “We’ve hauled water to cattle, dealt with no heat, made a chair into a Christmas Tree, raised and educated a family of ten, and watched one of our children die.”

Thirty words for a lifetime of married life.

And then I started wondering; Were there other moments? Did they paint a room every weekend for 6 months in a house they were trying to make into a home?  Did they argue about whether the toilet paper should be put on to pull over or under? Did they toast “No Baby this month” or cry over negative pregnancy test?

Did she smile when he started to tell a story because she knew they were going to be there awhile?  Did he act like the snoring every night didn’t bother him? Did they worry about the future and what would happen if the other decided not to come home?

Did they really love each other through sickness and health, richer and poorer and for better and worse? How about morning sickness, weight gain, sarcasm, hot flashes, and fevers?

Were they just holding on?

They had to be doing more than just holding on when their child died or when he lost his job or when she was laying in the hospital bed.

Did he ever know she hated peppers but put them in the chicken spaghetti because he liked them? Did she know he hated it when she moved the seat in his truck?

And ten children…how did they do that?  That’s a lot of colicky nights, crooked teeth, “Can I’s”, volleyball games, doors slammed, laundry and “How will we pay for college?” questions.

Fifty years…30 words…But a whole lot of holding on!

Allyson