Brave Enough to Explore

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Ryan outside the Santa Barbara Mission

Last week our family spent a few days in Santa Barbara.  We took advantage of the “Downtown Shuttle” that, for 50 cents each, took us down State Street to Stearns Wharf.  For another 50 cents, we rode the shuttle north, back to our original starting point.

It was on our return trip that I observed two different groups of riders and found myself eavesdropping on their conversation with each other.  Three young adults made up one group; they were visiting from Brazil.  Four ladies, all seniors who live together at Leisure World in Seal Beach, chatted with them.  I watched and listened to these two groups of travelers and found myself proud and envious of both of them.

Since my son was five, we’ve taken at least one yearly family trip (usually one during spring break and one during the summer).  So far, all of our trips have been road trips within the state of California.  We’ve explored LEGOLAND, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Sea World, the Santa Barbara Zoo, and the town of Cambria

But it is my hope that we instill in Ryan a curiosity to travel even further; a wonder, appreciation, and yearning to visit places that are different.  And beyond this curiosity and inclination to travel, I hope Ryan is also brave.  Brave enough to leave the comfort and security that comes with the familiar to venture to somewhere new. 

It Started 7 Years Ago

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March 1, 2013 — My last day of teaching. Room 7 at Rosewood Avenue Elementary School. Photo taken by my husband.

This is a week of very mixed emotions for me. 

Seven years ago I woke up with a swollen left calf.  So swollen that I couldn’t stand up.  So swollen that my husband sat me in my rolling desk chair, wheeled me out to our car, and took me to the emergency room.

The swelling eventually went down and after four days in the hospital, I went home.  But I didn’t know then that my legs would never be the same.  I didn’t know then that my life would never be the same.  I didn’t know then that three years after that fateful Sunday morning, I’d have to retire from the profession I loved.

Often I think of my students, the kids I taught and the kids I’ll never teach.  And then recently I discovered something about me at www.ratemyteachers.com.  (You can read it by clicking here).

I can’t even completely describe how it touched my heart to read these incredibly kind words left by an anonymous student. 

Living by the Rules of My Son’s Playground Game

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In the picture above, my nine-year-old son and I are playing handball.  It’s not the handball that athletes play in the Olympics.  It’s the handball kids like Ryan love to play on elementary school playgrounds.  It’s the handball game Ryan likes playing with me.

For us though, it’s not just a game. 

Click here to read my personal essay “Living by the Rules of My Son’s Playground Game” that was recently published at Parent.co.

And, for those of you who use social media, I would really appreciate it if you could spread the word about my essay!