Father’s Day is Hard

I made it through my conference. It was hard and it reaffirmed that I am officially the worst at making friends. But I will tackle that issue another day. Maybe tomorrow? Anyway, today I want to talk about my dad.

My dad and I have a weird relationship. We have a weird history to go with it.

  • My parents divorced when I was about 8.
  • They had a nasty divorce with a long, drawn out custody battle for my brothers and I.
  • When I was about 9, I found my dad doing something that I do not want to go into, but just know that even as a 9-year-old I knew it was wrong.
  • We ended up with a custody split about 60/40 mom/dad.
  • As a teenager I still didn’t have complete trust in my father.
  • I also was going through a rather rebellious phase as a teen.
  • My father and I got into a lot of arguments about my choices. One finally became too much.
  • He threw me out. I was 15.
  • I did not return to stay with my father from then on. I stayed with my mother full time.
  • My father and I did not speak again until I was about 21. I was moving out of state because I was transferring colleges. I had e-mailed him to let him know.
  • We slowly tried to repair our relationship.
  • Things were actually at an all-time high when I was in college. We communicated via phone and e-mail. I never saw him. But we were on good terms. I had grown up and so had he.
  • I got engaged and asked him to walk me down the aisle.
  • Moment of truth: I did not think he would say yes.
  • He did and I am very glad he did.
  • He walked me down the aisle and instead of a father/daughter dance, he played me a song on his guitar. It was the Iz rendition of “What a Wonderful World/Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. It was absolutely beautiful.
  • I (after a several-years-long battle) became pregnant.
  • While I was pregnant, we got into a heated conversation on the phone due to my father and my difference in religion.
  • We did not speak for awhile.
  • I called him after I gave birth to let him know he was a grandpa. His response? “Oh, yeah, your brothers told me.” I had called my mom and then him. My mom had informed my brothers. It wasn’t like I was calling him so much later. He quickly excused himself, without so much as a congratulations.
  • This pattern continued for awhile. I would try to call to tell him about his granddaughter. He would avoid the subject at all costs. When I had spent years saying I never wanted children (karma is awful, right?), he would always say that time would tell/I’d be a good mom/he couldn’t wait to be a grandpa. Now he was and he didn’t care.
  • It finally reached a breaking point when I texted him some pictures of my daughter. His response? “Got em”.
  • I cut off all contact at that point. I was sick of making myself upset over him. He knew my number if he wanted to reach me.
  • He called me one day, almost a year after my daughter was born. He wished me happy birthday. I let him know that it was my brothers’ birthday. We chatted about very superficial, topical things for about 10 minutes.
  • I have heard from him once more since. Another random 5 minute phone call.
  • He has never inquired about his granddaughter. He has made no show of interest in meeting her.

So I am having to relearn about Father’s Day. I need to wipe my slate clean of all the negative connotations the day has so I can celebrate it with my husband. He is an amazing father to our daughter. He deserves it.

And naturally I was not actually home on Father’s Day this year due to the conference. I clearly need to get better at this.

But I am trying.

We celebrated on Thursday. I made breakfast. We went out for lunch. I got specially made matching shirts/onesies for them.

I do want to keep improving, though. I need to let go of my issues with that day and make it about my daughter and her daddy.

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I Have a Work Conference

I leave tomorrow morning for a work conference. It is a really great conference and I am very fortunate to be able to attend. I will get to attend workshops designed specifically to help my teaching, in units that I get to pick and choose. Brainstorm crazy new ideas. Discuss new plays. I will get to network with other teachers who teach the same subjects as me, talk about problems that we all have, how they solve them, and more. Share and compare lesson plans. Learn from other professionals in my content area.

This is so helpful for theatre teachers, because most school trainings focus on core classes or standardized testing.

Furthermore, school trainings often put you with your department. This makes sense for most subjects – all sciences, all English, etc. Fine Arts all get put together. Which fits, because we are all extra-curricular as well as in-school. We are all “electives” with possibilities of diploma endorsements. But useless when it comes to meetings about “how can we raise our standardized testing scores in your subject?”

Offer a test in the arts?

Or… stop standardized testing altogether?

Show that a well-rounded student is more than fill-in-the-blanks?

Whatever. This post isn’t me complaining about the idiocy that is standardized testing.

(I will rant about that some other time, I am sure. Because, trust me, it is terrible.)

This post is about me leaving my family for 4 days.

I leave tomorrow and will return late Sunday night.

This isn’t the first time I have been away from my baby. Last November, I attended a conference with my students that had me away from home for 5 days, 4 nights. But I was so busy chaperoning 20 teenagers the entire time. My husband joked that I was getting to go on vacation due to the fancy hotel we were at.

Being responsible for those kids 24 hours a day was most definitely not a vacation.

I wasn’t teaching delinquents or anything, but one student almost got kicked out of the conventions for his irresponsibility. I had to do a bunch of stuff to prevent having to have his parents drive out to pick him up. I had a couple of students who got quite sick that I had to play “nurse” and take care of them. I had students who accidentally locked themselves out of their hotel rooms after midnight. Students who lost their phones and we had to track them down. Students who were nervous messes due to auditions and scholarship panels. Students who hurt themselves. Students who needed food.

And I was the adult in charge of them for 24 hours a day.

So, no. Definitely not a vacation.

Honestly, I hate that trip. I don’t get paid to do this trip. In fact, I have to spend money. But I suck it up because it is an amazing opportunity for my students. My misery for 5 days versus several of them getting scholarships or being able to audition for colleges that they normally wouldn’t have or take classes on specialty topics they wouldn’t normally get? Yeah.

Suck. It. Up.

The trip is for them. The students don’t realize how hard that trip is for teachers, so they aren’t appreciative, either. So you are making this big sacrifice for them and they just expect more and more from you.

That trip kept me so busy. Of course I missed my baby (and my husband). But I was so busy running around after those 20 teenagers, that those moments were often few and far between simply due to how busy I was.

One of the nights was actually really rough, though. I had been taking care of an especially sick student and spoke with his mom on the phone, who thanked me for “mothering him” while she couldn’t. Once he was asleep and I was back in my room, I missed my baby HARD. I had spent so long with the sick student that I had missed our family FaceTime since it was past bedtime. My husband had texted me pictures, but it wasn’t the same.

I cried a lot. Like, hyperventilating a lot.

This conference is just for theatre teachers.

I will not be responsible for ANY students.

It will be harder to “forget” that I miss my baby.

Please note: this is not me being concerned that my husband can’t handle it without me. He is an amazing dad. He is wrapped around her tiny little finger. They will be fine.

This is me thinking that I will not be fine without them.

More time to be present in my “alone-ness”.

On top of that, we are forecast to have a pretty big tropical storm/possible hurricane coming that should hit this weekend. The worst time is looking to be when I have to drive back home.

First of all, I hate driving in the rain. It makes me uneasy.

Secondly, I will be driving in an area that I am not familiar with.

Third, the other teachers will also be driving in an area they aren’t familiar with.

So, everybody will be driving in an area they don’t know in conditions that aren’t ideal.

Oh. And my biggest fear is drowning, so hurricanes tend to really trigger me. The amount of panic attacks I had during Harvey last year once the water started coming in… NO THANK YOU.

What if I can’t drive home due to the weather and I have to stay longer?

Or… what if I don’t make it?

I have debated cancelling. I can’t get my money back, but I can cancel and stay home.

But I really need this networking. I really need these workshops, since I will be moving to a grade level that I do not have a lot of experience with. I need this help.

I just wish that it was closer to home so I could just drive there each day. See my baby at night, sleep in my own bed.

Not be away from home entirely.

Not be away from home – alone – entirely.

So, yes. I am looking forward to these workshops. But not the conference in its entirety.

On the plus, I just figured out that I can access my DVR on my laptop, though. So I am going to try to watch “Sesame Street” with my baby on FaceTime in the evening before she goes to bed. That way, I feel like I am WITH her. I think that will help a lot.

We are celebrating Father’s Day tomorrow, since I won’t be home for it on Sunday. I got my husband and daughter a matching shirt/onsie set that says Daddy/Daddy’s Girl. I can’t wait for him to get to daddy/daughter match.

I just wish I could bring them with me. For my own sake.

 

 

Some Students Are Awful

Yes, I am about to admit something terrible.

Teachers do not like all of their students.

In fact, there are some we cannot stand.

We try to like them all. We give them endless chances to prove that they aren’t as rotten as they want us to believe. We search for common ground so that we can somehow relate to them. we give them far more chances then they honestly deserve.

(After all, in the real world, if you are a jerk, people don’t keep letting you start over. They remember it.)

I hate admitting this, but it is the truth.

Some students suck.

They think that because they are kids, that there are no consequences to their terrible choices of stupid actions. That when they say hateful, hurtful things, it doesn’t really hurt anyone.

But they are wrong.

This past year, I have had to battle against some particularly mean students. A certain group of kids decided that they wanted to be the trolls to end all trolls. They created fake social media profiles. They constantly bullied other kids. They spread nasty rumors. They went out of their way to try to build awful atmospheres in our program.

I kept myself constantly busy trying to keep it at bay.

I recently found out that they had made a T-shirt that they sold to their classmates that had all of their inside jokes on it. Fine.

Except.

One of the jokes was a dig against me. It was coded, but I had already dealt with the code earlier this year. It was pretty centered on the shirt, too. Clearly they thought it was one of the highlights of the year.

Whatever. It isn’t like I will have to see them again.

Except (again).

Several of my students want to keep in contact, so they can tell me about their shows, continue to ask questions, etc. Whether they had been part of the original joke or not, the fact that they supported the shirt enough to buy it themselves hurt.

I relate it to Hobby Lobby.

I love crafty stuff. I used to shop at HL a ton. But I learned that I disagree with the owners on some pretty large issues. So I choose to not support their business with my money. Do I still love crafting? Of course. But I can find stuff I like at other places.

Those who are silent when they see something wrong may not feel they are supporting it, but without going against it, they are.

So I told all of those students no. I simply said that I had found out some information that made me uncomfortable and that I wished them all the best of luck.

This makes me feel really badly. I gave those kids everything for three years. But I need to take care of myself.

Teenagers or not, the toxicity has to go. Some students ruined it for everyone.

It wasn’t my job to tell them what I had learned, but chances are they knew who the culprits were. What they choose to do with that is up to them.

Maybe they will learn to not passively sit by.

Maybe they will learn to speak up.

Maybe they will actually confront the rude ones and maybe – MAYBE – the rude ones will realize that they ruined things for a lot of people because they were selfish, manipulative, negative beings.

I doubt it.

Some people are just awful.

The Tummy Bug Has Hit Our House

There is nothing worse than watching a tiny baby projectile throwing up. It was everywhere. And there was nothing I could do.

She woke up Friday night around midnight, bawling. I rush into the nursery just in time to see her throw up all over in her crib. This is the first time she has ever really thrown up (not counting major spit-ups when she was tiny). She was still groggy from being asleep, obviously not feeling well, and now confused by all this stuff everywhere. I quickly swept her up into my arms so she would stop rolling in it. Stripped her down, got her clean, changed her crib sheets, and got the laundry going.

She was still miserable and we followed a similar pattern the whole night. Since she didn’t want to be alone, we alternated holding her. We both got puked on multiple times. We just kept her in a diaper at this point, no jammies. Continuous cleaning, continuous laundry, continuous attempts to calm and comfort her.

She finally fell back asleep at 6:30. She was only able to sleep for an hour before the whole cycle started again.

We called our pediatrician and they asked us how soon we could get her there. We hustled the poor mini to the doctor’s office.

Apparently there is a bad stomach bug that has been going around the local pre-schoolers and the doctor says it has spread to the little siblings. Unfortunately, at this age, there is nothing we can do but let them slowly work it out of their systems. To try to combat dehydration, she is on Pedialyte and has one yogurt each night. Otherwise, we are supposed to let her eat and drink normally in the hopes that she can keep something down.

She refused solids all through the weekend. But she was drinking her Pedialyte and milk, and she would eat the yogurt.

Thankfully, she hasn’t gotten sick since Monday.

It was awful, though. She’d throw up and look up at me, crying, like “Mama, why aren’t you helping me?”

I’m so thankful she seems to be on the mend.

Unfortunately, my husband and I have now caught the bug.

But at least it isn’t her!

There is So Much to Do

Tomorrow is my last day with students. And then a day with just teachers for summer check-out. So I have been quite busy dealing with finals, bringing home the last of my stuff, cleaning everything, organizing all of my “end-of-year” papers.

I had an interview yesterday that went really well. I just got informed by the principal that she is passing my name on to the superintendent as her choice. Soon the superintendent will contact me and, if they like me, recommend me to their school board. In other words, I may have a job! Yay!

This is a huge relief!

Still waiting on Macbeth information but I have pretty much thrown that out the window. The director apparently had callbacks. I saw his status about it on Facebook, so, you know, I obviously wasn’t invited. Sigh.

I auditioned last night for a show called Born Yesterday at a dinner theatre nearby. Should probably hear back by the end of this week? There is only one part I am eligible for and I do not think I will get it. I feel like I read really well for the part, but I have a feeling he will cast another lady instead.

(Funny side note: she is actually the theatre teacher at the intermediate school that feeds into my current high school.)

Based on the men who were there, she fits the casting better than I do. While this same thing made me sad for Macbeth, I get it for this show.

It is what it is.

Maybe also the whole “potentially having a job” thing is keeping me chill.

With a possible job and no show rehearsals, I think the mini-vacation is back on the table. I better get looking at hotel costs and such; because if we go, it would be in about 5 weeks. The longer I procrastinate, the more expensive it will be. Must plan and organize pronto! If it all works out, this would be amazing. Lord knows I could use a break!

Still incredibly busy, though. I feel like I have 800,000 things to do but only 5 minutes to attempt to accomplish them all. Back to the grind I go!

I Auditioned for a Play

Aside from teaching Theatre, I try to act on stage as much as I can, too. Ever since getting pregnant and having a baby, I have not had any time at all between work and family time. Unfortunately, all the mess with the administration at my school had put a bit of a sour taste in my mouth regarding theatre, as well.

(Wonder why that could be…)

Well, a lot of local theater companies are having auditions for their summer shows and one of the nearby ones is doing a show that is on my “theatre bucket list”. I have always wanted to play Lady Macbeth and I am just now getting to the age where it would work.

I started looking into auditioning. I picked and learned my audition monologue. I prepped. I was ready.

Then I found out about my job.

Suddenly I was rather preoccupied. I had no right to go audition for a show and spend some of my time doing something fun when I needed to find a new job.

My husband told me that was even more of a reason for me to do it – I needed something fun. He pointed out to me that I needed to remember why I liked theatre in the first place. This was a really good point.

(Possible ulterior motives: if I am at rehearsals, he doesn’t have to see me sulking about; plus something fun would make me happier and less of a storm cloud at home. These are both valid.)

We talked it over and I decided that I would still audition.

Auditions were Sunday and Monday night. We are supposed to hear who is cast sometime next week.

I’m feeling “ehhhhhhh” about it.

  • The director had me read for the witches on Sunday
  • He had two other ladies read for Lady M that day
  • I thought my monologue went well?
  • I read for Lady M on Monday
  • But so did several other ladies (including one of the ladies who read for it the day before)
  • I also read for other parts

But here is the biggest thing that makes me think it is a lost cause:

  • Most of the guys who auditioned are young. So he will probably want their wives to be close to them in age and appearance.

I am in the age range to play Lady Macbeth and the theater may choose to cast it young instead due to guys… So I am finally old enough, but now may be “too” old.

Eye rolls for days.

I also am concerned about the director’s past connections to me and the girl that I am *almost positive* he will cast as Lady Macbeth.

  • I had auditioned for him about two years ago? We thought our second IVF cycle had failed, so I auditioned for the show. Then I found out we were pregnant and because I didn’t want to risk anything, I was scared to do a show. We really wanted a baby! He offered me a part and I had to decline due to focusing on my family. We hadn’t announced the pregnancy yet, obviously. I probably looked like a diva who didn’t like the part he offered me.
  • Meanwhile, he has worked with the other girl for the past few shows he has directed. He knows her really well. She is young (for the part), but he has experience working with her.

I told my husband that I think he will offer me a part, but not the one I want. Here’s the thing: if I do the show, we had planned on taking a trip and will have to cancel that trip due to its timing. We had really been looking forward to this trip, so I think cancelling it is alright if it is for a part that I have always wanted to play. I don’t really like the concept of cancelling a vacation for a small part that I don’t really want.

Furthermore, I think it would not help my mood to watch someone else play the part that I want to play. Even if she is fantastic, it would just reinforce my current feelings of inadequacy. This would defeat the purpose of me doing a show to remember why I love theatre.

But if I don’t accept a lesser part, it will certainly look like I am a diva due to his past experience with me.

Groan.

Eight Days is Not a Lot of Time

It is the final two weeks.

I keep a countdown up for my students. Sometimes hearing that there are 8 days left of school is one thing, but actually being able to see it and see the specific day you have finals makes you realize just how soon all of that is happening.

To date, I have applied for 35 positions.

Thirty-five.

To date, I have been offered zero.

Zero.

This metaphoric water is rising and I am panicking.

We did the math over the weekend to see what is the minimum I need to make a month for us to just scrape by.

I need to make $2500 a month (after taxes).

Not really in a positive mind frame today. Or recently, I suppose.

Obligatory “it will get better, things will work out” nonsense.

I’m trying, really. I am. I know it doesn’t look like it. But I am.